Social Security payments on the increase

Published 5:00 pm Saturday, October 29, 2011

For the first time in two years, Supplemental Security Income, or SSI, recipients will see a 3.6 percent boost in monthly benefits in 2012.

The higher payments come courtesy of the automatic cost-of-living adjustment, or COLA, that’s triggered by law for all Social Security benefits anytime inflation rises.

More than eight million SSI recipients will begin receiving the higher payments starting Dec. 30.

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For an individual receiving SSI, the maximum federal benefit will increase from $674 per month to $698. Similarly, payments to couples on SSI will rise from $1,011 to $1,048 monthly.

This is the first time since 2009 that Social Security recipients will see an automatic increase in payments.

That’s because for the past two years, inflation dropped or remained stagnant and there was no COLA. Since COLA took effect in 1975, 2010 and 2011 were the only years that an automatic increase in Social Security benefits did not occur.

Getting over the hurdles for young adults with disabilities

Young adults with disabilities are less likely to participate in traditional rights of passage like going to college or living independently than their typically developing peers, new research indicates. In the six years following high school, just 55 percent of those with disabilities continued their education compared to 62 percent of those without special needs.

Moreover, 36 percent said they lived alone, with a partner or roommate, as opposed to living with their parents. That compared to 44 percent of those without disabilities who said they lived independently.

The findings come from a report released this month by the National Center for Special Education Research, a division of the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences.

It’s based on data from a 10-year study of more than 11,000 students with disabilities from across the nation who were ages 13 to 16 and receiving special education services in December 2000.

Researchers looked specifically at students who had completed high school by 2007 when the students or their parents were surveyed.

They found great disparities between the achievements of students with and without disabilities, but also noted significant differences amongst students depending on the type of disability they had. Students with hearing or visual impairments, for example, were much more likely to attend a postsecondary education program than those with autism or intellectual disability.

Similarly, while 71 percent of those with and without disabilities said they had a paying job outside of the house, the employment situation varied depending on the severity of a person’s disability.

Among those with multiple disabilities, autism or intellectual disability, only about 45 percent said they were working and their wages were the lowest of any group.


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