No Social Security Cost of Living Increase for 2016

November 16, 2015

For only the third time in 40 years, there will be no cost of living (COLA) increase for Social Security beneficiaries receiving old age and retirement benefits and those receiving disability benefits. However, depending on how you pay for it, the cost for your Medicare Part B premium could jump up by a significant amount.

If you’re receiving Social Security benefits, your monthly check will remain flat at least until 2017. Social Security COLAs are tied to the Consumer Price Index, which was essentially unchanged for the 12 months ending in September.

The lack of a COLA adjustment will be somewhat offset by no increase in Medicare Part B premiums for most Medicare beneficiaries. Under a “hold harmless” provision in federal law, Social Security checks cannot be reduced when Medicare’s Part B premiums increase. This means, if there is no COLA increase, then Medicare premiums cannot go up for those who have their Medicare premiums deducted from their Social Security checks. So for about 70% of Medicare beneficiaries their Part B premiums will remain at $104.90 per month.

The news is not so good for that other 30% who pay their Medicare Part B premiums out-of-pocket and are not covered under the “hold harmless” provision. To make up for increased medical costs, their Medicare Part B premiums were originally forecast to soar by more than 50%. However, provisions included in the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 hammered out between the White House and Congressional leaders at the end of October limited the impact of this increase to about 15%.

If you’re thinking of applying for Social Security Disability benefits or need help appeal your denial, let our Chicago-area disability attorneys help. Contact us today.