Justice in Aging: Social Security COLA Adjustment, and more

Oct 18, 2022

Social Security Announces 8.7 Percent Benefit Increase for 2023

Here’s what we’re watching in Washington:

Social Security Announces 8.7 Percent Benefit Increase for 2023

The Social Security Administration announced that the Social Security cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for next year is 8.7%. This will translate to approximately $145 a month more for the average Social Security benefit for retired workers starting in January of 2023. The Supplemental Security Income benefit will increase by $73 to $914 per month.

While this is one of the largest COLA increases in decades, it is also a reflection of the inflation that has raised the cost of living for Americans across the country, in particular those at or near poverty who spend a higher portion of their income on necessities like food, rent, and gas.

Comment on Rule that Allows Medicaid Terminations During the COVID-19 Public Health EmergencyOn Thursday, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) Secretary Becerra issued a 90-day extension of the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE), meaning the PHE will not end before January 2023.

HHS has committed to providing states and stakeholders with at least 60-days’ notice before ending the PHE. This extension is especially important in light of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) decision to reopen the Trump Administration's interim final rule (IFR) requiring states to terminate Medicaid coverage for certain populations during the PHE.

As a result of the IFR, individuals who turn 65 years old or obtain Medicare, in addition to other populations, have lost Medicaid coverage for critical medical services, as well as home and community-based services, dental, vision, hearing, and other services not covered by Medicare. CMS is proposing to rescind the IFR and reinstate the prior protections established under law.

Advocates have until October 27th to submit comments in support of rescinding the IFR. In addition to submitting comments, organizations can join a Justice in Aging and the National Health Law Program sign on letter. To add your organization, complete this form by October 24White House Legal Aid Interagency Roundtable Seeks Input on Simplifying Federal Benefits Forms, Language, and ProcessesIn May 2021, President Biden issued a Memorandum on Restoring the Department of Justice’s Access-to-Justice Function and Reinvigorating the White House Legal Aid Interagency Roundtable to ensure that all persons in this country enjoy the protections and benefits of our legal system.

For 2022, the Roundtable is focusing on advancing access to justice across federal programs and benefits, particularly for marginalized communities, through the simplification of federal forms, language, and processes. The goals are to increase legal assistance and allow under-resourced legal aid providers to reach more of those in need by reducing demand where appropriate through simplification.

The Administration is seeking input from advocates who help people access federal benefits and appeal denials to understand where and how federal forms and processes most need to be simplified. To inform this process, advocates can complete a short five question survey by no later than Tuesday, October 18, 2022.

HHS Relaunches Language Access Steering CommitteeLast week, HHS announced they are relaunching the Language Access Steering Committee, which tasks agencies with reassessing and updating their language access plans to ensure meaningful access for people with limited English proficiency (LEP) to HHS-administered health and human services programs, such as Medicare, and activities. HHS also announced over $4 million in grants to 11 organizations to address issues regarding the availability of in-language resources in health-related settings. 

Learn more about these important initiatives in the HHS announcement.

Latest Annual Homeless Assessment Report Confirms Growing Concerns About Older Adult HomelessnessThe National Alliance to End Homelessness recently released the 2019–2020 Annual Homeless Assessment Report (AHAR) Part 2, which sheds light on specific issues faced by older adults, particularly those 65 and older.

Key findings from this report are that the percentage of people age 55 and older experiencing sheltered homelessness increased by 1.5% in 2020 from 2019; and that in 2020, one in three individuals experiencing chronic homelessness were age 55 and over, a disproportionately high representation of older adults.

Learn more about Justice in Aging’s work on housing and homelessness prevention.

Stay up-to-date on Justice in Aging’s COVID-19 Resources for Advocates Serving Older Adults webpage.