Social Security Administration Announces COLA Increase
On Oct. 13, the Social Security Administration (SSA) announced the Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA) for 2018. The monthly Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits for more than 66 million Americans will increase 2.0 percent in 2018. The 2.0 percent COLA will begin with benefits payable to more than 61 million Social Security beneficiaries in January 2018. And increased payments to more than 8 million SSI beneficiaries will begin on Dec. 29, 2017.
This information is useful for all income certifications. All tenant income certification forms with an effective date after the COLA announcement must reflect this additional income. You can 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 or 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.
For example, to calculate a Social Security beneficiary’s income for income certification purposes for an early November move-in, which is before the effective date of the COLA increase, you would add two months at the current rate to 10 months of income at the higher rate. You can derive the higher monthly income amount with the 2 percent COLA by multiplying the current award amount by 1.02.
If you have already processed files for move-in for January 2018, it is recommended that you review the household income and apply the COLA to benefits issued by the Social Security Administration since it is a known anticipated change in income.