By Michelle Diament
Monthly payments will increase next year for people with disabilities receiving benefits from Social Security, including Supplemental Security Income.
The Social Security Administration said Wednesday that benefits will rise by 1.5 percent in 2014.
The automatic adjustment known as COLA is intended to account for higher cost-of-living and is triggered by law when inflation goes up.
The change will take effect starting Dec. 31 for the nation’s 8 million SSI recipients and will begin in January for the 57 million Americans receiving Social Security.
With the increase, the maximum federal benefit for an individual receiving SSI will rise from $710 per month to $721. At the same time, the federal ceiling for a couple on SSI will grow from $1,066 per month to $1,082. Many states add to SSI benefits for their residents meaning that actual payments could exceed these caps.
The COLA for 2014 is similar to that seen this year when benefits rose 1.7 percent over last. Prior to that, beneficiaries saw their monthly checks increase more substantially in 2012, jumping 3.6 percent, after seeing no COLA at all in 2010 and 2011 because inflation was too low to warrant an adjustment.
Federal officials were originally scheduled to release information about the COLA for 2014 weeks ago, but the announcement was delayed until now by the government shutdown.