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2022 Social Security COLA: Largest Benefit Increase in Nearly 40 Years

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Calculate Your Disability Benefit

Overview of SSA’s Cost-of-Living Adjustment

In 1973, Congress passed legislation that provides for an annual cost-of-living-adjustment (“C.O.L.A.”).  Approximately 70 million Americans are beneficiaries of Social Security Disability or Supplemental Security Income (SSI). As of today, almost all 70 million have already received their increased benefits.

According to the public records available on, this is the largest Cost of Living Adjustment in roughly 4 decades. The process used by the SSA to determines the annual C.O.L.A. is covered on the SSA’s website, which includes a historical table of each COLA since the first adjustment which took place in 1975.

The Largest Social Security C.O.L.A Since 1981

The C.O.L.A. almost always results in an increase in a recipient’s benefit on an annual basis to account for inflation.  By making this adjustment annually it ensures that beneficiaries continue to have the same buying power year after year.  The 2022 C.O.L.A. is a 5.9 percent for Social Security Disability benefits and SSI payments.

will begin with benefits payable to more than 64 million Social Security beneficiaries in January 2022.

This is the largest Social Security C.O.L.A. in almost 40 years (when the C.O.L.A. was 11.2% in 1981.) The Social Security Administration lists all of the past C.O.L.Ashere.

This change will be reflected in your December 2021 benefit amount, which is actually paid in January.  SSD beneficiaries will notice the 5.9% increase in their January statements.  Normally SSI payments are made the first of the month, but January 1 is a holiday so those benefits were actually paid on 12/31.

If you are eligible and receiving disability benefits, the first increased disability paychecks are being sent this January. If you are currently applying for disability benefits, you can expect to receive the newly adjusted if approved. If you are currently unable to work full-time due to disability, you might be eligible for disability benefits.

How to Calculate Disability Check with Latest C.O.L.A.

The easiest way to determine your own personal increase is to pull out a calculator and multiply your current benefit by 5.9%.  On average, SSD beneficiaries can expect a $75 a month increase.

The average SSD benefit went from $1,283 a month to $1,358.  I do need to mention that some of this increase could be used to pay for Medicare premiums.  The maximum SSI amount went from $794 a month to $841 reflecting an increase of $47 per month.

Read more about the Latest COLA here.

Interested in how much each state adds to federal SSI payments each month? SSA publishes annual reports about SSI/SSDI that are public record and available on


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January 20, 2022

Written by TC Newlin

TC is a disability litigator and one of the managing partners in the Social Security Disability Department at Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin. He has had the pleasure of helping thousands of people obtain the benefits they so desperately need.


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