by Melanie Brunson

The Social Security Administration has announced that for the second year in a row, recipients of Social Security benefits will not receive a cost of living adjustment in their benefits. This is because such adjustments are tied to the Consumer Price Index, which indicates the "Cost of Living." SSA is required by law to increase the amount of benefits paid out to beneficiaries when the "cost of living" increases. Because of current economic conditions, that index indicates that the cost of living has not increased during the past year. Therefore, the Social Security Administration will not increase payments to beneficiaries.

In the same press release, SSA also announced that earnings limits for recipients who have disabilities and are employed will also remain unchanged for the next year. People who receive Social Security Disability benefits due to blindness will be allowed to earn up to $1,640 per month, and the earnings limit for all other recipients of disability benefits will remain at $720 per month.

On a related note, it has now been one year since the Social Security Administration was ordered to provide correspondence in alternate formats to beneficiaries who request it because of disabilities that prevent them from reading standard print. We are interested in feedback, positive or otherwise, from any of you who have made your requests and received correspondence from SSA since your request was granted. Have you received correspondence in the format you requested? If so, was the alternate format document helpful? Please feel free to send us your comments either by e-mail to [email protected] or by regular mail sent to the national office address listed on your magazine. We will share your feedback with our attorneys, who are continuing to monitor the implementation of the court's order in ACB's suit against the Social Security Administration.

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