A proposed new rule for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) calculation formula will change the way the Social Security Administration (SSA) calculates cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) for Social Security benefits.
Changes in the SSI Calculation Formula
COLAs are intended to assist Social Security benefits in keeping up with inflation. Currently, the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) is being used by the SSA to calculate COLAs.
But the proposed regulation published in the Federal Register in February would remove food from the computation of in-kind support and maintenance (ISM), as it is considered an unearned income. It eliminates the requirement for SSI applicants and beneficiaries to disclose information about their food costs for the agency to consider in its ISM calculations.
However, it’s important to note that the proposed rule is just that — a proposal. It would need to go through a public comment period and be finalized by the SSA before it goes into effect. Additionally, the rule would only apply to future COLAs, not retroactively to past years.
What is the New SSI Calculation Formula?
Go Banking Rates reported that the new monthly payment is calculated by deducting “countable income” from the federal benefit rate (FBR), which is the monthly maximum federal SSI payment, once a claimant is judged to be qualified for SSI.
According to the SSA’s Federal Register proposal, the FBR for 2023 is $914 per single person and $1,371 for an eligible person with an eligible spouse. After the first $65 earned each month, a recipient’s SSI compensation is typically cut by 50 cents for every $1 earned.
The agency wants to amend the regulation to improve the application, adjudication, compliance, and understanding of its regulations. They emphasized the importance of promoting equality by not disadvantaging an already vulnerable group when they receive food aid.