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Will social security recipients get an extra $200 in January?

With prices rapidly increasing, many senior rights advocates are calling attention to the fact that inflation has outpaced the planned COLA for social security

Update:
With prices rapidly increasing, many senior rights advocates are calling attention to how inflation has outpaced the planed COLA for social security

The 2022 COLA applied social security benefits have begun to hit bank accounts across the country, with more payments scheduled throughout the month.

This year, many retirees and other beneficiaries will see a historic increase of 5.9 percent tacked onto their benefits, as the pandemic has led to supply chain disruptions that have led to soaring prices.

Some are wondering if an additional $200 payment will be made to boost payment amounts as prices continue to rise. No such payment is planned at this time.

Will any beneficiary see a $200 COLA increase?

In order for the benefit increase to reach $200, a person’s 2021 benefit would have needed to be $3,389. Very few people will see a COLA increase of this size, considering that the maximum benefit in 2021 was $3,895.

What will the average benefit increase be across programs provided by the Social Security Administration?

There are two main programs under which the Social Security Administration issues benefits: Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). There are 69.9 million people who claim social security benefits, of which a little over five million are also eligible for SSI.

Social Security

Around 62 million people solely claim social security and in November, the average social security benefit for a retiree was 1,563.82. When applying the 5.9 COLA, this average could increase by $92.21 to $1.656,03.

Supplemental Security Income

To receive SSI, one must meet two eligibility requirements. One must either be over the age of sixty-five, blind and/or disabled. Additionally, they must have a limited income and resources as the program is need-based and aims to assist beneficiaries to cover basic costs for food and shelter.

Individual

2022 Supplemental Security Income Amounts

  • 2021 Annual Total: $9,530.12
  • 2022 Annual Total: $10,092.40
  • 2022 Monthly Total: $841

Couple

2022 Supplemental Security Income Amounts

  • 2021 Annual Total: $14,293.61
  • 2022 Annual Total: $15,136.93
  • 2022 Monthly Total: $1,261

Essential Person

2022 Supplemental Security Income Amounts

  • 2021 Annual Total: $4,775.99
  • 2022 Annual Total: $5,057.77
  • 2022 Monthly Total: $421

Source: Social Security Administration

Unlike social security, SSI benefits do not vary by the person’s income and rather are set a rate received by all beneficiaries, unless their income exceeds a certain level. There are three categories to keep in mind, an eligible person (who meets the requirements), an eligible couple (one of who meets the requirements, but who together have a limited income), and an essential caretaker (only applies to people who have been a caretaker of someone before 1973).

Researchers have highlighted that most seniors receive smaller benefits because "some of them also receive Social Security, which reduces their SSI payments. Benefits for children are typically higher because they often do not have an income of their own." In July, the average for children was $693, for adults (18-64) it was $617, and for seniors, it was $417.

The organization, Justice In Aging found that fifty-three percent of SSI recipients were women. The disproportionate dependence of women on the program could be "because they are more likely to have spent time out of the workforce caring for their families, or to have worked in low-wage or part-time jobs."

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