From gasoline to groceries, the cost of just about everything in the United States tends to rise over time. As the value of currency decreases and the economy fluctuates, the prices of goods and services have a tendency to increase little by little with each passing year. While many of these price hikes are individually minor inconveniences, such as paying an extra 15 cents for a pack of gum, rising prices can quickly add up for those who are on a tight budget, especially for disabled individuals who rely on fixed Social Security Disability insurance (SSDI) benefits to get by. As the prices of basic necessities go up, so does the average cost of living in a particular area.
The term “cost of living” refers to the average amount of money it costs for a person to live a comfortable lifestyle in a particular state, county, or city. Cost of living does not include frivolous purchases or luxury expenses, but rather the basic things a person would need to stay safe and healthy.
Cost of living typically incorporates the following expenses:
- Food and water
- Clothing and bedding
- Medical expenses
- Personal hygiene
- Educational costs
- Transportation to and from work
How Does the SSA Accommodate for Rising Inflation?
The Social Security Administration (SSA) studies inflation in the country on a yearly basis and has been known to adjust the SSDI benefits to accommodate for changes in the economic landscape. These cost of living adjustments, or COLAs, are meant to help keep benefit recipients on pace with the rising costs brought about by inflation and allow them to maintain the same lifestyle from year to year. Increases are not guaranteed, however, as the SSA halted COLA increases from 2009 to 2010 to reevaluate its practices. Similarly, due to a relative decline in consumer prices in 2015, the SSA will not increase benefits in 2016.
If you are unable to make ends meet due to an increase in the cost of living and insufficient SSDI benefits, know that there is hope. At Disability Action Advocates, our Reno Social Security Disability representatives can bring your individual case to the SSA’s attention and help you pursue a fair increase to your benefits. We have helped thousands of disabled clients through more than two decades of practice and can use our skills to ensure your rights are protected.
Call (888) 401-3920 or schedule a free consultation today to review your legal options.