PRESS RELEASE – As a Social Security disability lawyer, Gabriel Hermann understands the difficulties that disabled workers and veterans face in paying their bills. Thankfully, the U.S. government has announced that Social Security disability and VA disability pension benefits will both increase by 2% in 2018. This is the largest cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) in five years.
For most disabled workers and veterans, the 2018 COLA, while welcomed, does not adequately address their actual cost of living. During the Great Recession, cost-of-living adjustments were tiny — roughly 1% per year.
Social Security Disability and VA Benefits Provide Important Financial Assistance to Workers and Veterans
About one in five Americans receive federal disability benefits and five years of non-existent COLA’s deeply impacted their daily life.
Eligibility for Social Security disability or VA benefits are outlined below:
Social Security disability and SSI: serious medical conditions will prevent a person from working for at least 12 months.
VA disability: A person was injured or became ill during active military service, were honorably discharged, and the condition directly relates to the service.
While this might seem like a relatively simple analysis, many people’s benefits are initially denied. The appeals processes are time-intensive and rigorous — and therefore require the help of a skilled Social Security disability lawyer or VA benefit lawyer. Once approved, Social Security and VA disability recipients receive monthly income and health care benefits.
Social Security, VA Disability Benefits, and the Consumer Price Index
The Social Security Administration and the VA tie their COLA’s to the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers. The Consumer Price Index is computed quarterly by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. It tracks roughly the cost of roughly 80,000 consumer items — including housing, gasoline, food, clothing, and education costs. Then, the federal government weighs the relative importance of each cost.
Many critics believe this methodology of tracking and weighing costs is inaccurate and is manipulated to produce inflation rates that are lower than reality. Therefore, while the government’s inflation calculation might report modest growth, the cost of living might increase dramatically — especially as housing and health care costs spiral upward.
Social Security and VA disability applications require extensive information and attention to detail. One single mistake can result in a denial of benefits. For this reason, it is crucial to work with an experienced Social Security disability lawyer from the very beginning of any claim.
Hermann Law Group Can Answer Any Questions
Hermann Law Group is a law firm of skilled Social Security disability lawyers and VA benefit attorneys. For decades, the law firm has represented clients in the New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut, delivering tireless advocacy, thoughtful advice, and emotional support during our clients’ federal benefit.