SSA

Question: How much is the Cola increase?

A. Mathew, Coral Springs

Answer: Social Security benefits and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments for approximately 70 million Americans will increase by 5.9% in 2022. This is the annual cost-of-living adjustment (COLA). By law, federal benefits increase when the cost of living rises, as measured by the Department of Labor’s Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W).

Question: When will the increase take effect?

J. Martinez, Westchester

Answer: The increase will begin with benefits that Social Security beneficiaries receive in January 2022. Increased SSI payments will begin on December 30, 2021.

Question: When will the COLA notice arrive in the mail? 

P. Anderson, Royal Palm

Answer: We mail COLA notices throughout the entire month of December. It is possible that your friend or family member will receive their notice in the mail before you. Please wait until January before contacting us about your mailed notice. However, you may not need to wait for your mailed notice to learn your new benefit amount for 2022: you can view your COLA notice online with your personal my Social Security account.

Question:

Who can see their notice online?

N. Murphy, Brickell

Answer:

COLA notices are available online to most beneficiaries through the Message Center of their personal my Social Security account if they created their account by November 17, 2021. my Social Security is a secure, convenient way to receive COLA notices online and save the message for later.  You can also opt out of receiving Anotices by mail that are available online.

Question: How much will I receive if I qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits?

M. Socarras, Miami

Answer: The amount of your SSI benefit depends on where you live and how much income you have. The maximum SSI payment varies nationwide. For 2022, the maximum federal SSI payment for an eligible individual is $841 a month and $1,261 a month for an eligible couple. However, many states add money to the basic payment. For more information, go to www.ssa.gov/ssi.

Question: I served in the military, and I’ll receive a military pension when I retire. Will that affect my Social Security benefits?

A. Martinez, Miami Lakes

Answer: You can get both Social Security retirement benefits and military retirement at the same time. Generally, we don’t reduce your Social Security benefits because of your military benefits. When you’re ready to apply for Social Security retirement benefits, go to www.ssa.gov/applyonline. This is the fastest and easiest way to apply. For your convenience, you can always save your progress during your application and complete it later. We thank you for your military service!

Question: My aunt became mentally disabled as a result of a car accident. Does Social Security have a special program for people who are obviously physically or mentally disabled? 

C. Garcia, Pembroke Pines

Answer: Through our Compassionate Allowances program, we can quickly identify diseases and other medical conditions that qualify, based on minimal objective medical information, and that allow us to make payments much sooner than the usual review process allows. Compassionate Allowances is not a separate program from the Social Security disability insurance or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) programs. People who don’t meet the Compassionate Allowances criteria will still have their medical conditions reviewed by Social Security. Learn more at www.ssa.gov/compassionateallowances

Question: Can I refuse to give my Social Security number to a private business? J. Puerto, Hialeah

Answer: Yes, you can refuse to disclose your Social Security number, and you should be careful about giving out your number. But, be aware, the person requesting your number can refuse services if you don’t give it. Businesses, banks, schools, private agencies, etc., are free to request someone's number and use it for any purpose that doesn’t violate a federal or state law. To learn more about your Social Security number, visit www.ssa.gov/ssnumber.

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