A modest increase to SSI benefits in 2017

Anyone in Knoxville or the rest of the country receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits understands just how important they are. After all, these benefits are based on financial need, meaning many SSI recipients earn a very low income or do not earn an income at all. Therefore, any additional financial help they receive can make the difference from being able to afford their medical care and basic living expenses, or having to go without.

Unfortunately, 2016 saw no cost of living adjustment (COLA) in SSI benefits. The COLA is supposed to be based on inflation and is required by law. The Social Security Administration (SSA) has decided to apply a 0.3 percent COLA raise in SSI payments starting in January 2017.

As of right now, eight million Americans receive SSI. With this COLA increase, the highest SSI benefit for individuals in 2017 will be $735 monthly. In 2016, it was $733 monthly. For couples in 2017, the highest SSI benefit in 2017 will be $1,103 monthly. In 2016, it was $1,100.

Admittedly, this increase does not amount to much. However, keep in mind that many states also provide benefits to those who receive SSI, so there is an additional financial safety net for these individuals. Therefore, those who receive SSI benefits may find that these benefits do help them meet their daily financial needs.

Being disabled and unable to work is a situation no one wants to be in. However, it is good to know that the government does provide programs to assist people in such situations financially. Through SSI and Social Security disability benefits, those with a serious injury or illness who are unable to work for a year or more may qualify for additional financial help, if all other requirements are met.

Source: DisabilityScoop, “SSI Benefits To Increase In 2017,” Michelle Diament, Oct. 18, 2016