The Ritzville Adams County Journal - Eastern Adams County's Only Independent Voice Since 1887

Largest COLA increase in seven years provides certainty for Social Security recipients and veterans

 

November 1, 2018



Every calendar year, Social Security Administration (SSA) automatically calculates the Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) for beneficiaries based on the consumer-price index, which measures changes in the price level of a defined set of consumer goods and services purchased by households. Earlier this month, SSA announced that it would raise the COLA by 2.8 percent in 2019, the largest COLA increase in seven years. That increase may not sound like a large amount, but it is more than the COLA increase of 2 percent in 2018 and 0.3 percent in 2017. In 2016, there was no increase at all.

For Medicare Part B recipients concerned that changes to their premiums might have negated the COLA increase, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced that standard monthly premiums will go up by $1.50 next year.

According to SSA, the 2.8 percent cost-of-living adjustment will begin with benefits payable to more than 62 million Social Security beneficiaries – roughly one in five Americans – in January, 2019. Increased payments to more than 8 million Supplemental Security Income (SSI) beneficiaries will begin on December 31, 2018. This increase will give certainty to millions of seniors on fixed income so that the value of their benefits is not eroded by inflation.

Not only is the COLA increasing for our seniors, but President Trump recently signed bipartisan legislation that passed the House unanimously and will help veterans as well. H.R. 4958, the “Veterans’ Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment Act of 2018” increases the rates of compensation for veterans with service-connected disabilities as well as the rates of dependency and indemnity compensation for the survivors of certain disabled veterans as of December 1, 2018, and by the same percentage as Social Security beneficiaries.

These COLA increases were much-needed for seniors and veterans. I am firmly committed to keeping both Social Security and Medicare stable and solvent. The Washington Post’s Fact Checker just last week awarded one Democratic U.S. Senator “four Pinocchios” – its highest rating for the most blatant falsehoods – for his claim that Republicans wanted to end Medicare and Social Security.

Social Security and Medicare are promises to our seniors who have paid into those programs their entire lives, and I am committed to ensuring these programs are strong and able to support the seniors who depend on them.

If ever you are having trouble receiving your Social Security benefits or just have a question, you can contact my congressional office in Yakima at (509) 452-3243 or in Richland at (509) 713-7374.

 

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