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Veterans will not likely receive benefits increase in 2016

Next year, disabled veterans are not expected to receive a Social Security benefits increase. This will be the third time that no benefits increase was given in 40 years. Clearly, this news will not be making any veterans happy, but it appears to be the result of one positive theme in our economy at the moment: lower gas prices.

According to the law, the government measures inflation each year to determine what the benefits increase will be. The annual cost-of-living adjustment is then applied to Social Security wage recipients' monthly payments. However, due to low gas prices, the COLA has dropped this year compared to last year.

News about the lack of increase will be announced on Thursday this week; however, economists have confirmed that inflation was so low the last year that a benefits increase is exceedingly unlikely. According to COLA figures, the cost of living has actually declined since last year.

Automatic Social Security benefits increases have been in effect since the mid-1970s when high inflation made the annual raises a necessity. Since the increases began, they have averaged approximately 4 percent annually. In 2010 and 2011, the government also forwent benefits increases.

Benefits increases like this are received by over 70 million Americans each year. At this time, 60 million people in Minnesota and the rest of the nation are receiving Social Security benefits. On average, individuals receive $1,224 in monthly payments.

Minnesota residents and veterans who have questions about their veterans' benefits or questions about their Social Security benefits may want to speak with a Social Security Disability attorney about their situations.

Source: Dallas News, "No increase in Social Security benefits expected for 2016," Oct. 11, 2015

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