SSA: No increase in Social Security benefits in 2016

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Social Security Administration building

Social Security payments will not increase in 2016

For just the third time, Social Security beneficiaries will see no annual increase in benefits during the upcoming year, the Social Security Administration announced October 15.

In 1973, Congress passed legislation linking future increase in Social Security benefits to inflation, as measured by the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers. Each year, the SSA is tasked with calculating these increases, otherwise known as cost-of-living adjustments, or COLA.

Largely due to the collapse of gasoline prices, inflation measured 0.4 percent for the past year, as measured by the period from the end of the third quarter of 2014 to the end of the third quarter of 2015. The only other years where inflation was zero percent or less were 2010 and 2011.

As of August 2015, about 10.8 million people nationwide are receiving Social Security Disability Insurance benefits. The average monthly SSDI check is $1022.00.

In addition, about 8.3 million people are receiving Supplemental Security Income benefits, the government’s primary program for low-income people with disabilities. These benefits average $541.00 per month.

The COLA measured 3.6 percent in 2012, 1.7 percent in 2013, 1.5 percent in 2014 and 1.7 percent again this past year.