0905.012.80 Social Security Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) Disregard

IM-#76 December 23, 2014, IM-#114 December 13, 2013, IM-#100 December 7, 2012, IM-#10 January 28, 2008

Senate Bill 577 (2007) amended Section 208.153 RSMo to authorize the disregard of annual Social Security cost of living adjustment (COLA) increases for the Family Healthcare programs until the next Federal Poverty level (FPL) adjustment. COLA increases for all participants receiving Social Security Administration (SSA) and Social Security Income (SSI) are disregarded until the yearly FPL adjustments. COLA income increases for participants receiving Veterans Administration (VA) and Railroad Retirement (RR) continue to be adjusted yearly in January.

The Family Healthcare programs that are not mass adjusted for participants receiving Social Security and SSI income in January are:

SSA and SSI incomes for individuals in any FAMIS EU (Family Healthcare, Child Care, Food Stamps and Temporary Assistance) entered after the adjustment must include the pre-COLA adjusted amount for December 2013 and the COLA-adjusted amount for January 2014. FAMIS is disregarding the COLA amount entered for January's income for the FMH programs, and including it for all other FAMIS programs.

Example 1: Applications Made After COLA Mass Adjustment (December)

On February 8, Ms. Woods applies for Food Stamps and MO HealthNet benefits for herself and her son, James. Ms. Woods has been receiving Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) for five years. Her son James has been receiving SSI for two years.
Enter Ms. Woods' and James' pre-COLA adjusted SSDI/SSI income for the month of December with a verification code of HC or TC. Enter their COLA-adjusted SSDI/SSI income for the budget month of January with a verification code of CO. The Food Stamp EU eligibility determination budgets the current (COLA-adjusted) SSDI/SSI amounts; the MO HealthNet for Kids eligibility determination budgets the pre-COLA adjusted SSDA/SSI amounts.

Example 2: Active EUs with Participants that Begin Receiving SSA/SSI Between COLA and FPL Mass Adjustments

The Heather family is active in FAMIS, receiving MHF and Food Stamp benefits. The family reports that daughter, Joey, begins receiving SSI February 1. Enter the new SSI amount for the month of February with a verification of HC or TC.

Example 3: Exploring Prior Quarter for MO HealthNet (MHN) Applications Taken After the FPL Adjustments

On March 15, Ms. Johnston applies for MO HealthNet for Pregnant Women (MPW). She requests prior quarter coverage for her pregnancy. Ms. Johnston has been receiving SSDI for several years. Enter SSDI received for December with a verification code of HC or TC and the COLA-adjusted income for the month of January with a verification code of CO.

NOTE:  Food Stamp EUs subject to simplified reporting rules are required to report changes as described in section 1140.005.00 Definition of Simplified Reporting. Act upon changes reported following policy in section 1140.005.20 Changes Not Required to be Reported by Simplified Reporting Eligibility Unit.