TN 17 (02-03)

SI 02005.010 SSI Computations - Title II/Title XVI COLA Coordination

A. Background

Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) coordination is a special payment computation that “coordinates” the Title XVI (Supplemental Security Income (SSI)) and Title II (Social Security (SS)) COLA increases. This special payment computation provides for COLA increases to be used in the SSI payment computation for the first and second months of a COLA increase. Section 1611(c)(3) of the SS Act gives SSA the authority for COLA coordination.

As a result of COLA coordination, the increased Title II COLA income for January and February is used in the SSI payment computation for January and February. This prevents an SSI payment increase in January and February followed by a decrease in March that would occur with the standard Retrospective Monthly Accounting (RMA) payment computation.

B. Policy

1. When to Coordinate

Coordinate the Title XVI and Title II COLA increases in the Federal SSI and Optional State Supplementation (OSS) payment computations as follows:

  1. January and February of each year beginning January 1984. See SI 02005.084 regarding COLA coordination and Mandatory Minimum State Supplementation (MMSS.)

  2. August and September 2001. Coordinate the Title XVI and Title II Consumer Price Index corrections. See SI 02001.020C.6.

  3. Coordination does not apply to the "eligibility test" in January and February.

  4. COLA coordination does not apply if the budget and computation months are the same.

  5. COLA coordination does not apply if the Title II income in the budget month equals or exceeds the Title II income in the computation month.

2. Income Subject to Coordination

  1. The recipient's own Title II income. COLA coordinate an individual only if he/she has Title II income in both the budget month and computation month.

  2. Any Title II benefit increase that will continue at the same amount (e.g., a change from widow (er)’s to retirement benefits that causes a new continuous Title II income amount).

  3. Increases due to Title II recomputations.

  4. Title II income used in windfall offset calculations (i.e., unearned income types “G” and “W”).

3. Income that is not Subject to Coordination

  1. A one-time Title II increase effective in January or February. See SI 02005.015.

  2. Title II income of someone whose income is subject to deeming.

  3. Title II income of an ineligible child in a deeming computation.

  4. The Title II income of the dependent of a sponsor.

4. Eligible Couples

  1. Use the combined Title II income of the couple for COLA coordination.

  2. COLA coordinate an eligible couple when the combined Title II income in the computation month equals or exceeds the combined Title II income in the budget month. For COLA coordination to apply, at least one member must have Title II income in both the budget month and computation month.

EXAMPLE: Mr. Smith, an SSI recipient, received Title II of $200 in Nov/Dec and $205 beginning in January. His eligible spouse receives her first Title II in January for $100. COLA coordination applies in January since the couple’s ongoing Title II of $305.00 is greater than the couple’s Title II income of $200 for November.

5. Other Considerations at COLA Coordination

  1. Use the January and February Value of the one-third reduction (VTR) and Presumed Maximum Value (PMV) in the January and February payment computations. (See SI 02005.001E.4)

  2. Use the Title II income increase in the calculation of blind countable income for January and February.

C. Procedure

1. To Compute the SSI Payment for January

  1. Subtract the Title II income in January’s BM (November or December) from the January Title II income.

  2. Add the difference to the BM income to determine the countable income for January.

2. To Compute the SSI Payment for February

  1. Subtract the Title II income in February's BM (December) from the February Title II income.

  2. Add the difference to the BM income to determine the countable income for February.

D. Examples

1. Title II Income Only

a. Rates

  • The Federal Benefit Rate (FBR) in 2001 is $531 per month.

  • The FBR in 2002 is $545 per month.

b. Title II Income

Nov Dec Jan Feb

$200 $200 $205 $205

c. Eligibility Test

Passes; Countable Income (CI) never exceeds FBR.

d. CI for January

$205  January Title II

-$200 Title II in November

+ 5  COLA increase

$205

- 20 General exclusion

$185 CI

e. Payment Computation for January

$545 FBR

-185 CI

$360 Payment

f. CI for February

$205 February Title II

-$200 Title II in December

+ 5 COLA increase

$205

- 20 General exclusion

$185 CI

g. Payment Computation for February

$545 FBR

-185 CI

$360 Payment

2. Other Income, OSS Involvement

a. Rates

  • The FBR in 2001 is $531.

  • The OSS level in 2001 is $182.

  • The FBR in 2002 is $545.

  • The OSS level in 2002 is $205.

b. Income

 NovDecJanFeb
Title II:$370$370$380$380
Earned :$500$510$520$520

c. Eligibility Test

  • Federal ineligibility --In January and February, CI exceeds the FBR. CI is $587.50 in January and February.

  • OSS eligibility --In each month, excess income is less than the OSS level.

d. CI for January

$370 Title II in November

+10 January Title II increase

                  $380

- 20 General exclusion

$360 Countable unearned income

$500 Earned income in November

- 65 Exclusion

$435

÷2

$217.50 Countable earned income

                 $360 +217.50 = $577.50 CI

e. Payment Computation for January

e. Payment Computation for January

$545.00 FBR

-577.50 CI

$ 32.50 Excess Income

$ 205.00 OSS level

- 32.50 Excess income

$ 172.50 OSS for January

f. CI for February

$370 Title II in December

+10 February Title II ($380) - December Title II ($370)

$380

- 20 General exclusion

$360 CI

$510 Earned income in December

- 65 Exclusion

$445

÷2

$222.50 Countable earned income

$360 + 222.50 = $582.50

g. Payment Computation for February

$545.00 FBR

-582.50 CI

$ 37.50 Excess income

$ 205.00 OSS level

- 37.50 Excess income

$ 167.50 OSS for February

3. Couple Case

a. Rate

  • The couple FBR in 2001 is $796

  • The couple FBR in 2002 is $817

b. Income

 NovDecJanFeb
His Title II:$310$310$320$320
Her Title II:$145$145$151$151
His union pension:$0$ 60$ 60$60

Eligibility Test – Federal eligibility; CI never exceeds the FBR. (CI $511.00 in January and $511.00 in Feb.)

c. CI for January

$455 Title II in November

+16 January Title II - November Title II

$471

- 20 General exclusion

$451 CI

d. Payment Computation for January

                    $817 FBR

- 451 CI

$366 Couple's benefit

÷2

$183 Each member's benefit

e. CI for February

$455 Title II in December

+16 February Title II - December Title II

+60 Union pension in December

$531

- 20 General exclusion

$511 CI

f. Payment Computation for February

$817 FBR

- 511 CI

$306 Couple's benefit

÷2

$153 Each member's benefit

4. Spouse-to-Spouse Deeming

a. Rates

  • The individual FBR is $545.

  • The couple FBR is $817.

b. Title II Income

 NovDecJanFeb
Eligible individual$250$250$262$262
Ineligible spouse$210$210$216$216

c. Eligibility Test

Federal eligibility (See SI 01320.400B.)

d. Payment Computation for January

  • BM is November.

  • Use individual's $250 Title II in November.

  • Use individual's Title II increase from November to January: $12

  • Do not use ineligible spouse's $6 increase.

  • Do computation in SI 01320.400C.

e. Payment Computation for February

  • BM is December.

  • Use individual's $250 Title II in December.

  • Use individual's Title II increase from December to February: $12.

  • Do not use ineligible spouse's $6 increase.

  • Do computation in SI 01320.400C.

5. Payment Computation for Recipie