Monday, October 27, 2008

Social Security: What's New?

As the seasons change, Social Security is undergoing a few changes as well. These past two weeks have featured two exciting changes in Social Security, including an increased COLA and today's announcement of the new Compassionate Allowances Initiative:
  • Last week, Social Security announced that Social Security and Supplemental Security Income beneficiaries will receive a 5.8 percent benefit increase in 2009. The 5.8 percent increase is the largest since 1982. The 5.8 percent Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA) will begin with benefits that over 50 million Social Security beneficiaries receive in January 2009. These benefits are based on a raise in the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W), which increased 5.8 percent this year. To understand how the COLA will impact your benefits, check out this Fact Sheet from Social Security.
  • Today, Social Security announced the national roll-out of its Compassionate Allowances initiative. This initiative will make it faster and easier for disability applications to be processed for people with specific cancers and rare diseases. The 50 conditions that apply are listed here, and Social Security will continue to add more conditions to this list. According to Commissioner Astrue, "The launch of Compassionate Allowances is another step to ensuring Americans with disabilities, especially those with certain cancers and rare diseases, get the benefits they need quickly."

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