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Disabled workers to see increase in Social Security benefits

During these tough economic times, many workers in Minnesota might not expect to be given a raise. Disabled workers who are currently receiving Social Security Disability Insurance benefits probably don't expect to see an increase in their monthly benefits either, especially since critics of the SSDI program continue to argue that the program costs too much.

However, there is some good news for Social Security recipients. Earlier this week, the government announced that Americans who currently receive Social Security payments will see an increase in their monthly benefits beginning in January. Although the increase is small, the increase will help disabled workers and retirees keep up with living expenses.

Since 1975, the government has been automatically adjusting Social Security benefits every year so that recipients' benefits will keep up with inflation. The Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers is used to determine the annual cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for Social Security recipients. Several price changes are taken into consideration when calculating the cost-of-living, including prices for the following: food, clothing, housing, medical care, energy, transportation, education and recreation.

This year, benefits increased by 3.6 percent. Beginning in January 2013, disabled workers, retirees and Supplemental Security Income recipients will only see an increase of 1.7 percent. Although every penny counts for many folks, some speculate this small increase will only help to cover the rise in Medicare premiums for recipients. This adjustment in benefits will affect about 56 million Americans.

Currently, disabled workers receive an average of $1,111 per month in SSD benefits. For many, this means they may only see an $18 increase in their monthly benefits. Still, this means that benefits could increase by more than $200 for the entire year.

Source: Associated Press, "Social Security benefits to go up by 1.7 percent," Stephen Ohlemacher, Oct. 16, 2012

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