For 10 million Americans (according to the Social Security Administration), Social Security Disability helps to keep the lights on, the house warm, and food on the table.
Many of those receiving SSD have expressed concern and reservations over potential changes to Social Security disability in 2018, so we're here to help with a short look at what you can expect to see this coming year.
SSI Recipients: You'll Want to Read This
The biggest change in SSD is actually taking place within Supplemental Security Income, or SSI. A need-based program, SSI currently maintains a fixed benefit of $735 per month.
Beginning in 2018, SSI recipients will see their benefits shift to $750 per month, constituting the biggest increase in years.
For married couples on SSI, benefits will rise from a maximum of $1,103 to $1,125 per month in 2018. Recipients of Social Security Disability Insurance, or SSDI, will see a 2% cost-of-living increase in 2018.
Finally, recipients of SSDI currently seeing $1,173 per month will see a shift upwards to $1,197, according to the Social Security Administration.
Changes to SSD Payments for 2018
When it comes to those who qualify for Social Security disability payments, they'll see a slight increase in payment thresholds as well.
Legally blind SSD recipients can receive a maximum of $1,970 per month in 2018, up about $20 per month from before. For other SSD recipients, the maximum benefit will rise about $10 per month, to $1,180.
Changes to Substantial Gainful Activity Limits
There's one more big change to Social Security Disability in 2018 — an increase in the Substantial Gainful Activity limit.
While SGA involves some complexity and not every situation is equally applicable, SGA generally limits the amount that an individual is able to earn before they become disqualified from receiving SSD benefits.
The SGA was previously set at $1,170 per month, meaning that an individual who earned more than $14,040 per year would be disqualified from receiving benefits.
In 2018, that limit will increase slightly to $14,160 per year. While it's not a large change to the limit, it could provide some relief to certain individuals who are able to pursue limited employment but were hamstrung by the previous limits.
This year's changes mark the largest increase in potential benefits that disability recipients have seen since 2012 (when benefits increased about 3.6%).
The Best Part? It's Automatic
Changes are currently going into effect, and anyone with a pending disability application will see the increase automatically included with any 2018 backpay they received upon approval!
Our dedicated Social Security Disability team here at Bluestein Attorneys has experience in helping our clients to navigate the complex pathways involved in applying for and receiving Social Security Disability.
Whether you're in the initial stages of filing your claim, you're currently waiting on your decision, or your disability claim has been denied and you're looking into appealing the decision, we're here to help. Reach us by phone at (703) 779-7599 or contact us online at any time to request your FREE consultation.