SSDI recipients in Wisconsin will receive small increase

Wisconsin residents who receive Social Security benefits may have heard that today the government announced that recipients will receive small raises beginning in January. The 1.7 percent increase is a cost-of-living adjustment and it will average out to about $19 in monthly income per Social Security recipient.

Automatic adjustments for inflation were adopted by the Social Security Administration in 1975, and this is one of the smallest increases in the history of their existence. This year, Social Security retirement and disability recipients received a 3.6 percent increase in benefits, but that was after two years in a row of no increases.

The increase will affect those receiving retirement benefits, Social Security disability insurance benefits and Supplemental Security Income.

The cost-of-living adjustments are tied to the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers as generated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The index accounts for changes in the cost of housing, food, transportation, clothing, energy and medical care, among other things.

The small increase comes at a time when policymakers are considering ways to reduce benefits in order to cut back federal spending and bolster the program’s finances. However, those in need of Social Security disability benefits must remember that these benefits are not a government handout. Social Security disability benefits, rather, are an insurance payout from an insurer to whom workers pay a type of premium throughout their careers.

Those who have not worked enough to qualify for Social Security disability benefits, however, may qualify for another disability benefit program called Supplemental Security Income.

Despite the fact that many Wisconsin residents should qualify for one of these types of benefits, about 75 percent of initial disability applications are denied. Qualified legal counsel can help disabled workers receive the SSD and SSI benefits they deserve.

Source: Associated Press, “Social Security benefits to go up by 1.7 percent,” Stephen Ohlemacher, Oct. 16, 2012

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