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Social Security Q&A: Cost of living raise expected

Published: January 6, 2008
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Q: I get Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. Will my monthly payments be going up next year?

A: In most cases, yes. Next year, Social Security and SSI beneficiaries will receive a cost-of-living adjustment, or COLA, based on the increase in the Consumer Price Index. For 2008, the maximum federal SSI benefit amount is increasing from $623 to $637 per month. (Some states add additional money to that amount.)

For more information about SSI, you can visit Social Security's Web site at www.socialsecurity.gov/ssi. Or you can call Social Security's toll-free number at (800) 772-1213, TTY (800) 325-0778, and ask for the publication, Supplemental Security Income.

Q: I am trying to save up for a car. I have $1,300 in the bank now and need a little more. How much cash can I have in the bank without affecting my SSI eligibility?

A: The resource limit is $2,000. Unless you have other valuable resources, this means you could save up to $2,000 before you would become ineligible for SSI. We generally do not count your primary car, the home you live in or certain amounts set aside for burial expenses as resources.

For more information, you can visit our webpage on SSI at www.socialsecurity.gov/ssi. Or you can call Social Security's toll-free number at (800) 772-1213, TTY (800) 325-0778, and ask for the publication, Supplemental Security Income.

This column was prepared by the Social Security Administration. For fast answers to specific Social Security questions, contact Social Security toll-free at (800) 772-1213.