SSA Announces 2019 Hike in Benefits – Here’s What to Expect

December 21st, 2018 by Attorney John Colvin

Next year, Social Security Administration (SSA) recipients can expect a bigger-than-average cost-of-living adjustment (COLA). According to a press release from the SSA, 67 million people will see a 2.8 percent increase in their benefits. As a piece from CBS News points out, it’s the highest COLA since 2012 when it was 3.6 percent.  The 2.9% increase in Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits for 2019 is the largest cost-of-living increase (COLA) in eight years. Social Security recipients will start to see increased payments beginning January 1, 2019, while the increased payments for SSI recipients will begin as early as December 28, 2018,

By comparison, the 2018 COLA rate was around 2.0 percent. Typically, the SSA takes a number of factors into consideration when determining each year’s COLA. The first is the Consumer Price Index percentage increase, compared from third quarter to third quarter. This 12-month snapshot provides a baseline for the COLA, which has been in place since 1972. The COLA affects household budgets for about 1 in 5 Americans, including Social Security beneficiaries, disabled veterans and federal retirees.

What does the boost mean for those who depend on financial assistance from the SSA? Essentially, for every $100 they now receive, they can expect to receive $102.80. Though this may seem like a slight difference, it can add up quickly.

For example, the new SSI federal base amount is $771 per month for an individual and $1,157 per month for a couple. The SSI payment amounts are higher in states that pay a supplementary SSI payment. In terms of SSDI the average disability benefit is now $1,234 (an increase of $34).  However, this past October, the government announced an increase in monthly premium costs for Medicare Part B that are set to go up in 2019.  This increase could potentially offset any amounts individuals might otherwise receive under the COLA for 2019 since the medical premium is deducted from Social Security payments. Part B Medicare covers physician and diagnostic services, outpatient hospital services, certain home health services and durable medical equipment.  Unfortunately, many beneficiaries could see their Social Security COLA swallowed up by health care costs, including the Medicare monthly premium increase.

Starting Your Social Security Disability Claim

Are you unable to work because of a disability? You may want to file a social security disability claim soon to take advantage of available funds. The faster you start the process, the faster you can find out whether your claim is approved. If so, you can begin to receive assistance from the SSA.

Been denied recently for a disability claim? Worried that you might be turned down? Talk to a lawyer in Tennessee who has helped other people in your situation. Many claims are denied initially. By partnering with an SSD attorney, you can get a better understanding of why you were denied and how you might be able to increase your likelihood of future acceptance upon reconsideration. Having an objective opinion from a knowledgeable professional working on your behalf can be a huge relief.

Remember that the COLA amount changes regularly. With a noticeable increase in 2019, you may be in a good position to receive more in SSDI and related SSA programs funding than you thought possible. Not only can that help you pay for a healthy lifestyle, but the monies can be used as a bridge between where you are today and where you want to be tomorrow.

For further information on Social Security disability claims and benefits, contact John R. Colvin, a practicing disability lawyer in Winchester, Tennessee with over 20 years of experience in representing claimants at all stages of the SSA appeals process.

Licensed to Practice in Tennessee & Alabama