As residents in New Jersey know well, from year to year prices tend to go in one direction - up. Year after year, food costs more; clothing costs more; housing costs more. This causes many to wonder - do SSI benefits also go up?
The simple and straightforward answer is yes. Social Security payments, including Supplemental Security income, regularly increase. Those raises are baked into the law in the form of automatic increases tied to economic inflation. To calculate the increase, the program uses a formula based on the Consumer Price Index. What is the Consumer Price Index? It is metric that looks at how much an average person in specific job description would pay for typical consumer goods.
How does the Social Security Administration use the CPI? The SSA looks at the CPI data to see how much prices have risen since the last time a cost-of-living increase happened. If prices have increased by more than a tenth of a percent, New Jerseyans can expect a COLA increase. If prices rise less than that, then there is no COLA increase. Turning to 2017, residents in New Jersey will enjoy a tiny bump. This bump is around 0.03 percent and will be effective in January 2017.
While the increase is good news, many New Jerseyans eligible for SSI benefits will not receive the increase. Why? Because the Social Security Administration often denies applicants even if those applicants qualify. Often the reason is that the applicant made some kind of error in their application.
New Jerseyans looking to challenge a rejection or to avoid a rejection in the first place may benefit from speaking with an experienced SSI attorney about their situation. Doing so could be the difference between a smooth journey and a bumpy one.
Source: ssa.gov, "SSI Federal Payment Amounts for 2017," Accessed Nov. 18, 2016