The Social Security Administration confirmed that SS benefits will increase by 5.9% for nearly 70 million Americans in 2022. The news comes as the rate of inflation increased to 6.8% in 2021, its highest 12-month increase since 1982, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

According to the Social Security and Medicare policy analyst at the Senior Citizens League, Mary Johnson, recepients won’t see the full financial impact of high inflation on SS income until 2023, but low-income programs might end up with lower benefit amounts.

“If income is right on the borderline, and a high COLA is received, that potentially could cause trims to benefits from programs,” said Johnson. “Some individuals might lose access to certain low-income benefits altogether because the COLA boosts their income over the limit.”

How does extra Social Security income affect SNAP recipients?

Low-income programs like SNAP, Medicare Extra Help, and rental assistance have intricate eligibility requirements and income restrictions regulated in relation to a percentage of the federal poverty level. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) adjusts the SNAP max allotments, deductions and income eligibility standards at the start of each federal fiscal year.

The federal poverty line usually stays on track with COLA, but 2021 could result in less benefits for SNAP recipients becase the COLA grew at a faster rate than the Consumer Price Index for Urban Consumers (CPI-U), according to Johnson.

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