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Social Security Beneficiaries See Highest Cost-of-Living Increase in Decades

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Note: this article is not intended to provide investment, legal, tax, or accounting advice. Before making decisions with investing, legal, tax, or accounting ramifications, you should consult appropriate professionals for advice that is specific to your situation.

With the arrival of each new year comes a fresh set of unexpected circumstances. One change that will be welcome news to many is the latest Social Security Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA).

For 2022, beneficiaries will receive one of the highest cost-of-living increases in decades: a hefty 5.9% adjustment. In comparison to the 1.3% adjustment seen in 2021, this year’s change will offer a bit of relief for many people. According to the Social Security Administration, approximately 70 million Americans who receive Social Security and Supplemental Security Income will be able to take advantage of these raises.

Beneficiaries should have seen the new increases in their January deposits.

There are several adjustments now in effect, here are a few specific payment numbers you should be aware of:

  • New monthly Federal Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payment standard is $841 for an individual and $1,261 for a couple.
  • New monthly Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) thresholds: $1,350/month (non-blind), $2,260/month (blind), and $970/month (Trial Work Period).
  • Estimated average monthly Social Security retirement payment for individuals is $1,565 per month.
  • Annual gift exclusion limit for 2022 is $16,000 and the same limit applies to ABLE annual contributions.

In regards to Medicaid, the Spousal Impoverishment Figures will see their own changes for this new year:

  • The new minimum Community Spouse Resource Allowance (CSRA) is $27,480 and the maximum is $137,400.
  • The maximum monthly maintenance needs allowance is $3,435.
  • The minimum monthly maintenance needs allowance remains $2,177 ($2,721.25 for Alaska and $2,505 for Hawaii) until July 1, 2022.

Beneficiaries will surely take notice of the COLA increases, but it’s important to note that they are likely to encounter higher Medicare Premiums, Deductibles, and Copayments in 2022 as well:

  • Part B premium: $170.10 (was $148.50)
  • Part B deductible: $233 (was $203)
  • Part A deductible: $1,556 (was $1,484)
  • Co-payment for hospital stay days 61-90: $389/day (was $371)
  • Co-payment for hospital stay days 91 and beyond: $778/day (was $742)
  • Skilled nursing facility co-payment days 21-100: $194.50/day (was $185.50)

For a closer look at all the 2022 COLA changes, refer to the official fact sheet from the Social Security Administration.

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