In the first substantial raise in years, the Social Security Administration (SSA) officially announced that there will be a 2% Cost-of-Living-Adjustment (COLA) for Social Security disability (SSD) benefits in 2018. Federal benefit rates increase when the Department of Labor’s Consumer Price Index (CPI-W) indicates that cost of living is on the rise.

While the CPI-W does not take into account the many hidden costs of living with a disability, the 2018 benefit increase will still help the millions of Americans struggling to afford food, rent and medical care. The COLA has not increased benefit amounts by more than 2% since 2012.

In 2017, the COLA only went up by 0.3% and in 2016, it did not change at all. The minimal to non-existent increase in Social Security checks leaves senior citizens and disabled Americans struggling to survive.

“If you polled seniors, 10 out of 10 would say the COLA is not keeping up with their costs,” Vice President of AARP Financial Security Gary Koenig was quoted as saying, in the Washington Post. For many who rely on Social Security benefits, health care is the biggest expense – and one of the fastest rising costs in America.

President of Social Security Works Nancy Altman was quoted in the same article, saying that this most recent increase cannot make up for past years of infinitesimal or no increases. “For many beneficiaries, even this small adjustment will be wiped out by increases in Medicare premiums and other health-care costs… It’s long past time for Congress to update the formula used to calculate the yearly COLAs so that it reflects the costs that seniors and Americans with disabilities face every day.”

It is crucial that we protect SSD and the rights of America’s most vulnerable. Despite constant and aggressive attacks from government leaders and lawmakers, the Social Security trust fund is working, and taking in more money than it pays out. We need everyone’s help to ensure that the fund remains solvent.

Help protect Social Security by contacting your representatives. Find your elected officials’ contact information here. Simply enter your zip code and click on any of their names to find their contact info.  Download this letter to email or send their offices.

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