Affordable Housing Connections

PRESS RELEASE 10/17/2019

COLA Increase Announced

Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits for nearly 69 million Americans will increase 1.6 percent in 2020.

The 1.6 percent cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) will begin with benefits payable to more than 63 million Social Security beneficiaries in January 2020. Increased payments to more than 8 million SSI beneficiaries will begin on December 31, 2019. (Note: some people receive both Social Security and SSI benefits).

Average Retiree Payment

At present, the average retiree gets $1,460 a month in Social Security benefits. But because recipients will be getting a 1.6% cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) next year, that figure will rise to $1,483 a month. This means that the average senior will get $17,800 in benefits for the year.

Calculation Example

$1,460 X 1.6% = $23.36 more per month

$1460 + $23.36 = $1483.36 per month

New Monthly SSA Rate Effective 01/01/2020 = $1,483.36

Read more about the Social Security Cost-Of-Living adjustments for 2020.

HSG Notice 16-09 Streamlining Administrative Regulations

AHC Suballocator Compliance Manuals

Optional streamlined income determination for fixed-income source at annual income recertification. Owners may use a streamlined income determination to adjust a family’s income according to the percentage of a family’s unadjusted income that is from fixed income as follows:

  • When 90 percent or more of a family’s unadjusted income consists of fixed income, owners must apply a Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) to the family’s fixed income sources, provided that the family certifies both that 90 percent or more of their unadjusted income is fixed income and that their sources of fixed income have not changed from the previous year. Owners may accept a self-certification by the tenant to adjust income for non-fixed sources.
  • When less than 90 percent of a family’s unadjusted income consists of fixed income, owners must apply a COLA to each of the family’s sources of fixed income. Owners must verify all nonfixed income sources using regular verification methods.

The following are fixed income sources eligible for the streamlined approach:

• Social Security, Supplemental Security Income, Supplemental Disability Insurance;

• Federal, state, local or private pension plans;

• Annuities or other retirement benefit programs, insurance policies, disability or death benefits, or other similar types of periodic receipts; or

• Any other source of income subject to adjustment by a verifiable COLA or current rate of interest (e.g., Veteran’s Administration (VA) Disability, TANF, federal pensions).

The current COLA or rate of interest specific to the fixed source of income must be used in order to adjust the income amount. Verification of the COLA or rate of interest must be obtained from a public source or through tenant-provided, third party generated documentation and a copy must be placed in the tenant file. If no such verification is available, this streamlined process cannot be used and regular, third-party verification will be required.

This streamlined process can only be used for two years following regularly verified income and only for the sources described above. Every third year, third party verification must be obtained.