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BATON ROUGE, LA — A federal cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) to Social Security and veterans benefits for 2019 will result in decreases to some Louisiana residents' Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, also known as food stamps, as well as benefits through the Family Independence Temporary Assistance Program (FITAP) and Kinship Care Subsidy Program (KCSP).
The COLA is unrelated to the current shutdown of the federal government. It is an annual adjustment based on changes in the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers, as measured from the third quarter of 2017 through the third quarter of 2018.
The 2019 COLA will result in a 2.8 percent increase in monthly Social Security Retirement, Survivors and Disability Insurance (RSDI), Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Veterans Administration (VA) benefits. The increase in income will affect eligibility and federal benefits for some Louisiana households. It will prompt an average monthly reduction in benefits of $12 for about 105,043 SNAP households (27 percent of total SNAP households in Louisiana) and trigger the closure of 570 SNAP cases where the additional income will push the household over the limit for eligibility. The COLA also will trigger reductions in benefits for 23 Louisiana households that receive FITAP.
The Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) receives an electronic file from the Social Security Administration that contains individual benefit amounts. Those income changes have been automatically updated on the SNAP and FITAP cases and will be effective January 2019. About 175 KCSP cases will require staff review to determine whether the COLA will result in any changes to those cases.
For more information, visit the Social Security Administration at www.ssa.gov/cola and the Veterans Administration at www.benefits.va.gov/compensation/rates-index.asp#cola.