Jamey Helgeson: SSA announces cost of living increases for 2021

Published 6:30 am Saturday, October 24, 2020

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The Social Security Administration (SSA) has announced a 1.3 percent cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits in 2021.

The Social Security Act provides for annual COLA increases based on inflation as measured by the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W). Because the CPI-W rose modestly over the last year, the 2021 COLA will increase benefits modestly.

According to SSA, the average monthly Social Security benefit for a retired worker will increase by $20, from $1,523 in 2020 to $1,543 in 2021. The average monthly benefit for a Social Security disabled worker beneficiary will increase by $16, from $1,261 in 2020 to $1,277 in 2021.

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In addition, the SSI Federal Payment Standard will increase from $783 per month in 2020 to $794 per month in 2021. Important work incentive thresholds for Social Security and SSI beneficiaries with disabilities will also increase, including the Substantial Gainful Activity level and the Trial Work Period earnings level.

Steps to take when trick or treating during the COVID-19 pandemic

Traditional Halloween activities are fun, but some can increase the risk of getting or spreading COVID-19 or influenza. Plan alternate ways to participate in Halloween.

Make trick-or-treating safer: Avoid direct contact with trick-or-treaters, give out treats outdoors, if possible, set up a station with individually bagged treats for kids to take, wash hands before handling treats and wear a mask.

Wear a mask: Make your cloth mask part of your costume. A costume mask is not a substitute for a cloth mask. Do NOT wear a costume mask over a cloth mask. It can make breathing more difficult. Masks should NOT be worn by children under the age of two or anyone who has trouble breathing.

Stay at least six feet away from others who do not live with you.  Indoors and outdoors, you are more likely to get or spread COVID-19 when you are in close contact with others for a long time.

Wash your hands: Bring hand sanitizer with you and use it after touching objects or other people, Use hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol, Parents: supervise young children using hand sanitizer. Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds when you get home and before you eat any treats.

Enjoy Halloween activities and take steps to protect yourself from getting or spreading COVID-19.

Remember to always wear a cloth mask, Indoors and outdoors, stay at least six feet away from others who do not live with you and wash your hands or use hand sanitizer frequently

Decorate your home for Halloween: Carve pumpkins with members of your household or outside with neighbors or friends. Walk from house to house, admiring Halloween decorations at a distance.

Visit an orchard, forest or corn maze. Attend a scavenger hunt: Go on an outdoor Halloween-themed scavenger hunt. Visit a pumpkin patch or orchard. Remember to wash your hands or use hand sanitizer frequently, especially after touching frequently touched surfaces, pumpkins or apples. Go to a one-way, walk-through haunted forest or corn maze.

Other Ideas: Hide Halloween treats in and around your house. Hold a Halloween treat hunt with household members, Hold an outdoor costume parade or contest so everyone can show off their costumes, Host an outdoor Halloween movie night with friends or neighbors or an indoor movie night with your household members

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People within those networks may have an impact on you in a variety of ways. Service on the Board of Directors requires a deep commitment to our mission, as well as time and energy necessary for full participation. Learn more at https://bit.ly/3gwhU8N.

Upcoming Events

Tuesday: Virtual Program: People First Aktion Club, 6 p.m.

Wednesday: In-Person Program: Bowling League, 4 p.m.

Thursday: Virtual Program: Halloween Spooktacular, 6 p.m.

Friday: In-Person Program: Picnic in the Park, 4 p.m.

Nov. 3: Virtual Program: Crafts at 4 p.m. and Friendsgiving at 6 p.m.

Nov. 4: In-Person Program: Bowling League,

4 p.m.

Nov. 5: Virtual Program: Happy Hour, 4 p.m.

Nov. 6: In-Person Program: Dance Party, 6 p.m.