U.S. Social Security retirement and disability recipients will receive a raise in January with 1.7% cost-of-living adjustment, or COLA.
"SSDI recipients may want to set aside some of this increase for their healthcare costs," said Tricia Blazier, personal financial planning manager at Allsup. "People with disabilities generally have higher healthcare costs. We often help Allsup customers navigate their healthcare decisions as they wait for their SSDI benefits to be awarded and to receive eventual Medicare eligibility."
Individuals receiving Social Security disability benefits become eligible for Medicare 24 months after their cash SSDI benefits begin.
"People who have held off applying for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits in 2014 may want to revisit their condition and financial situation, especially if they simply weren't able to go back to work this year," Blazier added.
SSDI is a federally mandated insurance program that operates separately from the retirement and Supplemental Security Income programs. It is funded by FICA payroll taxes paid by workers and their employers. SSDI provides monthly income to individuals who are under full retirement age (age 65 or older) and who can no longer work because of a severe disability expected to last for more than 12 months or is terminal. Find more information under the About SSDI section of Allsup.com.
More Money For Social Security Recipients, Veterans With the COLA, SSDI recipients will receive about $19 more per month in 2015.
The Social Security Administration estimated the monthly average benefit at $1,165 in 2015 compared to $1,146 in 2014. That's a total increase of $228 for the year.
Benefits also are increasing for retired workers with an average $1,328 per month in 2015 compared to $1,306 in 2014.
A widowed mother and two children will receive an average $2,680 in 2015 compared to $2,635 in 2014.
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs also enacted a 1.7 percent COLA increase for military retired pay, VA disability and survivors benefits. "The new benefit amounts for veterans disability ratings took effect on Dec. 1," explained Brett Buchanan, VA-accredited claims agent for Allsup, which offers the Allsup Veterans Disability Appeal Service®.
About 4 million veterans receive disability compensation benefits. "Veterans who have experienced worsening health may want to file a veterans disability appeal in order to receive a higher rating," Buchanan said. "This is especially true for veterans who had to quit working their civilian jobs due to their disability and are also considering filing for SSDI benefits."
The COLA provided veterans with monthly compensation (without dependents) ranging from $133.17 for a 10 percent disability rating to $2,906.83 for a 100 percent disability rating.
People receiving SSDI and veterans disability benefits could use the increase to review their budget and consider their financial goals in the coming year, Blazier said. There may be ways to achieve additional savings through community assistance programs, food pantries or seeking mortgage assistance through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, for example.
For more information about SSDI eligibility or appealing a Social Security disability claim, contact an Allsup SSDI specialist at (800) 678-3276 for a free evaluation.
Find out how to proceed with a veterans disability appeal or claim for service-connected disability benefits by calling (888) 372-1190.
Allsup is a nationwide provider of Social Security disability, veterans disability appeal and Medicare services for individuals, employers and insurance carriers. Allsup professionals deliver specialized services supporting people with disabilities and seniors so they may lead lives that are as financially secure and as healthy as possible. Founded in 1984, the company is based in Belleville, Illinois, near St. Louis. For more information, go to www.Allsup.com or visit Allsup on Facebook at www.facebook.com/Allsupinc