Reminder about Social Security COLAs and Medicaid Eligibility

This year, people getting Social Security benefits received a 3.2 percent Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA) increase in their monthly benefits. Because people start to receive their COLAs before the federal poverty income guidelines are updated and announced each year, Medicaid has a rule about when to start counting the new COLA amounts for eligibility purposes. For many categories of Medicaid, the new COLA amounts should not be counted until March 2024.

Each year, PHLP hears from people whose Medicaid benefits have been reduced or terminated because the County Assistance Office (CAO) mistakenly counted the Social Security COLA too soon. People who have had this happen should appeal immediately and ask the CAO to reinstate their benefits based on recent guidance issued to the CAO’s that explains the rule described above.

People who need help with any eligibility problem caused by the CAO mistakenly counting their COLA are encouraged to contact their local legal aid program or PHLP’s Helpline at 1-800-274-3258.