SOCIAL SECURITY

COLA 2022: when will the first payments arrive for SSI beneficiaries?

The Social Security Administration (SSA) announced a huge increase for beneficiaries next year, but not everyone knows when the boosted payments will land.

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COLA 2022: when will the first payments arrive for SSI beneficiaries?

Last month the Social Security Administration (SSA) announced a huge cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for Social Security recipients in 2022. The 5.9% increase is the largest for 40 years and reflects the tough financial situation that many find themselves in because of the pandemic.

The increase will affect close to 70 million Americans who receive either Social Security or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. SSI is designed to help those who are unable to earn sufficient wages, typically due to a disability or age.

This group will be the first to benefit from the COLA increase; the increased SSI payments will be sent out from 30 December 2021.

A schedule of payments released by the SSA recently shows that the SSI payments will arrive on the first day of the month throughout 2022, except when that date falls on either a Saturday or a Sunday. When that happens, as is the case in January 2022, the payment will be sent at the end of the previous month.

How much will the increased SSI payments be worth for recipients?

The substantial COLA increase aims to offset the inflation that has been recorded in recent months, an unavoidable consequence of the various forms of economic stimulus issued in the last 18 months. The stimulus checks, for example, boosted the spending power of tens of millions of households, but that has led to a price increase in some sectors.

The SSI payments vary between recipients and are calculated based on the claimant’s work history, other sources of income and their location. However when taken as an average, the COLA increase will be worth an additional $47 per month for individuals and $70 per month for couples.

Lawmakers propose Social Security funding boost

Social Security has been a part of the national safety net for decades but there is concern that the SSA may soon be unable to cover the cost of the vital programmes that it funds. The trust which supports the programmes financially is projected to run out of money within the next 15 years, which could result in a 20% cut for the tens of millions of people who rely on the payments.

The Social Security 2100 Act: A Sacred Trust, put forward by Rep. John Larsson, would incorporate new sources of funding and add in new forms of support, such as caregiver credits for those who are unable to work because they care for a family member.

The proposal is supported by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who has spoken about the importance of having robust Social Security programmes: “To have that social safety net, it isn’t just good for us individually, it helps us feel like we are a part of a society that respects our elders and values our vulnerable.”