Over 60 million Americans receive Social Security benefits in one form or another. A portion of those receive benefits because they are disabled and can’t work. For example, in Ohio alone, in 2013, over 311,000 people received Supplemental Security Income. Because SSI beneficiaries tend to be a restricted pool of people compared to those who receive Social Security Disability Insurance, it stands to reason that an even higher number of Ohio residents receive SSDI. Unfortunately, for both categories of disabled individuals, it appears that their benefit amounts will not be going up next year.
Federal law requires that the benefits people receive through the Social Security Administration be checked for a Cost of Living Adjustment annually. This adjustment is basically pegged to a measure of inflation of consumer prices in the economy. This Consumer Price Index, when announced by the government, will likely show that prices have, overall, decreased over the past fiscal year. Therefore, there will probably be a zero percentage increase in Social Security benefits, including for those who are disabled.
The main reason for the very low inflation rate in consumer prices is reportedly based on the price of gasoline. Because energy costs are included in the price of many goods and services, from the fuel needed to run manufacturing plants to the gasoline required to bring goods to market, oil prices often have an oversized effect on the inflation rate in the U.S. economy. When gas prices are low, the cost of many consumer goods do not rise, or even drop, thus creating a downward pressure on the consumer price index as a whole.
There have been some ideas floated about whether the Social Security COLA should be based upon a different set of criteria, but for now the Consumer Price Index will continue to dictate whether Social Security recipients receive increases in their benefit amounts. For next year at least, it seems those who are receiving SSDI and SSI benefits will have to make do with more of the same.
Source: 10tv.com, “No Social Security Increase Coming ‘ WBNS-10TV Columbus, Ohio,” Oct. 12, 2015