May newsletter

DECember 2021


Pandemic Leads to Large COLA for 2022

Social Security recipients will get a significant Cost of Living (COLA) increase as a result of the impact of the pandemic on the United States economy.
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With prices and wages significantly reduced by the economic contraction from the pandemic, this last year saw a significant increase in the economic figures used by Social Security in determining the annual COLA. Therefore, Social Security and Supplemental Security Income beneficiaries will see a 5.9% increase in their benefits. However, this change will be largely offset for those on Medicare with a larger Part B premium increase. Also, housing is a major issue for people trying to live on SSDI and SSI benefits. It is not uncommon for housing and energy costs in certain communities to be 50% or more of monthly benefits leaving little money for medical care, job training or other basic needs.

Key numbers:

  • SSI benefits will increase to $841 in 2022 from $794 in 2021;,
  • The average SSDI benefit will be approximately $1,358 per month;
  • The definition of “substantial gainful activity” (work) for-non blind workers will rise to gross income of $1,350 per month;
  • The definition of a Trial Work Period month for SSDI beneficiaries returning to work will rise to gross income of $970 per month from $940 per month in 2021;
  • The standard Medicare Part B premium will be $170 in 2022 with the annual deductible rising to $233. The Part B premium will also increase for single tax filers with income equal to or more than $91,000 per year. The premium continues to rise as individual and family income increases.
  • Last year at this time we discussed the Social Security 2100 Act which was proposed to secure Social Security funding in the future. This legislation was just re-introduced by Representative John Larson from Connecticut as “Social Security 2100: A Sacred Trust.” This Act would protect Social Security funding for decades. The bill also calls for increased benefits for people on Social Security, end the five-month waiting period for people approved for SSDI and repeal the Government Pension Offset and Windfall Elimination provisions which impact teachers, other state employees and many widows/widowers. SSI benefits and asset/income tests would be increased.

    Covid continues to impact people applying for benefits. The Social Security Administration has offered a vague re-opening plan which calls for some offices partially reopening in January. ALJ hearings are still remote. However, there are regular issues with phone technology and the lack of stable and secure internet for many people trying to use remote video hearings.

    All of us must regularly keep in touch with our Congressional representatives to let them know that our clients deserve their attention and support, regardless of party affiliation. The time to secure the future of the Social Security Trust funds and aid to the disabled is now, not when a crisis arrives with a threatened decrease in benefits to the disabled and elderly.



    FREE TRAININGS FOR 2022

    We continue to conduct our trainings at agencies throughout our community. If you would like us to meet with your staff to discuss any aspect of Social Security disability, please call to get on our schedule. We would be happy to schedule in-service trainings for no fees. Trainings via video conference are also available. Call or email and let’s set up a date.

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