Social Security COLA in 2018

Regulation | October 16, 2017 | by Colleen Bloom

Social Security and SSI will get a 2% cost of living adjustment (COLA) starting December 28.  HUD operators must select and implement a consistent method for determining resident income until EIV data catches up.  Details below.

Monthly Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits for more than 66 million Americans will increase 2.0 percent in 2018 announced the Social Security Administration.

The 2.0 percent cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) will begin with benefits payable to more than 61 million Social Security beneficiaries in January 2018. Increased payments to more than 8 million SSI beneficiaries will begin on December 29, 2017. The Social Security Act provides for how the COLA is calculated

Information about Medicare changes for 2018, when announced, will be available at www.medicare.gov.

Elect Income Verification Method For First Quarter of 2018

New income information is usually added to HUD's Enterprise Income Verification System (EIV) in December. For information about creating certifications for the first quarter when COLA increases are not reflected in EIV, refer to HH 4350.3 R1, C4, Paragraph 9-6.

“Benefits that include the cost of living adjustments (COLAs) are not available from SSA for uploading into EIV until the end of the calendar year,” explains Mary Ross in her October 15 HUDBlast which provided the following additional detail.

When processing certifications with an effective date of January 1, February 1, March 1 and April 1, owners must use one of the methods below for determining the tenant’s income.

  • 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;
  • 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;
  • 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
  • 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)

All certifications effective after April 1 must reflect the SSA benefit that includes the COLA.