http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/298979

U.S. Social Security says no cost-of-living-adjustment for 2011 Special

Posted Oct 15, 2010 by Kim I. Hartman
The US Social Security Administration announced there will be no-cost-of-living-adjustment in 2011 for Social Security payments, the second straight year without an increase.
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Social Security Administration
The Social Security Administration (SSA) said today that inflation was too low in 2010 to justify an automatic increase for next year.
The Social Security Act provides for an automatic increase in Social Security and SSI benefits if there is an increase in the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) from the third quarter of the last year a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) was determined to the third quarter of the current year. As determined by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there is no increase in the CPI-W from the third quarter of 2008, the last year a COLA was determined, to the third quarter of 2010, therefore, under existing law, there can be no COLA in 2011.
The decision will effect 58 million retirees and disabled Americans.
One West Virginia woman, Joyce Connolly, a retired widow, was very disappointed over the announcement and said "My property taxes have risen and are due now and without this increase I will be greatly affected. It may not sound like much of difference to some people but $55 more per month, for each of the last two years for someone living on a fixed income can make a significant difference."
Social Security Administration officials in Martinsburg, West Virginia said today when contacted by phone, that the average benefit is $1000. per month.
Connolly added, "This is the second year without an increase and together they would make an improvement in her financial state, which hasn't been very good since Obama became President."
Ernest Kisamore, another senior in West Virginia, said he hadn't expected an increase this year either but if they approve a stimulus payment of $250 in the November vote it will equal almost what he would have received with the cost-of-living-adjustment.
Other changes that would normally take effect based on changes in the national average wage index also will not take effect in January 2011. Since there is no COLA, the statute also prohibits a change in the maximum amount of earnings subject to the Social Security tax as well as the retirement earnings test exempt amounts. These amounts will remain unchanged in 2011. This fact sheet provides more information on 2011 Social Security and SSI changes.
More information on the SSA's COLA's can be found here.
The Department of Health and Human Services has not yet announced if there will be any Medicare premium changes for 2011. Should there be an increase in the Medicare Part B premium, the law contains a “hold harmless” provision that protects more than 70 percent of Social Security beneficiaries from paying a higher Part B premium, in order to avoid reducing their net Social Security benefit. Those not protected include higher income beneficiaries subject to an income-adjusted Part B premium and beneficiaries newly entitled to Part B in 2011. In addition, almost 20 percent of beneficiaries have their Medicare Part B premiums paid by state medical assistance programs and thus will see no change in their Social Security benefit. The state will be required to pay any Medicare Part B premium increase.
Information about Medicare changes for 2011, when available, will be found at medicare.gov.
For additional information about changes in the national average wage index can be found here.
House to vote in November on $250 payment to social security recipients.