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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

SSA: No Increase for Beneficiaries’ 2011 COLA

For the second consecutive year, the Social Security Administration will not provide an increase on the benefits to be received by some 58 million beneficiaries nationwide for the coming year.

In 2009, the beneficiaries received a 5.8 percent increase, a higher-than-normal increase that would be the last for at least two years, as the energy prices in 2008 inflated. However, in the same year, the recession caused overall prices to go down by 2.1 percent and so the beneficiaries did not receive increases in their benefits for the year 2010.

According to the SSA, the Bureau of Labor Statistics did not see any increase between 2010’s and 2008’s third quarter Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) when cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) was last determined.

Because of this, under the law, the SSA is not required to increase the benefits received monthly by Social Security and Supplemental Security Income beneficiaries.

This latest announcement made by the SSA regarding benefits may come as a disappointment to retirees, the disabled, and recipients of supplemental income who rely much on their monthly benefits as they may have limited or no capability to work and support themselves.

Nonetheless, SSA has no legal obligation to grant the increase especially if the agency itself is battling financial crisis in order to provide the monthly benefits needed by their beneficiaries. They shouldn’t be held accountable as the Bureau of Labor Statistics found no reason to compel the agency to increase the benefits distributed to their beneficiaries.