Social Security – Social Security Administration Announces No Cost-of-Living Increases for 2016

Last week, the Social Security Administration (SSA) announced that there will be no cost-of-living increase for Social Security or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits in 2016. The Social Security Act provides for annual increases in Old-Age and Survivors Insurance (OASI), Disability Insurance (DI), and SSI benefits based on inflation as measured by the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W). Because the CPI-W decreased over the last year, there will be no increase in Social Security or SSI benefits in 2016. However, as noted in a statement by The Arc’s Senior Executive Officer for Public Policy, Marty Ford, many beneficiaries will still face increases in costs such as out-of-pocket medical expenses and housing. SSA also announced that two important thresholds for Social Security and SSI beneficiaries with disabilities will increase in 2016: the Substantial Gainful Activity level for non-blind individuals will increase from $1,090 per month in 2015 to $1,130 per month in 2016, and the Trial Work Level will increase from $780 per month in 2015 to $810 per month in 2016. The Department of Health and Human Services has not yet announced Medicare premium changes for 2016. Because there is the “hold harmless” provision in Medicare Part B, premiums for about 70 percent of beneficiaries will not increase for OASI or DI beneficiaries. Medicare Part B beneficiaries who are not held harmless (generally higher income beneficiaries and those newly enrolled) may face premium increases of up to 52 percent.

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