Sun, Mar 18, 2018 04:14 PM
Wednesday, March 8, 2017 issue
'COLA' will show up in January
by Bernard O'Nan | Ashland Social Security Office District Manager

You are most likely to see the word "cola" in ads about those refreshing carbonated drinks that seem to go with every burger and fries. But a "cola" can also be something just as refreshing (and much more important) to the elderly and disabled, to widows, widowers and children who have lost a parent.

Millions of Americans who get Social Security or Supplemental Security Income benefit payments receive an annual cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) it helps ensure that their benefit payments keep pace with inflation. Last month, Social Security announced that more than 51 million people will receive a 2.1 percent increase in their monthly benefit payments. The 2.1 percent COLA will show up in the January 2004 benefit payments for Social Security beneficiaries. And higher payments for Supplemental Security Income recipients will begin on Dec. 31.

The COLAs are tied directly to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W). The CPI measures inflation as experienced by consumers in their day-to-day living expenses. Annual increases are higher during periods of high inflation and lower during periods of low inflation

This is the 29th straight yearly rise in benefits since automatic cost-of-living adjustments began in 1975.

Bernard O'Nan is the District Manager at the Ashland Social Security Office. A representative from the Ashland Office visits the Louisa Senior Center every second Tuesday of each month. The next scheduled visits are Jan. 13 and Feb. 9 at 10 a.m. The Ashland Office can be reached by telephone at (606) 324-0516

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