Agency on Aging

Social Security Administration Announces Increase in Social Security benefits

Social Security Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA) for 2017

There will be a .3% Social Security COLA effective January 1, 2017.

The SSI benefit amounts will increase:

  • The SSI benefit amount for individuals will increase to $735.00 ( For those who receive SSA, but who are not at the poverty level, their combined benefit with SSI will be $755.00).
  • The SSI benefit amount for individuals living in the home of another will increase to $490.00 ($510.00 for individuals receiving a combination of SSI/SSA benefits).
  • The SSI benefit amount for couples will increase to $1,103.00 ($1.123.00 for couples receiving a combination of SSI/SSA benefits).
  • The SSI benefit amount for couples living in the home of another will increase to $733.34 ($753.34 for couples receiving a combination of SSI/SSA benefits).

Unearned Income Disregard Increases

For January 2017, the department will increase the unearned income disregards for recipients of the State Supplement and related Medicaid programs (MAABD) by the dollar amount of the COLA for SSI recipients ($2.00).

  • The standard disregard will increase to $339;
  • The boarding home disregard will increase to $246.70; and
  • The special shared disregard will increase to $406.90.

Other January 2017 Increases

  • The Community Spouse Protected Amount (CSPA) will increase to a minimum of $24,180.00 and a maximum of $120,900.00. (As a reminder, this is the amount of assets a community spouse can protect if their spouse requires Medicaid Long Term Term services under a waiver or if they are residing in a nursing facility).
  • The Maximum Monthly Maintenance Needs Allowance will increase to $3,022.50 (the minimum remains the same at $2,002.50 and will be adjusted on July 1, 2017).
  • The special Categorically Needy Income Limit (CNIL) will increase to $2,205.00. The special CNIL is used as the gross income limit for State Supplement and Medicaid waiver cases, as well as for categorically needy nursing facility ( L01) cases. (So individuals on the CT Home Care Program for Elders, ABI Waiver, Mental Health Waiver or any other Medicaid waiver program can have up to $2,205 in income and qualify for benefits). 
  • The excess home equity limit for institutionalized applicants/recipients will increase to $840,000.00.

Medicare Savings Programs (MSP) – Social Security COLA Disregard

There will be an increase in the amount of Medicare Part B premiums for our buy-in clients (e.g. Medicare Savings Program clients). The increased Medicare Part B Premium amount will be $134.00 a month for our buy-in clients. The majority of other individuals’ Medicare Part B premium amounts will increase from $104.90 to $109.00 per month.

DSS does not change the income guidelines for MSP until the Federal Poverty Level is updated in March 2017, even though some individual’s income might exceed the MSP income guideline with the cola increase.  As a result, DSS does not count the new COLA increase from January – February 28 to ensure people are not removed from MSP and then reinstated with the Federal Poverty Levels change.