The Legal Basis For SSA’s Cost Of Living Increase

We have received quite a few comments to the effect that President Obama will find some way to deny or reduce whatever COLA is paid, or that he was somehow responsible for there being no COLA the last two years. He doesn’t technically have the authority. I know, when has this stopped him in the past? But there would be a terrible political cost going into a Presidential election year that I doubt he would be willing to pay.

What do the applicable law and regulations say about SSA’s COLA? First, the law. I’ll start with some definitions from the law:

From Section 215(i)(1) of the Social Security Act, which provides the legal basis for Social Security COLAs:

Section 215(i)(1)(A)

“… the term “base quarter” means (i) the calendar quarter ending on September 30 in each year after 1982…”

Every year, the period from July through September is that year’s “base quarter.”

Section 215(i)(1)(B)

“… the term “cost-of-living computation quarter” means a base quarter, as defined in subparagraph (A)(i), with respect to which the applicable increase percentage is greater than zero…”

In other words if the current “base quarter” has a higher average CPI than the previous “cost-of-living computation quarter,” it becomes the new “cost-of-living computation quarter.”

Section 215(i)(1)(D)

“… the term “CPI increase percentage”, with respect to a … cost-of-living computation quarter in any calendar year, means the percentage (rounded to the nearest one-tenth of 1 percent) by which the Consumer Price Index for that quarter…exceeds such index for the prior calendar quarter which was … the most recent cost-of-living computation quarter under subparagraph (B)…”

In English, the “CPI increase percentage” is the percentage by which the CPI for the current “cost-of-living computation quarter” exceeds the CPI for the most recent “cost-of-living computation quarter” rounded to the nearest 0.1%.

This year we will be comparing the CPI for July through September, 2011 (the current “cost-of-living computation quarter”) against the CPI for July through September 2008 (the most recent “cost-of-living computation quarter.”)

One thing that Section 215(i)(1)(D) doesn’t specify is which CPI index SSA is to use for all these comparisons and computations. The Bureau of Labor Statistics publishes three of them, the CPI-U, the CPI-W, and the C-CPI-U.

However, the implementing regulations (20 CFR (Code of Federal Regulations) §404.272) provide that the COLA will be based on

“(t)he revised Consumer Price Index (CPI) for urban wage earners and clerical workers as published by the Department of Labor.”

In other words, the CPI-W is the applicable index for the foreseeable future. There is a provision that would base the COLA on a different metric, but that only will take effect when the combined OASI and DI trust funds are virtually exhausted, in around 2035 if the law is not changed.

What are the specific instructions to SSA in the Act? What does SSA do with it? According to Section 215(i)(2)(A)(i) of the Act,

“The Commissioner of Social Security shall determine each year beginning with 1975 (subject to the limitation in paragraph (1)(B)) whether the base quarter…in such year is a cost-of-living computation quarter.

Section 215(i)(2)(A)(ii) provides,

If the Commissioner of Social Security determines that the base quarter in any year is a cost–of–living computation quarter, the Commissioner shall, effective with the month of December of that year as provided in subparagraph (B) increase…” the benefit amount, the primary insurance amount, and the monthly payment amount. The amount of the increase will be the “CPI increase percentage” as defined above.

In other words, the authority is delegated directly to the Commissioner of Social Security to determine whether or not the “base quarter” is also a “cost-of-living computation quarter.” If it is, a COLA is due. The Commissioner shall increase the benefit amount, the primary insurance amount, and the monthly payment amount. The amount of the increase will be the “CPI increase percentage” as defined in Section 215(i)(1)(D) of the law. Note that the Act refers to December. The payment for December is the one which is received in January of the following year.

This is the law. For President Obama to change the COLA amount, or cancel it outright, would be a blatant violation of law, technically an impeachable offense. I just don’t see this happening.

I hope this reassures those who are afraid that somehow the COLA we have been predicting for months would be taken away or somehow evaporate.

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30 Responses to The Legal Basis For SSA’s Cost Of Living Increase

  1. Paul Alphonso says:

    Ever since President Obama took over as President,,, Everything went down hill. The poor people that is on S.S.I. is better off dead. This is very unfair to the people on S.S.I. . I only get $694.00 a month. How can a person live like this? President Obama Will never get another vote from me again. Thats for sure!

    • revenuer says:

      Hello Paul:

      I agree that this upcoming election has no really good choices. You do want to think carefully though before you cast your vote. The problems with the economy started with George Bush. Obama followed his policies and things got worse. The conservatives in the Republican party and the other Republicans who walk in lockstep with them are taking us down even further. They want to wreck the economy. They have promised to end Medicare, destroy Social Security, SSI, Medicaid and all other government programs we have used as safety nets.

      They are in session over the weekend because they do not want to offer help to the many Americans who lost their homes and livelihoods and the lives of their loved ones. The Republicans are trying to keep FEMA from answering their pleas for help.

      I feel a great deal of empathy for you Paul. Potluck and I are retirees. I retired on SSDI due to disability. It is people like me and you and all other elderly, sick and needy people that the Republicans have the most contempt for. If it were up to me, I would want everyone in this country to have food, shelter, health care and an income which would free them from fear and want. I know the Republicans won’t even begin to provide that. They say so every day. When asked on a TV news show on CNN what should happen to a hypothetical thirty year old man who was sick but had no health insurance, the conservatives in the audience screamed out that he should be left to die. Then they laughed and cheered. I saw the video clip. That is what they want for all of us who are not billionaires who can line their pockets.

      Again, please think very carefully before you cast your votes. Obama is not great but he has not sworn to divest us of all social programs. It is a hard choice, but who do you want in charge of your life? People who would cheerfully let you die on the streets and who mock you, or someone who knows his political life depends on maintaining our social programs?

    • Larry R says:

      I get 1015 a month and finally made the decision to move south of the border to Mexico. My $ goes a lot further, I have less stress and life is good.

      • revenuer says:


        I’m glad you found a solution which works for you and improves the quality of your life. I think it is kind of sad that you had to leave the US to do it, but this isn’t a particularly friendly environment unless you are rich. Peace and be happy.

      • Kevin says:

        I’m doing it too, except I’m headed for the Philippines. I’m a disabled navy vet on ssdi and va disability. I’m so very grateful for these benefits…but I’m not living the life I dreamed of or prepared for in college, for that matter due to chronic health problems.

      • revenuer says:


        We do know the feeling. This country and the ability of most of its citizens to live a comfortable life or realize their dreams is not the country I remember. I hardly recognize it. If you do leave the country Potluck said to be sure to purchase or keep your Medicare part B. Even though you could not use it outside the US, the penalties for not accepting it in the first place could be pretty stiff if you decided to return.

        I’m afraid I don’t know much about the health care system in the Philippines in terms of whether it is a nationalized system or one you have to pay for.

        Whatever you do, good luck and take care of yourself. Their gain would be our loss. I don’t believe in war, but I do believe that veterans have earned a much better life than they are receiving.

    • steve says:

      Blaming Obama is moronic. Over 8 years, Bush-Cheney screwed up the USA completely.
      Obama has had less than 3 years to try to fix the nation. The tea-party has been made things even worse. We’ll never vote for another republican again ever. [Hint: time to take a refresher course in grammar and capitalization].

      • revenuer says:


        I strongly recommend that you read or reread the comment moderation guidelines again. Please remember that in order to have your posts moderated you need to speak with respect and regard for the feelings of others. Opinions which differ from yours are not necessarily “moronic.” Many of them make a great deal of sense. Either way it is not up to you to characterize someone else’s opinion, call them out or try to force them to agree with you. It will not be tolerated. If you continue to post in this manner, your comments will be disallowed. This blog is not a free fire zone. We are tying to keep this a place where our posters can express themselves without fear of abuse, mockery or denigration.

        Now let me express my opinion of Obama. Bush and Cheney did a great deal of damage to this country. They ruined the economy, they involved us in two seemingly endless wars of attrition and they violated the Geneva Conventions which the US had signed in good faith. They are guilty of war crimes and domestic crimes and they have violated the constitution so many times it would be difficult to list them.

        Obama, however, has continued to follow their policies. He ran a campaign of lies and false promises of progressive changes. I voted for him based on what I could see of him and because the alternative would have been a vote for McCain. I knew for a fact that McCain was committed to the Bush agenda, but I had hopes that Obama might actually do things differently. I knew that we had been sold out the moment Obama said that he would not pursue Bush, Cheney or Rumsfeld for war crimes, and the sell outs have continued.

        Obama has had plenty of time to initiate positive changes in the economy, but he has been too busy walking hand in hand with the Republicans to remember that the Republicans did not elect him. The rich did not elect him. The American middle class elected him with great hope. We wanted FDR. We got Reagan, Obama’s favorite president or so he stated. Obama is one of the worst presidents we have ever had. He has done little or nothing for us and he did not start with a Republican congress. He started with a Democratic majority in both the house and senate and a large voter mandate to change to a more progressive way of doing business, but he couldn’t be bothered.

        What he did have time for is to create an economy where the Bush tax cuts were left in place after he promised to eliminate them. He provided a program to “help” people who were losing their homes called HAMP which was badly flawed and given to the banks to administer without any oversight whatsoever. That didn’t come until the still Democratic Congress forced oversight and investigated the process. It is still almost impossible for the average person to get mortgage relief. He continued by choice to follow the Republican model of letting the rich get away with paying no taxes while putting everything on the back of the middle class and poor. He was a sitting president. He could have spoken out with a great deal of authority but he chose to remain silent. If he were not fighting to be reelected he would still be silent.

        He also had time to go to court and get decisions which allowed torture to be used during interrogations. Even Bush didn’t try hat. Obama also got the authority to name anyone an unlawful combatant and to use rendition once he or someone designated by him had bestowed that status. As we found out recently he has also claimed for himself the power to murder people he deems to be the “enemy.” That includes American citizens. Maybe he won’t limit himself to people in foreign countries after the heat dies down. Once something is done it is always easier to get away with it the next time. He suspended Habeas Corpus a constitutional guarantee for those he names unlawful combatants as well. He had plenty of time to do that. He widened the existing wars into combat in at least four countries. He had time for that and to keep using the Bush military structure and private contractors. When we complained about his actions and deliberate inaction in other areas he called us “retards” and basically told us to shut up. Now he is trying very hard to get us to volunteer for his upcoming campaign. I think you can guess that the responses he is getting are less than favorable.

        People don’t like being sold out. We don’t like being lied to or being unable to find work or go to the doctor or buy groceries. Obama is the president who managed to mobilize huge protests in cities all over this country by his economic failures. I say good for them. If I weren’t old and disabled I would be with them. I see them as acting in my interest. They speak for me and for most Americans. I think their 99% assessment is probably right. They are giving me the hope that Obama stole from me. I will never vote for a Republican again which is the only reason I would vote for Obama. I would rather see him face a primary loss or have him disqualify himself as Johnson did. The big difference though is that Johnson cared a great deal about this country and its people. I knew that even when we were demonstrating against him. I never thought I would miss him, but I do. Johnson cared about something. Obama cares about nothing. A man without convictions is nothing but an empty suit.

        I am a great believer in personal responsibility. Bush is responsible for what he did. Cheney is responsible for his actions. Obama is responsible for both what he did do and what he failed to do. That is my opinion and it is just as valid as yours. Let me end this by telling you that I used to participate in a large Democratic forum which over a very short time became an untenable place for people who disagreed with Obama and who disliked his policies. They tolerated only people who agreed with his every word and every move. The people who did not agree with him or them called them “Obamabots.” I tell you this because I want you to understand that this is not an Obama board. We think for ourselves here. If you cannot live and let live or be polite and respect the rights of others to disagree with you, your posts will go straight into the Spam folder. We can agree to disagree and it is my hope you will post more respectfully in the future.

  2. Enzo says:

    Edited to remove names and analysis of another.

    • revenuer says:


      Your post violated the policy of calling out. Maybe you would like to go back to Comment Moderation and reread it now that Potluck has updated it and then restate your comment . Also you could clarify a little what you mean. Other than the mockery of another poster, it went right past both of us. Thank you for writing in, but please keep your comments within the established parameters.

      Everyone is entitled to an opinion and to state it, but not to state it at the expense of other posters. State your own opinion and agree to disagree. We are not widgets here. We want differences of opinions and ideas but they need not be at anyone else’s expense. Thank you.

      Edited to add remarks: I checked back on your other posts, Enzo, and I want to remind you that we do not reproduce conservative memes here. If you want to state who you as an individual intend to vote for that is fine, but we are not having ongoing stumping or promoting of teabaggers here.

      If you want to do that I suggest you go to the Free Republic. The next time I receive a comment which violates the comment moderation guidelines, your comments will not be posted on the blog. They will go to the spam folder. Generally we practice zero tolerance for comments which do not adhere to our parameters. I have given you the benefit of the doubt on this one but it won’t happen again.

  3. Dawna Lawrence says:

    I don’t understand how so many senior citizens and working class people support the Tea Party types. I am disillusioned with both parties, but as a senior who is dependent on Social Security(and I did work all life, never lived above my means and am debt free.) I never took government handouts, but I believed the amount I was promised on my yearly SS statements, and I actually could live quite well on that alone! I am very frugal and concentrated on being debt free by age 60 instead of 401k’s. Anyway, my senior friends who support the Republicans have a “they’re not talking about ME” attitude when they’re told these people want to take away “entitlements”-in spite of them openly saying they want to do away with EVERYTHING! I guess people believe what they want to believe!

    • revenuer says:

      Hello Dawna,

      Actually the teabaggers have less than 20% of support from all population demographics in this country. According to recent polls it is about 17% and falling. This is one of the most popular conservative memes. Read the article Big Lie #4 on the blog for clarification. It was carefully and judiciously researched by Potluck before he wrote it and it is still true.

      Your words “government handouts” I find troubling. Whether it is through religious conviction or simple humanity people need a community of support and care from each other. We funnel that through the government because they are in the best position to provide help on a large scale. We also do what we can personally to help each other if we are good human beings. Then along come the conservatives to try to make people be ashamed of needing help for whatever reason.

      According to them it is your own fault if you are sick and lose everything because of their insistence on for profit health care; if you become disabled and are unable to work or live your life without help. The Republicans have said that the disabled are not worth as much as other people. They said it to me in a debate I was having with them about stem cell research when I told them I was disabled and asked them point blank what my life was worth. Not much according to them. There was also a strong implication that I had brought my disability on myself. I have Multiple Sclerosis. I have had it for over 30 years and have lived through the loss of many bodily functions most people take for granted. Do you have any idea how I might have brought this on myself? No one else has been able to tell me. The closest they have come was to say that it was God, because I needed punishment. That I don’t buy at all. I am more of a “stuff happens” kind of person. I am also a Quaker and believe in a kind and merciful God who does not make adults or children sick or kill them to make a point. God helps us through our bad times and we learn and grow from adversity.

      The “government handouts” you refer to are safety nets and should help all of us to live healthy, productive lives. No one gets through life without adversity and if you think that asking for or taking help when you are facing adversity is somehow shameful you doom yourself from the start. FYI, I worked with my MS when I probably should not have. My husband and I needed the money in order to live in the carefully organized rich ride for free Reagan society. It probably made the illness worse, but I did what I had to do. Now I can get SSDI with my Federal Pension and avoid those pesky government handouts which were not available to me under Reagan anyway. They would have helped a lot, just as they would have helped a lot of other people.

      I am disgusted with both parties too, but as I keep saying I will not vote Republican under any circumstances. They have already stated that they want to destroy our Medicare and Social Security and Medicaid. They want to keep disaster victims who have lost everything from being helped or made whole by FEMA. They want to disenfranchise the elderly, the disabled the middle class and the poor. They say so every day. I am glad that you have made your life as smooth as you can and that you have had the resources and luck to do so. Many people do not. When your friends start talking about how they favor teabaggers remind them of the Debt Ceiling debate and how they would have let the whole economy go over a cliff to make another talking point. Refer them to Romney and Perry who constantly talk about eliminating Social Security and all other forms of government aid, while they get their money under the table from the corporations and the rich who don’t pay taxes.

      Be sure to remind your friends that the teabaggers are talking about all of us but if we stand up and push back it suddenly becomes “class warfare” against the teabaggers. The common theme here is that it is always all about them and no one and nothing else matters. Kind of like two year old thinking isn’t it? The only difference is you can usually reason with a two year old.

  4. Armando says:

    Believe it or not I’ve been getting paid exactly $800 for the third consecutive year and my daughter’s mom gets $229 for my nine year old daughter. With this years cola I will start getting $829 and by next year I will get over $850. I live in Mexico also and while I think I live a decent life with what I get paid, I know that a $1000 check would be of a lot of help, specially that the dollar/peso exchange rate has added $106.25 extra to my income (from 11.10 to 12.80) three times better than the cola raise, although I believe it’ll be temporary. I too once got paid $600 and things weren’t so great, but they’ve been getting better over the years. I was working in a family business and was doing very well but with the recession I stopped working in 2009 and been living with the $800. At first I had to stop a lot of spending but now I realized I was spending on unnecessary things and was in a lot of debt. Today, I’m debt free, thing that I just couldn’t accomplish while working with family and as to stress, I work out a lot and it helps me with that. I don’t get to see my daughter so often now, but before she was in a private school and I will pick her up after school every day and would work on weekends and Wednesdays, now she goes to a school withing her district. Looking forward to 2012, 2013 & 2014 cola.

    • revenuer says:


      I think you have done remarkably well with what you have. You have made the best of a very difficult situation, and I admire you for it. Keep doing what you’re doing and make the best life that you can. I know you have two posts up, but the second has technical questions that it would be better for Potluck to answer. He is the SSA and SSI expert. I know he will get to your post as soon as he can. We have been getting so many posts that we have blisters on our fingers. 😉 That, by the way, is a good thing.

  5. Armando says:

    One question I would like to ask is, before my daughter started getting SS benefits I would have 25% of my check garnished due to child support. I remember the amount that was being garnished from my check was $170 something. So I was getting paid back then $696 and I would only get net $522. Now that get paid $800, 25% of eight hundred is $200 and my daughter’s mom gets $229 which is greater than twenty five percent. I assume cola calculations do not apply accordingly to SS child benefits. So she gets paid more than cost of living adjustment. My question is why?

    • ssapotluck says:


      Thank you for writing and for your question, which is an interesting one,

      There are two or three things which are unclear to me from your comment, so I will have to make assumptions. If I get it wrong, please let me know..

      Assumption #1: You are still having 25% of you own benefit amount garnished for child support due to a court order to SSA which is still in force.

      Assumption #2: You are entitled to Medicare Part B and your premium amount is $96.40.

      Based on these assumptions, and what you write, your “primary insurance amount” (PIA), which is the total amount due you as a disabled individual, is $896.40. It appears that your “family maximum” (FMAX) is $1352.00. This is the maximum which can be paid on your record to all beneficiaries. In order for me to know your FMAX for sure, I would have to know the year in which you became eligible for SSDI and your monthly payment amount (before garnishment) which would give me your original PIA.

      You are being paid $600 directly (PIA of $896.40 minus $96.40 for Part B and $200.00 to garnishment,

      Your wife is getting mother’s benefits because she has a entitled child of yours under age 16 in her care. Because of the FMAX, the amount she gets is limited to $229.00.

      Your daughter is getting child’s benefits. I know this because the only way your wife can get benefits as a mother is to have an entitled child in her care. “Entitled child” means a child who is entitled to benefits on your record as well. Because of the FMAX she is also limited to $229.00.

      Under FMAX rules, the auxiliary beneficiaries generally receive the same amount.

      Neither mother’s or child’s benefits are affected by the garnishment, Only yours are. Since your daughter is receiving more from your SSDI record than she is from garnishment, you may wish to consider petitioning the judge to reduce the amount of your child support. I suggest you talk to your attorney.

      Again, if I got any of this wrong, or my assumptions are wrong, please let me know. You can do this by email, if you want privacy.

      Good Luck

      • Armando says:

        I was having 25% of my SSD check garnished because I never applied for child benefits since my daughter’s mom and I were separated. We separated six months after my child’s birth in 2002. So she went to the child support offices and opened the case. I went several times to the child support offices trying to explain them I couldn’t pay due to my disability and was then told to go to the SSA offices. I filled all the applications and took the necessary documents and my daughters mom only went once with me to sign some documentation and was offered a social security card to apply for benefits as well (she’s not a legal U.S. citizen or resident alien) but she said all she needed was benefits for our daughter. Months after she received a lump sum of over $5000 and a second lump sum of over $5000. Social security sent the second check by mistake but she kept both checks and now since she owed money to SSA she had to pay off from what she got from her monthly check. Since I was working in a family business I gave her the $174 still until she paid off the $5000. I retired in January 2001 but started getting benefits in August 2003 receiving a lump sum of over $10000 also. In 2001 I started with what I remember was $598 but it wasn’t until August 2003 that I started receiving $636.

      • revenuer says:


        You ask the best questions. Potluck will be doing some more research and computations and then he will answer your questions. It may take a bit of time because traffic is heavy, but he will get the answer back to you. I put up both posts and he can use the data from both to answer your inquiry.

      • ssapotluck says:


        The first issue to clear up is that of child support you pay your daughter and child’s benefits Social Security pays your daughter. They are completely unrelated.

        The $200.00 child support that you are paying to your daughter through garnishment from your Social Security benefits is being done through a court order. A judge ordered SSA to do this, and until he issues another order telling SSA to stop, they will continue to do so.

        Your daughter also receives her own Social Security check, as the minor child of an entitled beneficiary (that’s you.) She is entitled to this payment regardless of what the court does about garnishing your own benefits. She should be getting half your full amount, or $400.00. I cannot tell, from what you have told me in your comments why she is getting only $229.00. At this point I suggest you contact Social Security by telephone and ask the representative why your daughter is not receiving her full amount. Even though you do not have custody of your daughter, as the person on whose record her benefits are being paid, you are entitled to certain information about those benefits.

        The telephone number is 1-800-772-1213. It may be different in Mexico.

        You might also want to contact your attorney to see whether you could petition the court for a lower child support payment, now that your daughter is entitled to Social Security benefits on her own.

        I hope this answers your questions.

      • Armando says:

        At the beginning I had medicare part B but I had to cancel because I didn’t need it that much. I still don’t.

  6. My wife and I both receive SSI only. Because we are married we only get $505.50 ea. so we live on half of what most seniors live on. I did not have enough quarters paid into SS to get full benefits and my wife was diagnosed as paranoid schizophrenic at age 16. So the lack of these these COLA increases really hit us hard. Add to that our state has cut eyeglasses, hearing aids, podiatry services, and mental health services from medicaid. Now the Feds want to cut medicaid even further, and turn SS and I assume SSI into a state run program. I find it interesting that they wish to hinder our eyesight, hearing, mobility, and mental health in such a way. Almost as if to shut us up and keep us from voting or protesting.

    Well I just don’t see how we can handle any more cuts at all. I don’t see any help from either party with both of them spending money like drunken sailors on $12 muffins and Hawaiian vacations and really I’d rather elect a crackhead than anyone I have a choice of now. At least I would not be surprised where all the money went and anyone that smoked that much crack would die, a perverted justice, but at least some justice none the less.

    I don’t like either party, never have, never will. I wish there was a none of the above option that would allow us to leave congress vacant for an entire term(s). They have become obsolete in my opinion like some kind of twisted monarchy. Kings and queens who sell their votes, get rich at our expense, elect their own president, and turn our once mighty country into a joke.

    Social Security was designed to last forever and it would have. This should never have happened but once the rats found the way through the maze to the cheese it was inevitable. 2039 is fantasy, they will gobble up every last crumb up long before then, probably already have. The funny part is that even if they stopped paying out all the SS/SSI do you think anyone would see some big break in their taxes? Of course not, in fact I would wager there would be big tax increases to continue to feed the lifestyle of the Congressional Monarchy.

    Vote for these fools if you wish, try to pick the lesser evil, good luck there. Personally I would rather see them starve than starve myself waiting for one of them to find a conscience.

    • revenuer says:


      I can see from your post that you are very bitter and angry and considering your circumstances I sympathize with you. We are all lost in the dark maze this country has become. It is nothing that any of us asked for or wanted.

      I don’t have an answer for many of the things you are telling us. We each have to do what we think is best and try to make things different and better for ourselves and everyone else. I wish you and your wife the best. I wish I could do more to help you. I know I will think of you often and hope that you can find a way to get by. That is what it has all come down to. Simply finding the best way that we know to get by. Take care.

    • Armando says:

      Hope this can be of help understanding schizophrenia. Search on your browser: “schizophrenia as a high fitness indicator”. You’ll read about the beautiful peacock and the evolutionary paradox hiphotesis where we stand. I also have narcolepsy and the same drug I take treats both illnesses saving me money. Another doctor mentioned I have parkinsons disease, but I’m sure my doctor is taken care of that.

      • revenuer says:


        Thank you for sharing that information with us. It is fascinating. I know very little about Narcolepsy. I have only known one other person who has it. I think I’ll browse a bit on that as well and see if I can learn more about it. Potluck has researched your question and will put up your earlier post tonight. That was a very complicated bit of work. I hope it helps. 😉

  7. phil says:

    why not tax the credit card companies more they are making alot of money on the interest on the cards i had to use to make ends meet with out letting the jack up interest on the card to pay for a cola increase.

    • revenuer says:

      Hello Phil,

      Thanks for sharing your idea, but the law says that COLAs have to be based on the CPI-W. I think there are many better ways that it could be done. The way it is computed now does not benefit the recipients, but we are stuck with it unless we can get Congress to change the law.

  8. Panama Poppi says:

    I have several disabiliies and the mother of my 3 children has been getting benefits since birth. How can we get benefits for the children? SSA have denied our claims we did apply for the benefits for the children to no avail. In nevada they told her that there are no benefits for children because both their parents are disabled permanently. So do we need to hire an attorney?

  9. Verne says:

    Thanks for the informative article about social security law. I’ve been receiving V.A. compensation for over 30 years and remember another period without COLA’s under Reagan. I was under the impression it had something to do with the president’s position and not the CPI.

    On another note, I would like to see a CPI index reflecting what retirees actually spend money on. I was shocked to see what isn’t even considered. I think Debbie Wasserman-Schultz is sponsoring a bill to reform the CPI computation.

    • revenuer says:

      Hi Verne,

      You are very welcome. We agree with you and your assessment of the CPI. If you get any more details about a reform bill, please pass them on. It is something we would write to support and write about for the blog.

      I think what you are referring to is the presidents authority to suspend all COLAs during an extreme national emergency. It is hardly ever done if the CPI supports a COLA, but it is not impossible.

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