Lump Sum Death Benefit

October 26, 2016

SSA provides a lump sum death benefits of $255 to over 800,000 survivors each year.  these survivors include certain spouses and children who were receiving benefits on the worker’s record or became eligible on the worker’s record after his or death.  The lump sum death benefits paid each year are expected to increase from $200 million in 2015 to $217 million in 2024.  SSA’s administrative costs for these benefits are roughly $10 million per year.

2017 COLA Announced Today

October 19, 2016

Monthly Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits for more than 65 million Americans will increase 0.3 percent in 2017, the Social Security Administration announced today.

The 0.3 percent cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) will begin with benefits payable to more than 60 million Social Security beneficiaries in January 2017. Increased payments to more than 8 million SSI beneficiaries will begin on December 30, 2016. The Social Security Act ties the annual COLA to the increase in the Consumer Price Index as determined by the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Some other adjustments that take effect in January of each year are based on the increase in average wages. Based on that increase, the maximum amount of earnings subject to the Social Security tax (taxable maximum) will increase to $127,200 from $118,500. Of the estimated 173 million workers who will pay Social Security taxes in 2017, about 12 million will pay more because of the increase in the taxable maximum.

Information about Medicare changes for 2017, when announced, will be available at For some beneficiaries, their Social Security increase may be partially or completely offset by increases in Medicare premiums.

The Social Security Act provides for how the COLA is calculated. To read more, please visit

Great piece recently in the Washington Post:


Service Dogs

October 5, 2016

When it comes to different types of Service Dogs, there’s one thing that’s clear: the base definition of a Service Dog. According to the ADA, a Service Animal is any dog which is specifically trained to perform tasks for a disabled individual that they would otherwise have difficulty completing on their own.  Types of Service Animals include:

  • Diabetic Alert Dogs
  • Severe Allergy Alert dogs
  • Visual Assistance Dogs
  • Hearing Dogs for the Deaf
  • Wheelchair Assistance Dogs
  • Psychiatric Service Dogs
  • Brace/Mobility Support Dogs
  • Medical Alert Dogs
  • Seizure Assistance Dog

Learn more about service dogs from and this article here:

Learn About the Different Types of Service Dogs

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