According to data released today from the Social Security Administration, the 68.6 million beneficiaries of the Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance (OASDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) programs will receive a cost of living adjustment of 1.6% next year, a decrease from last year’s 2.8% bump. The adjustments will commence on December 31, 2019 for SSI benefit payments and January 2020 for retirement and disability benefits. Since 1983, cost of living adjustments (COLAs) have been based on increases in the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W).
Of the previous 10 years, cost of living increases have been meager in comparison to previous decades, mostly because inflation has been relatively low. As a measure of reference the years 2009, 2010 & 2015 saw no increases and 2016 payments only increased 0.3%. However, in the past two years, as inflation has slowly risen, so too have COLA percentages. Last year’s increase of 2.8% is the highest since 2011’s 3.6% raise.
Additionally, changing is the income threshold for Substantial Gainful Activity, the determination definition used by the SSA to gauge a claimant’s ability level. For non-blind recipients in 2020, the new level is $1,260 per month, a jump from $1,220 in 2019 and $1,180 in 2018. The blind SGA level will increase in 2020 to $2,110, which is an increase from the 2019 amount of $2,040 and the 2018 limit of $1,970.
While the tax rates for the employed and the self-employed remained the same at 7.65% and 15.30% respectively, the maximum taxable earnings amount will increase to $137,700; an increase from the 2019 amount of $132,900 and 2018’s $128,400 ceiling.
According to recent data, 2,089,621 Georgians receive payments from these programs: 1,830,226 from the retirement and disability programs and 259,355 from the supplemental income program. The 2020 increases will be: