The partial government shutdown may have had many people who rely upon Social Security disability insurance benefits and other federal programs on edge. Although the government is back up and running, the Labor Department still has not released some important numbers on inflation.
Typically, in October of each year the federal government announces the cost-of-living-adjustment calculations that affect many forms of government benefits. The calculations of January’s upcoming COLA adjustments have been delayed. The Labor Department was expected to release the inflation numbers last Wednesday, but the actual numbers and calculations were delayed due to the partial government shutdown.
The Social Security raise to cover the cost of living would not come into play until January, and the delay really only affects the final calculations of the future raise. SSDI beneficiaries, Supplemental Security Income participants, disabled veterans and others rely upon these COLA adjustments to cover the ever increasing expenses of daily life. Analysts say that based upon preliminary numbers, next January’s COLA increase may only amount to about a 1.5 percent increase, which is historically low for the COLA increase.
The COLA formula involves a comparison of consumer prices recorded in July, August and September each year. The government compares the current year prices to the previous year for that same time period to calculate the cost of inflation. Analysts say that in January, SSDI, SSI and many other federal beneficiaries may see about a 1.5 percent increase, but the calculations cannot be finalized until the Labor Department releases its September report.
People in San Diego who have suffered a disabling mental or physical condition and can no longer work may benefit from the federal insurance program meant for disabled workers. The SSDI program has been in place since 1956 as an insurance program funded through payroll taxes. The safety net is intended to provide benefits for people who have paid into the program through working and having the taxes taken for their paychecks and who later become disabled.
Source: NBC News, “Social Security raise to be among lowest in years,” Stephen Ohlemacher--The Associated Press, Oct. 13, 2013