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Social Security recently announces increase in benefits for 2015

The Social Security Administration (SSA) recently announced a cost-of-living increase in Social Security benefits for next year. An increase for beneficiaries is intended to cover the higher cost of consumer goods. According to the SSA information, benefits will increase by 1.7 percent in 2015. Approximately 64 million individuals who receive disability and retirement income benefits will be impacted by the SSA's news concerning the cost-of-living adjustment. Individuals who receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) (disability benefits for indigent, disabled, blind or elderly individuals that lack sufficient income and resources) will see the increase at the end of the year.

Social Security is oftentimes part of the current discussion concerning government benefits; as such, SSA benefits continue to rise, rising 1.5 percent in 2014 and 1.7 percent in 2013 prior to the recent increase announced for 2015. Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits are benefits that many disabled individuals may be in need of. Based on SSA requirements, SSD benefits may be available to those with physical and mental disabilities that prevent them from working and earning and income.

To qualify for SSD benefits, individuals must have a medical condition that prevents them from working and is expected to last longer than a year. A variety of different types of medical conditions, both physical and mental, may qualify an applicant for disability benefits. SSA requirements vary depending on the program and benefits and different options may be available for those who both have an extensive work history and those who do not. While SSD benefits rely on work history as a requirement for eligibility, SSI benefits do not rely on the same work history and those in need, but without the necessary work history to qualify for SSD benefits, may qualify.

Because there are a variety of different Social Security benefits resources available for disabled individuals, it is important to have a strong understanding of SSA requirements for eligibility and to also be knowledgeable of the appeals' process. Knowledge of SSD information, which can sometimes seem complex, can be critical to obtaining benefits many families need.

Source: The Wall Street Journal, "Americans' Social Security Benefits to Increase 1.7% in 2015," Oct. 22, 2014

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