Some families throughout Louisiana who receive food stamps and other federal aid will see decreased benefits in the new year following a federal cost-of-living adjustment to Social Security and veterans benefits in 2023, due to a federal cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) to Social Security and veterans benefits.
According to officials, the COLA is an annual adjustment calculated by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics based on fluctuations in the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers.
DCFS released the following statement Thursday about the federal aid changes:
"Monthly Social Security Retirement, Survivors and Disability Insurance (RSDI), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), and some Veterans Administration (VA) payments will be increasing by 8.7% as a result of the 2023 COLA. Monthly benefits for individual Social Security recipients will increase on average from $1,680 to $1,827 (more than $140 per month). The monthly maximum benefit amount for SSI recipients is also increasing by $73 (from $841 in 2022 to $914 in 2023). This is the largest adjustment in almost four decades since payments were increased by 11.2% in 1981. For some Louisiana households, the increase in income caused by the COLA will impact their eligibility and federal benefit.
Due to the COLA increase, 145,330 SNAP households (about 34% of all SNAP households in Louisiana) will face an average reduction of approximately $47.15 in monthly benefits, beginning in January. Currently, SNAP recipients receive Emergency Allotments, which brings them to the maximum benefit amount for their household size. Benefit reductions for these households may not be noticeable until Emergency Allotments expire once the Public Health Emergency ends. As their income exceeds the eligibility limit, another 1,414 SNAP cases will be closed. The COLA will also result in benefit reductions for less than 1% of FITAP and KCSP households.
The Social Security Administration provides the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) an electronic file detailing individual benefit amounts. These income adjustments will be made automatically to SNAP and FITAP applicants beginning in January 2023.
For households facing a reduction in benefits or the closure of a case, Louisiana 211 can provide information on how to obtain additional assistance. 211 links callers to vital health and human services in their neighborhood, such as clothing and food. Calling 211 is an easy way to receive information on obtaining assistance."
For more information about SNAP, visit www.dcfs.la.gov/SNAP.
For more information about the federal COLA, visit the Social Security Administration at www.ssa.gov/cola and the Veterans Administration at www.benefits.va.gov/compensation/rates-index.asp#cola.