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Will I get cost-of-living increases in my Social Security Disability check?

By   /  March 3, 2016  /  315 Comments

Learn how your Social Security Disability check will increase with inflation and how the cost-of-living increases are calculated and paid.

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Watch the Video: “Will I get cost-of-living increases in my social security disability check?”

Cost-of-Living Adjustment to Disability Benefits

Social Security law includes a provision for cost-of-living adjustments, often called COLAs, which increase the amount of your disability benefit. The purpose of the COLAs is to help your Social Security benefits keep up with inflation.

When COLAs are Payable

You will get a cost-of- living increase in your Social Security disability check if during the previous fiscal year there was an increase in the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers. If there is no increase in the Index, then there is no increase in Social Security Disability benefits. For example, Social Security announced a 1.7 percent increase in gross disability benefits for 2015 because there was a 1.7 percent increase in the Consumer Price Index for the fiscal year ending September 2014. But, there were no increases in benefits in 2011 and 2016 because there was no increase in the Index in the prior year. COLA increases begin with the December benefit of the year the Index increases and are paid in January.

Finding Out If There Will Be a COLA

Whether or not there will be a cost-of-living adjustment and the amount of any increase are announced in the fourth quarter of each year. In addition to a public announcement, the Social Security Administration will send you a letter that shows the new amount of your Social Security disability check, including the cost-of-living increase, if any. For information about how your base disability benefit is calculated, see our article “If I Am Approved for Disability, How Much Will My Social Security Disability Benefit Be?”

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315 Comments

  1. Christina Haldiman says:

    Hi I am living on 856.87 a month
    However I am being asked to leave my sisters home . I have called every organization and website for living assistance ,but I’m just told they are only housing individuals with visible disabilities.
    I need to move to Norfolk va to be closer to my liver specialist.
    Would it be possible for me to have an increase of my sis to be able to live without my family ?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Christina,

      Your benefits cannot be increased due to increased expenses. If you haven’t tried to get public housing in Norfolk, you might try there; maybe the rules are differen. Another possibility might be to rent a room in Norfolk in a private home or enter into a roommate situation to reduced housing costs.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  2. Julia says:

    Hi. Currently I am receiving $856.00 a month in disability. I live with my parents and contribute to groceries and $100 a month in rent. My sister and I are contemplating getting a 2 bedroom apartment together. The rent should be around $550 each plus utilities. How might this effect my disability payments? Oh I am working a small part time job. I have reported this to social security. I receive $9 an hour and average about 3 hours and 15 minutes per day. Oh also, I am just about to buy a used car from my grandmother for $1. My old car did not run at all. I’m not sure if this is important. Thank you so much for your time.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Julia,

      If you are receiving Social Security Disability (SSD aka SSI), your living arrangements and what you own do not affect your benefits. And you earnings, if you work five days a week, are low enough not to affect your SSD eligibility. If you receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI), let me know and I will provide more information related to SSI.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Julia says:

        Thank you so much for your response. I know that the $856.00 is listed as SSI in my bank statements. It’s frustrating that it sounds like higher rent is not a factor. Oh, if I move would it be important to stay in the same Township?

        Thanks again,

        Julia

  3. Ambicija says:

    Hi. i get Social Security Disability two years ago 480$.Today I received a letter saying that I was now 370$ because they gave me medical insurance which cost 121 $, i did not ask for this! I have a grandson of 6 years who lives with me since he was born , for him did not get anything. How can I get at least something for him. Now it’s my Social Security Disability $ 370 how i can live with that! Can i refuse my medical insurance, please can You tell me how i can get some benefit for my grandson. Thank you!

  4. Maddie says:

    I am currently receiving disability benefits, we also were in the process of purchasing a home during my injury as of right now we are having some financial issues and what I am receiving is not enough. can I request for more income?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Maddie,

      Social Security Disability benefits are based on your work history and will not change based on financial need. If your benefit is less than $753 (slightly more in some states), you can apply for Supplemental Security Income. You might also investigate other sources of assistance such as SNAP (food stamp) benefits, energy assistance, refinancing your home to reduce costs, or renting out a room.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  5. Jamie says:

    Hi.
    I just received my first SSI disability payment of 488.67 per month.
    My current situation is as follows, I currently live in Minnesota and live rent free with my mom, because of this they deduct 1/3 of my total available payment and I receive 488.67 monthly.

    I’m planning on moving to south Dakota and Renting a house for 400 and applying for food assistance. I have money from my backpay to pay for rent and the amount that SNAP said i would receive is 153 dollars based on a 300 dollar rent per month plus 100 dollars a month in utilities, ie heat or electric.

    My question is, how would I go about increasing the total monthly amount i receive from SSI to the Maximum amount or 733? ie how much rent would I have to pay $300 ,$350,$ 400 and how much in electricity and my share of food would i have to pay to recieve the maximum amount for ssi of 733$ a month
    Thank you very much
    Jamie

  6. I receive SSDI with plan A. My check is only $1,100 a month!! I had to move in with my mother because I cannot afford rent anywhere. I lived in a very expensive home when my injury happened and made good money. Are there any supplemental programs within SSDI that could help me? Could I qualify for plan B as well? I’m not ever sure what plan B is. Also, after my SSDI began, I started having seizures. Should I report this to SSDI? Thank you for any information.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Marlin,

      If your claim comes up for a Continuing Disability Review, be sure to list the seizures and your medical care for them. Otherwise there is no need or purpose in reporting them.

      Apparently, you did not enroll in Part B Medicare when it was first offered to you. If that is the case, you can enroll in Part B Medicare during the open enrollment period in November and December this year. Coverage will begin the following July. You might check to see whether you will qualify for help with your Part B Medicare premiums. Information is available at http://www.medicare.gov.

      Your Social Security is too high for you to be eligible for Supplemental Security Income. You could check with your state or county social services office to see if you qualify for SNAP (food stamps). If there is public housing or public subsidized housing in your area, you could try to get on a waiting list for subsidized housing that usually charges only one-third of your income.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  7. Joel Fry says:

    If I move to a state that has a higher cost of living will I draw more money?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Joel,

      If you receive Social Security Disability (SSD aka SSDI), your benefit will not change. If you receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI), your federal SSI payment will not change. If the state you are moving to has an SSI state supplement and your state does not or has a lower one, you could have a small increase from the new state.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Vivian says:

        Hi,

        I have a friend who receives SSD, she applied while living in NYC she has since moved to Georgia. She was recently diagnosed as legally blind and can’t work. Can her SSD increase, or can she apply for SSP? does it matter what state she is living in? she is also recently separated from her husband, can her SSD benefits go up? or can she have both SSD and SSP?

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Vivian,

          If your friend is getting SSD (Social Security Disability) as you referenced, her Social Security will not go up due to becoming blind or due to separating from her husband. If she receives less than $753 (a little higher in some states) she may qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or a payment from an SSI state supplement program (SSP). If she is receiving SSI, the amount depends on her other income and living arrangements and on the income of a spouse in the same household. If she is getting SSI, she should report not only her move and also her separation to see if the changes affect benefit amount.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  8. Ken says:

    I get SSDI monthly check for $1920 net per month since 2002.
    I recently (5/13/2016) had a baby with my girlfriend . They lived here for 3 months but are currently staying at her moms due to job location.
    I have applied and was told I qualified to get benefit amount of $1050 monthly for my child . I am her father and Payee Representative .

    I want to set up child support payments and visitation through the Attorney Generals Office of Texas as the non custodial parent .

    My question is do pay 20% of my net income , 20% of mine and my childs income, or does the mom get the entire check of $1050 …which is $450 a month greater than 20% of the combined income of mine and my childs benefit . 20% of the combined net would be $600. We are on good terms and I want to pay child support , but I need to have money to buy her things when she is with me and pay her medical insurance . Thank you in advance for your answer

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Ken,

      My response to you is related to Social Security and does not consider any court ordered support that might exist. Typically the parent with whom the child lives serves as payee and receives the child’s Social Security dependent benefits. If you continue as payee, you should give the child’s mother a percentage of the benefits equal to the percentage of time the child is with her and retain the rest for when the child is with you. If you transfer money this way, I recommend transferring the money by check, keeping a printed copy of all the cancelled checks, so you have documentation of using the money for the child. If the mother becomes payee, she should give you money for the percentage of time she is with you.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Ken says:

        Hi Kay …I have an application to open a case with the attorney generals office . There is no court order and i have been paying support …which I understand is considered a gift .
        Your answer gave us a direction to go during mediation. Thank you

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Ken,

          You are welcome. I’m glad the information I provided was helpful; but if you have a court case, I recommend that you get legal counsel.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  9. elizabeth says:

    dear kate i recieve ssi and live in a home home alone in nys, (which belongs to someone else) but due to the extreme weather here ,I suffer with many health problems. If i was to move to sc with this male friend and he buys a home can i still get my ssi if he is getting a va income of 1072. month? i understand if i pay half of mortage, and utilities plus my own food, etc in the new place , i can keep my ssi. This guy will have his own room and offers to pay half also. Can you please tell me how this would be considered. He cant accept cash or rent but can i help with mortage and etc, safely?? Please help me i cant find out anything on this. Also i would be close to my children. thank you for taking time to read this- Elizabeth

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Elizabeth,

      Your SSI will not be affected if you pay half of the shelter costs as you describe. Note that the shelter costs include property taxes and, if required by the lender, property insurance as well as the mortgage. Your friend will have to check with the VA about whether having a roommate who pays only her share would affect his VA benefits.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  10. Leah says:

    I receive SSDI benefits and just found out I am having a baby. I remember when I applied for benefits three years ago, I had to answer questions about family size. Will my benefits increase if my family size is increasing? Thank you.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Leah,

      If your children are not already receiving the entire amount payable for your dependents, having another child will increase the total family benefits. If your family is already receiving the Family Maximum Benefit (FMB), which includes your benefit, adding your new baby will provide benefits for the baby and the other children’s benefits will decrease. You can find out the amount of your FMB by calling Social Security at 1-800-772-1213. Regardless, you should apply for the new baby when he or she born.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

    • Ms lopez says:

      I need a question answered. I moved from NYC to Arizona. In NYC no matter how expensive it was I got better help with foodstamps. I got more SSI my check on the 3rd SSD was because I worked so when I move to AZ they couldn’t touch it thk God. Now I’m
      Here 8 years. I’m
      Always struggling. Don’t get enough foodstamp just $16 a month. My rent was almost the same as NYC because I lived in subsidized housing. I used to fill out tax forms here they don’t help me with anything. Why is Arizona not helpful? Sometimes I see myself packing my bags and going back to a homeless shelter in NYC song can get help. I have anxiety problems. I wish i could afford to eat good healthy food. Food banks give out to much unhealthy expired food. I need to loose weight I have signs of osteoporosis also. Arizona is horrible for help

      • Kay Derochie says:

        Dear Ms.Lopez,

        New York is one of the state’s that offers a substantial SSI state supplement; not many states do that. For local assistance in Arizona, Senior centers often have tax volunteers who will help file tax returns for no fee. You might try to get on a subsidized housing waiting list. Also, check with the food stamp office to be sure that they have the correct amount on file for your shelter and medical expenses–just to be sure that the calculation of your benefit is based on the right information. Some telephone companies offer special rates for disabled people. Calling 211 assistance line and entering your zip code may identify other kinds of help available in your area.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

        • Ms. Lopez says:

          I am living in subsidized housing already. The foodstamp office does not care. They don’t count that I buy monthly bus passes every month as if it’s okay to walk to do few groceries in 113 degree weather but in NYC they do. I paid $115 for glasses in NYC they never charged me. I am almost 48 maybe that’s y. I am not a senior but I worked in the past. I go to see if they can help with tax forms because I have the 1099 forms etc but everywhere I go they don’t care they don’t want to deal with it. I get $40 on Ssi, $713 on the 3rd my rent is $216, I spend around $200 in food my bills are over $100. I need to buy Things for health etc I try making budgets.by the end of the month or a week before I have a 0 balance in bank. I don’t know where money is going

          • Kay Derochie says:

            Dear Ms. Lopez,

            Some people who live on a tight budget like you do write down everything they spend and review it at the end of the month to see if they can switch anything around to make the money last to the end of the month. If there is an IRS office in your town, perhaps you can take the 1099s to the IRS office and ask a representative whether you need to file tax returns. For next year tax year, often volunteer tax preparers are available at senior centers during tax season.

            Sincerely,
            Kay

            Sincerely,
            Kay

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