Social Security Benefits Continue to Only Slightly Increase

The following information covers a recent update regarding social security benefits. If you would like to simply apply for benefits, please click here. Please find additional information below:

Countless receivers of Social Security benefits and ex-government officials will receive a paltry 0.3 % raise in their month-to-month benefits during the coming year. This year no raise was implemented at all, and next year's payout boost is so tiny because the inflation rate is low, partially due to reduced gasoline costs.

U.S. authorities recently reported the COLA (cost-of-living adjustment). This formula draws on a federal measurement of buyer prices and impacts over 70,000,000 people, or roughly one out of every five U.S. citizens. The standard Social Security payout is $1,238, which means a monthly raise of under $4 per month.

Even worse, monthly Medicare Part B rates, which are typically subtracted from Social Security earnings, will very likely be raised so high next year that they'll eliminate the whole COLA. For legal reasons, the raising of a Medicare Part B rate may not be more than a recipient's cost-of-living increase. This is referred to as the "hold harmless" measure, which works for most Medicare beneficiaries.

But a different government regulation states that Part B rates should bring in enough capital to pay for 25% of the predicted expenditures for medical services. As a result, a small number of recipients (which includes new beneficiaries and high-earning individuals) must cover the whole raise. Retired veterinary assistant Millicent Graves states that Medicare rates consume almost one-third of her Social Security check every month, while her insurance, internet, cable, and telephone expenses also increased.

Over 60,000,000 retired seniors, disabled employees, children, and spousal beneficiaries receive Social Security checks. In addition, the COLA impacts payouts for around 4,000,000 handicapped veterans, 2,500,000 ex-government employees and their family members, and over 8,000,000 citizens who receive SSI, the handicap plan for low-income families. A lot of people who receive SSI get Social Security benefits as well. The only time the COLA has exceeded 2% since 2008 was in the year 2011, and it's been 0% in three different years during that same time.

According to Senior Citizens League representative Mary Johnson, this drastic reduction in pension earnings gets worse year after year, forcing people to go through their retirement accounts much faster than expected. For a retirement that lasts for two or three decades, it decreases expected Social Security earnings by many thousands of bucks.

The COLA is determined according to the CPI-W, a variant of the consumer price index produced by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The CPI-W analyzes fluctuating costs for groceries, property, clothes, vehicles, electricity, health care, entertainment, and schooling. The cost-of-living adjustment is computed with the average CPI-W for the months of July, August, and September. When costs rise, payouts also rise. When costs decrease or remain even, payout amounts are unchanged. The figures for July and August of 2016 indicate a COLA of only 0.3%, while the September figures will be published shortly.

A lot of people feel that the federal government's formula for gauging inflation does not accurately reveal the expenses many elderly U.S. citizens must contend with. For instance, according to the August inflation report, fuel costs have dropped by almost 18% during the last year, whereas the health care expenses have risen by over 5%.

According to head researcher Max Gulker at the American Institute for Economic Research, elderly people who drive only a little or not at all aren't receiving the entire benefit of reduced fuel costs. On the other hand, a lot of them expend more money on medical care. This is also the case for Millicent Graves, who doesn't drive a lot and says she has to depend more on cashing out investment funds to afford her medical costs.


It’s easy to apply online for Social Security disability benefits, and there are several advantages. You needn’t wait for an appointment. Applying from home or any computer is more convenient. By avoiding trips to the Social Security office, you’ll save time and money.

Your personal information will be kept completely private. We use the most secure internet technology.

There are three parts to the application process:

• Fill out the Disability Benefit Application.
• Answer the questions on the Adult Disability Report.
• Mail or take the documents we ask for to your Social Security office.

You will only be asked for relevant information. Helpful links and examples are provided. The process will go even smoother if you gather your personal information beforehand.

This is what you’ll need for the Disability Benefit Application:

• Your Social Security number
• An original or certified copy of your birth certificate (If you were born in another country, provide proof of U.S. citizenship or legal residency.)
• If you served in the military, an original or certified copy of your discharge papers (Form DD 214) for all periods of active duty
• Your W-2 Form from last year or, if you were self-employed, your federal income tax return (IRS 1040 and Schedules C and SE)
• Direct deposit numbers for having your monthly benefits deposited automatically (You may get these from a personal check or from your financial institution.)
• Information on any workers’ compensation claims you have filed including claim numbers, dates of injury and records of payments you received

This is what you’ll need for the Adult Disability Report:

• The name, address and phone number of someone who knows about your condition and can help with your claim
• Information about your illness, injury or medical condition including dates of treatment and patient ID numbers
• The names, addresses and phone numbers of the medical providers who treated you
• The names and dates of medical tests you’ve had and the names of the doctors who ordered them
• The names and prescribing doctors of any medications you take
• Medical records that you already have
• A list of where and when you’ve worked over the last 15 years (up to five jobs)

To get started, go to and select “Apply online for disability benefits.”

Don’t worry if you can’t finish the application in one session. You can save the information you’ve entered and stop at any time. The Disability Benefit Application and the Adult Disability Report will be assigned separate numbers. Just enter the appropriate number to pick up where you left off.

The Disability Benefit Application must be completely filled out in order to submit.

If you’re unable to answer all the questions on the Adult Disability Report, you can still submit it. We’ll help you get the missing information.

Finally, you’ll be asked to sign a form (SSA-827) that gives your doctors permission to release medical information to us. There are two ways to sign:

• Sign electronically when you’re completing the Adult Disability Report.
• Print the form at that time, sign it and send it to your Social Security office.

We provide a cover sheet that you can print. Send it with the signed medical release and any medical records that you already have.

When you’re finished, save the information and print a copy for your records. The process is complete when you click on “Submit Now.”

If we need more information, we’ll contact you. When we make a decision about your claim, we’ll send you a letter.


The online forms are available seven days a week during the following hours (Eastern time):

• Monday through Friday – 5 a.m. until 1 a.m.
• Saturday – 5 a.m. until 11 p.m.
• Sunday – 8 a.m. until 10 p.m.
• Holidays – 5 a.m. until 1 a.m.

Here’s how to contact Social Security for more information or to find copies of our publications:

• Visit our website at here

We treat all calls confidentially. We can answer specific questions from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday. Generally, wait times are shorter during the week after Tuesday. We provide information by automated phone service 24 hours a day.

To ensure that you receive accurate and courteous service, some calls are monitored by another Social Security representative.

If you would like to speak to a representative about handling this situation for you, please click here.

If you are a veteran, click here.

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