What Is a Social Security Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA)?

Since 1973, the Social Security Act has provided for annual cost of living adjustments (COLAs) to ensure that the amount Social Security beneficiaries receive grows at the same pace as inflation in the United States. The idea behind the COLA is that as food, shelter, and other necessities become more expensive, benefit checks for those receiving Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) will also grow.

The COLA increase is calculated using a formula provided by the Social Security Act that involves the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers – information provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Unlike veterans' disability benefits COLAs, Social Security COLAs are not voted on by federal lawmakers, but rather calculated and approved by the Social Security Administration (SSA).

There may not be any COLA increases at all in years of poor economic growth or low inflation in the United States. During the recent recession, there were no COLA increases in 2009 or 2010. However, during better economic years, COLA increases have been as much as 14 percent, though normally the number hovers between one and five percent.

If you have a question about your Social Security disability claim, talk to a Texas SSDI attorney today for answers. Contact Morgan & Weisbrod today.



Carl M. Weisbrod
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Managing Partner of Morgan & Weisbrod, Board Certified in Social Security Disability Law