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Issue Alert - RSDI/SSI Cost of Living Allowance

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Jan 09, 2009

Program Area:

Social Security

Issue Summary:

The cost of living (COLA) increase for benefits in January 2009 is 5.8%. Medicare premiums, patient pay amounts, and State Disability Assistance (SDA) provider pay rates have also increased.

Persons Affected:

Social Security recipients, adult foster care and county infirmary providers.

For More Information:

Center for Civil Justice 320 S. Washington, 2nd Floor Saginaw, MI 48607 (989) 755-3120, (800)724-7441 Fax: (989) 755-3558 E-mail:

Michigan Poverty Law Program 611 Church Street, Suite 4A Ann Arbor, MI 48104-3000 (734) 998-6100 (734) 998-9125 Fax (734) 998-9125 Email:

What's Happening?

The annual cost of living increase for Retirement, Survivors, Disability Insurance (RSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) will increase by 5.8 in January 2009. If a client receives food benefits, FIP, SDA or other cash assistance and there is someone in their household who receives RSDI or SSI, the increase may cause the household to receive fewer benefits.

Patient pay amounts will increase. This increase effects Medicaid (MA) recipients if they have a patient-pay amount and receive long-term care. In January 2009, the patient-pay amount will go up by an amount equal to the increase in the individual's Social Security.

Provider rates have also increased for adult foster care and county infirmaries that are housing recipients of State Disability Assistance (SDA).

What Should Advocates Do?

Advocates should ensure that their Social Security clients receive the increased amounts for 2009. Clients may experience a reduction in other benefit amounts as a result, these should be verified.

Finding Help

Most legal aid and legal services offices handle these types of cases, and they do not charge a fee.

You can locate various sources of legal and related services, including the free legal aid office that serves your county, at

You can also look in the yellow pages under "attorneys" or call the toll-free lawyer referral number, (800) 968-0738.