With housing, food costs and other living expenses seemingly increasing all the time, individuals are often in need of financial assistance in order to cover their expenses. Millions of Americans, including many Oklahoma residents, depend in particular on receiving their Social Security benefits in order to meet their financial obligations.
Recently, it was announced that there will be a 1.7 percent cost-of-living adjustment, otherwise known as COLA, to individuals' Social Security benefits. The increase, which follows last year's 1.5 percent increase, will take effect in January.
While the increase was criticized by some as being too small, given the increasing costs of medicine and consumer goods, the increase is based on inflation. With the low inflation in recent years, the cost-of-living increase has also been loaw.
The COLA will also affect millions of Americans who receive government benefits, such as disabled veterans and individuals who obtain Supplemental Security Income. There are about 4 million disabled veterans affected by the COLA, along with more than 8 million who get SSI benefits. In addition, many individuals who get SSI benefits also obtain Social Security benefits.
Despite the large number of individuals obtaining benefits, it is important for individuals to understand how the increase will affect them personally. This is particularly true for those who depend heavily on their benefits, including those who are living on multiple types of benefits.
Ultimately, while the increase has been criticized as too small by some, the most vital aspect is often obtaining benefits in the first place, such as with SSI benefits. Individuals need these benefits to meet their financial obligations, particularly those who are living with a disability.
Source: KTUL, "Social Security benefits get another tiny increase," Stephen Ohlemacher, Oct. 22, 2014