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Social Security: 1.5% COLA Increase for 2014

by Published On: Nov 06, 2013
Social Security

The Social Security Administration announced that 2014 cost-of-living-adjustment (COLA) will be 1.5%. Beneficiaries will begin seeing the increase in their checks in January. 

Because of system design features, EIV will not reflect the increase until late in 2013. Until the EIV system is updated, owners have options on how to incorporate 2014 COLA increases in tenant certifications.  

According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Occupancy Handbook 4350.3 Revision 1, Change 4, Paragraph 9-6:

Benefits that include the cost of living adjustments (COLA) are not available from SSA for uploading into EIV until the end of the calendar year.

When processing recertifications with an effective date of January 1, February 1, March 1 and April 1, in order to complete the Recertification Steps outlined in Chapter 7, Figure 7-3, and provide the tenant with the required 30-day notice of any increase in rent, the owner must use one of the methods below for determining the tenant's income.

  1. Use the benefit information reported in EIV that does not include the COLA as third party verification as long as the tenant confirms that the income data in EIV is what he/she is receiving;
  2. Use the SSA benefit, award letter or Proof of Income Letter provided by the tenant that includes the COLA adjustment if the date of the letter is within 120 days from the date of receipt by the owner;
  3. Determine the tenant's income by applying the COLA increase percentage to the current verified benefit amount and document the tenant file with how the tenant's income was determined;or
  4. Request third party verification directly from SSA when the income in EIV does not agree with the income the tenant reports he/she is receiving. (See Paragraph 9-15)
  5. All recertifications effective after April 1 must reflect the SSA benefit that includes the COLA.

Mary Ross reminds property managers that they have the following choices when using EIV to verify Social Security income:

  • Use the SSA gross income amount reflected in EIV for certifications effective before April 1, 2014.
  • Print the EIV Income report and add the 1.5% increase to the income amount reflected in EIV.
  • Obtain a new award/benefit letter from the resident and use the benefit letter as verification of the income. 

She further recommends that owners "for completed certifications effective November 1, do not correct the certifications to reflect the COLA increase. In this case, you would not have time to provide a 30-day rent increase notice. For completed certifications effective December 1, change the income amount to reflect the increase only if you can provide a 30-day rent increase notice. However, there is no requirement to correct those certifications to reflect the COLA increase."

Medicare Part B Premiums

Meanwhile, Medicare Part B premiums ($104.90) and deductibles ($147) will not change for 2014 according to Medicare.gov.

 



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