What is the CPI-W, and Why Does it Matter?

If you have looked into Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) it is possible you may have heard of the CPI-W. In fact, the CPI-W is essential for understanding how much you are likely to receive from your SSDI or SSI payments. But what exactly is the CPI-W, and why might it matter to you as an SSDI or SSI recipient?

Explaining the CPI-W

The CPI-W stands for the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers. In effect, it is a measurement of the costs of a number of goods and services that are considered essential for someone to purchase in order to maintain a basic standard of living. This includes, but is not limited to, the cost of rent, the cost of utilities, and insurance payments and premiums.

How the CPI-W Affects Your SSDI and SSI Benefits

The reason the CPI-W is important is due to something known as the Cost of Living Adjustment, or COLA. The COLA is an annual change in the value of Social Security disability benefits that is automatically applied every year to every SSDI and SSI recipient. The size of the COLA is determined by changes in the CPI-W, which is meant to reflect general changes in the cost of living.

How the COLA Uses the CPI-W

In simple terms, the Social Security Administration (SSA) re-examines the total amount of money every SSDI and SSI recipient receives and compares it to changes in the CPI-W. Based on that change, they determine the amount of money that must be added to each SSDI and SSI payment to balance out the difference. That is then applied as the COLA, which helps ensure SSDI and SSI payments keep pace with increases in the cost of living.

Why it Matters For You

This is important because it shows how the government keeps track of increases in the cost of living. It also means that you do not need to worry about your SSDI or SSI payments failing to keep up with increases in food, rent, or other basic expenses. In this way, the CPI-W is a useful measure to ensure that your disability benefits retain their value over the course of many years.

If you or a loved one need assistance applying for SSDI or SSI benefits, it is important that you seek the guidance of an experienced Social Security Disability benefits lawyer. The lawyers at Sullivan & Kehoe, LLP have over 50 years of combined experience between its attorneys and are available to you or your loved one in obtaining Social Security Disability or Supplemental Security Income benefits. To schedule a consultation with our New York Social Security Disability benefits lawyers, call (631) 823-7155.

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