Every year, the Social Security Administration announces the percentage by which beneficiariesâ payments will increase in according with changes in the cost of living. These increases, known as cost of living adjustments (COLA), have been rather small the last couple yearsâ1.5 percent for 2014 and 1.7 percent for 2013âcompared to the 2012 increase, which was 3.6 percent. For 2011 and 2010, there was actually no increase at all. Compare that to the 1975 increase of 8 percent, and the 1980 increase of 14.3 percent.
The Veterans Administration and the Social Security Administration oversee massive funds for disability benefits, so it makes sense that both agencies would routinely face scrutiny regarding their stewardship of those funds. Readers may be aware of the various criticisms against the Social Security Administration, including the problem of fraud and the increase in the number of those receiving Social Security disability benefits.
As readers know, this week we celebrated Veterans Day as a nation. It is common knowledge that disability is prevalent among Iraq and Afghanistan vets, particularly mental disability in the form of post-traumatic stress. Estimates of the extent of the impact vary, but according to a new study, PTSD is said to impact over one in six soldiers who served in the two most recent war efforts.
Social Security disability is an important resource for thousands of severely disabled Americans, but the program has been facing troubles for some time. Among these problems is that the Social Security Administration has been trying to deal with a major backlog of disability applications. At present, there are currently 990,339 applicants awaiting a decision from administrative law judges.