Fair COLA Increase needed ASAP for SSDI/SSI Disability Recipients

Fair COLA Increase needed ASAP for SSDI/SSI Disability Recipients

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Angel Kristine started this petition to U.S. Senate and

Recipients of any Social Security related benefits were already struggling to eke through life with meager "$4.96 per hour" benefits, from incorrectly calculated COLA, when the COVID Pandemic arrived. Last year's COLA of 1.3%, which added approximately $4 p/month starting Jan. 2021 calculating to the equivalent of approx. $5.09 per hour, was not enough to live on in todays economy! Sadly, the "largest COLA increase in decades" for 2022, of only $20 PER MONTH, is STILL INHUMANELY BELOW FEDERAL MINUMUM WAGE & NOT a LIVEABLE amount

Accurate COLA increases cannot be calculated with the current formula, especially during the continuing COVID Pandemic. Food, housing, utility & essential costs have drastically risen since COVID's arrival in 2020 and continue to skyrocket, getting worse now that the Delta Variant has arrived & is wreaking havoc across our nation. People are going hungry, being rendered homeless, having severe mental health crisis, & having to choose between eating and taking their required medications vs. keeping a roof over their heads, during a Pandemic.

A properly calculated increase must be applied with immediate effect using a new "Pandemic COLA Formula", in order to allow consideration for financial and drastic economic changes during this - and any other - Pandemic crisis. 

The current calculation formula, which is a comparison of previously approved COLA's to determine an "average" + a nationwide income average, is neither accurate nor efficient! This is because of the drastic COLA increase due to many being rendered jobless in 2020 (NO more INCOME)Housing costs have doubled or, in some areas (like mine), are now more than double. Grocery costs have risen 25-100% (item & area specific, but this is mostly accurate for the nation as a whole). Given the loss of most household incomes and the continued swift, rising costs for housing and goods, using the current COLA calculation formula is egregiously and dangerously flawed. A new SSI/SSDI benefit amount must be calculated correctly & put into place, immediately. Below is a bit of background, and then the startling facts by-the-numbers.

 I kept detailed notes (my notebook is overflowing) during my search for decent housing over the past 4 years. The tremendous rise in rental costs is both jaw dropping and heartwrenching. Rental costs began rising swiftly in my area in 2017, due to prejudicial gentrification. Like many other states, due to NC. NOT having anything in place to prevent egregious rental increases, what used to rent for $650 began renting for $850. It kept rising sharply and steadily and is now skyrocketing out of control thanks to financial strains on Landlords from the Pandemic. Thankfully, in late 2020, I finally found a new home for just over $300 more p/month than the condemnable home I was living in. It was the one of the lowest priced on the rental market at the time and, since I am lucky enough to have a fully employed roommate, I grabbed it.

Thank God I did because thanks to the COVID Pandemic average rental costs have doubled and tripled here in NC and across our nation, with most landlords seeking to recouperate their losses off the backs of their tenants. Homes similar to this one are now renting for double or more the rent I pay per the lease I signed in Dec. 2020. This is double or more rent prices within 8 MONTHS! What used to rent for $650 NOW rents for $1300 or more. It's a horrific domino effect caused by each Landlord's own burdens (or greed due to no rent increase-control) and SSI/SSDI recipients CANNOT SURVIVE on current benefit amounts in this COVID Pandemic affected climate!

The breakdown of FACTS:

  • The maximum SSI benefit per month is only $841 ($5.09 p/hr., calculated by a 40 hrs. p/week p/mo formula. Federal minimum wage is $7.95 p/hr.)
  • Maximum AVERAGE SSDI benefit paid is only $800-$1400 per month, even though the maximum calculable benefit in 2020 was $3011 p/month.
  • Rents are currently $900 or more, and grocery costs nearly doubled or more, across the nation
  • Imagine having only $841 per month to pay for rent, food, medications, utilities, and other necessities (not 'luxuries' such as a phone line, car, et al). It is 100% INHUMANE to ask SSI/SSDI recipients to do so if you wouldn't, or know you couldn't, do it yourself.
  • In North Carolina, nchousing.org stated: in the current rental market residents must work 90+ hrs. PER WEEK in order to afford JUST THE RENT on a modest 2 bedroom apartment, going by the $7.95 MINIMUM WAGE. (SSI recipients only receive the equivalent of just $5.09 p/hour)
  • The improperly calculated current SSI/SSDI benefits are directly part of the cause of the sharp increase in homelessness, health issues, mental health crisis and massive strain on States assistance agencies and their available funds.
  • COLA must be FAIRLY adjusted per ACTUAL current COLA - NOT calculated using false data & misleading information as the current formula instructs -  because the average countrywide income is NOT $54,000+ anymore and past COLA's are NOT APPLICABLE due to the drastic economic impacts caused by the COVID/Delta Variant Pandemic (which has no end in sight at this time).

I calculate the current Pandemic COLA increase NEED to be at least $600.00 per month per SSI/SSDI Recipient receiving less than $1800 p/month. Therefore, the COLA must be ADJUSTED ACCORDINGLY by $600 per month with IMMEDIATE EFFECT, & all future COLA's be temporarily adjusted per a "Pandemic COLA Formula" until COVID & it's Delta Variant are no longer any threat. We respecfully implore you to help SSI/SSDI recipients to truly LIVE & NOT SUFFER any longer


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