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Disability benefits set to meet growing cost of living in 2014

The primary goal of distributing disability benefits is to help those who have a serious medical condition meet basic living expenses. Making ends meet from month to month can be very difficult when a person is unable to work a full-time job.

Monthly expenses will naturally increase over the course of time with inflation, which can create hardship for those on a fixed income. Thankfully, disability benefits include an annual cost-of-living adjustment to help individuals make adjustments to regular fluctuations in prices. Recently, the federal government announced that monthly Social Security disability insurance and Supplemental Security Income payments will increase by 1.5 percent for next year. This is a slight drop from the 2013 adjustment, which was a 1.7 percent increase.

Those who receive Supplemental Security Income benefits are adults and children who have never paid into the Social Security system, which makes them ineligible for SSDI. Because these individuals haven't worked, likely due to a medical condition, they are often under very tight financial constraints.

For some people, an increase in benefits of 1.5 percent may not seem like that much. However, for those who are under serious financial pressure, that increase -- especially added up over time -- is incredibly important.

To put the increase in context, it may be helpful to look at how this will actually affect SSI payments. In 2014, the highest monthly SSI payment for an individual will be $721, which is an $11 increase over last year. For couples receiving SSI, the combined maximum benefit is increasing from $1,066 to $1,082 per month.

This announcement is probably welcome news to those who currently receive benefits or are in the process of applying. As the federal government is subject to making changes annually, it may be helpful to monitor future adjustments in benefits payments.

Source: Disability Scoop, "Social Security, SSI Benefits To Rise In 2014," Michelle Diament, Oct. 30, 2013

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