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2020 COLA Announced

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

SSA ANNOUNCEMENT

Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits for more than 67 million Americans will increase 1.6 percent in 2020, the Social Security Administration recently announced.

The 1.6 percent cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) will begin with benefits payable to more than 62 million Social Security beneficiaries in January 2020. Increased payments to more than 8 million SSI beneficiaries will begin on December 31, 2019. (Note: some people receive both Social Security and SSI benefits). The Social Security Act ties the annual COLA to the increase in the Consumer Price Index as determined by the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Social Security and SSI beneficiaries are normally notified by mail in early December about their new benefit amount. This year, most people who receive Social Security payments will be able to view their COLA notice online through their 'my Social Security' account. People may create or access their my Social Security account online at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount.

Read the full announcement here.

O/A IMPLEMENTATION

O/A should have adopted policies to  complete certifications in accordance with the following Handbook guidance.

4350.3 9-6. B.1.e

Benefits that include the cost of living adjustments (COLAs) are not available from SSA for uploading into EIV until the end of the calendar year. When processing recertifications with an effective date of January 1, February 1, March 1 and April 1, in order to complete the Recertification Steps outlined in Chapter 7, Figure 7-3, and provide the tenant with the required 30-day notice of any increase in rent, the owner must use one of the methods below for determining the tenant’s income.

(1) Use the benefit information reported in EIV that does not
include the COLA as third party verification as long as the
tenant confirms that the income data in EIV is what he/she is receiving;
(2) Use the SSA benefit, award letter or Proof of Income Letter
provided by the tenant that includes the COLA adjustment
if the date of the letter is within 120 days from the date of receipt by the owner;
(3) Determine the tenant’s income by applying the COLA
increase percentage to the current verified benefit amount
and document the tenant file with how the tenant’s income was determined; or
(4) Request third party verification directly from SSA when the
income in EIV does not agree with the income the tenant
reports he/she is receiving. (See Paragraph 9-15)
(5) All recertifications effective after April 1 must reflect the SSA benefit that includes the COLA.

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