Nancy Warren really wishes she was getting about $5 less per month in Social Security payments. The Charlotte mother of one has been unable to work for some time as she suffers from high blood pressure, a heart murmur, multiple sclerosis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Ms. Warren had been living on $923 per month in SSD payments until she got the good news that thanks to a cost of living increase, she would now be getting $956 per month, putting her just $5 over the limit for receiving Medicaid, which pays for her multiple sclerosis medication.
Measuring cost of living increases is rather complex. A recent report suggests that the benefits calculation may soon change. In particular, the cost of living adjustments, which are granted automatically to all recipients of Social Security, whether they are receiving SSD or retirement benefits, are currently the subject of discussions in Congress.
The current method, CPI-W, is pegged to the wage earner’s income. A proposed method for calculating SSD cost of living increases, chained CPI, is an even more complex calculation. Results from the two calculations differ by around 0.3%. That difference, however, may make all the difference to people like Ms. Warren.
Very few Social Security Disability benefit requests are granted on the first try. In almost all cases, you will need to hire a SSD attorney appeal your rejection. Since most SSD attorneys will work on contingency, meaning that they don’t get paid unless you get paid, it is worth your while to work with a lawyer rather than risk losing your benefits by striking out on your own.