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Will disability payments increase in 2015?

Yes, the Social Security Administration announced on Wednesday that Social Security benefits, including Social Security Disability benefits, will increase by 1.7 percent in 2015. The increase is based on the annual cost-of-living adjustment, otherwise known as COLA.

A total of 64 million Americans will see a slight increase in their monthly benefits on January 1, 2015 as a result of the law-mandated COLA. Eight million Supplemental Security Income beneficiaries will begin receiving the higher amount on December 31, 2014. 

The COLA for Social Security benefits fluctuates each year based on inflation. The COLA is determined by the percentage the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) increased from the third quarter of the last year to the third quarter of the current year. If there is no increase then there is no COLA.

As a result, the COLA varies from year to year. For example, in January 2014 the COLA was 1.5 percent and in January 2009 it was 5.8 percent. In January 2010 and January 2011, there was no COLA. Ultimately, the purpose of the COLA is to make sure that Social Security benefits aren't depreciated by inflation.

Additionally, what this means is that Social Security beneficiaries aren't really getting anything "extra" because of the COLA. As a result, SSD beneficiaries should not spend their benefits more liberally thinking that they have extra money to spare.

Social Security Disability benefits provide monetary support to Americans who cannot work due to a disabling illness or injury. For more information on how the programs work and how to qualify, please see our Detroit Disability Attorneys page.

Source: SSA.gov, "Cost-Of-Living Adjustment," accessed Oct. 23, 2014

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