According to a recent news article from the Los Angeles Times, there is not likely going to be a cost of living allowance (COLA) for beneficiaries of the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program, the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program and the Social Security Retirement and Old Age benefits system.
While it may seem the reason there is no cost of living allowance for Social Security disability benefits recipients is because the money will run out in 2016, and there will be a 20 percent reduction in the budget, this is not the reason being suggested. It is now being suggested that gas prices are to blame.
This is reportedly the fourth time in over four decades that there will not be a cost of living increase, and it is not high gas prices that are being blamed, but actually low gas prices. As you may have noticed, gas prices are lower than they have been in recent years. The automatic increases based upon changes to the average cost of living began in 1975 when Congress enacted the regulations. This regulation was created at a time when there was a lot of inflation, and gas prices were one of the main factors taken into consideration. Since this regulation was enacted, there was an average 4 percent increase in benefits each year as part of the cost of living increase.
It is unfortunate that there will not be a cost of living increase for the first time in years. There is a common misconception that millions of Americans are sitting at home pretending to be disabled so they can collect a check each month. This could not be farther from the truth. First, when Congress established the Social Security Disability Insurance program, it was done in such a way that disability benefits could never exceed what a worker was earning before becoming disabled. In fact disability benefits are parentage of what a full time worker was capable of earning. However, despite the fact that disability benefits are less than working wages, it does not mean that these millions of people receiving disability are not dependent on these benefits to make ends meet and take care of themselves and their families.
As our Boston Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) attorneys have been seeing for years, politicians are using disability benefits recipients as convenient targets, when, in reality, they are truly suffering from disabilities and have often gone through long and difficult application process and in many cases a hearing with an administrative law judge (ALJ) to finally get approved for Social Security disability benefits. It should be noted that this process is very difficult, but with the assistance of an experienced attorney, your chances of obtaining a full and appropriate benefits award are substantially increased.
The reason for this is because of how the process works. Whenever an applicant is filed, it is first reviewed by a claims reviewer and, in far more than half of all cases, this claims reviewer will deny the application. The applicant will then have to go through a difficult review process, and you should have an attorney at your side to lead you through the process, so you can worry less about your application and more about your health and family.
If you are seeking Social Security Disability Insurance benefits in Boston, call for a free and confidential appointment at (617) 777-7777.
Social Security increase unlikely next year; blame gas prices, October 12, 2015, The Los Angeles Times, by Bradley C. Bower
More Blog Entries:
Hanson v. Colvin: A Critical Look by a Court of Appeals on a Denial of Benefits, August 14, 2014, Boston Disability Lawyers Blog.