The Social Security Disability program does not stay the same year to year. Every fall, the Social Security Administration (SSA) announces the many small changes that will take effect on January 1 the following year. For example, there is an annual cost-of-living adjustment that increases the amount of monthly benefits disability applicants will receive if they are approved for benefits.
Below, learn more about some of the most significant changes to the Social Security Disability program for 2021. If you have any questions about these changes or your application for benefits, feel free to contact Schmidt Kramer for a free consultation. We have helped many disability applicants obtain benefits.
Our Harrisburg Social Security Disability lawyers work on contingency, which means no upfront fees for our services.
Increases in Monthly Benefits
Every year, the cost of goods and services tends to go up, at least a little bit. Fortunately, the Social Security Administration accounts for this and makes a cost of living adjustment (COLA) to monthly benefits. The COLA is done to try to ensure disability recipients can buy just as much with their benefits as they did this year. The SSA reviews the consumer price index to help determine an appropriate increase.
In 2021, approximately 70 million people who receive Social Security Disability benefits, including Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, will see their benefits increase by about 1.3 percent. This is just below the average annual increase the SSA has made over the last 10 years (1.4 percent).
Next year, the average monthly payout for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) recipients will increase from $1,261 to $1,277. The average monthly payout for SSI benefits for individuals will increase from $783 per month to $794 per month. The average monthly payment will increase from $1,175 to $1,191 for couples.
The substantial gainful activity (SGA) limit is a limit on the amount of income someone can earn and continue to be eligible for federal disability benefits.
Next year, the SGA limit for non-blind applicants to the SSDI or SSI program increases from $1,260 per month to $1,310 per month. For blind applicants, the SGA limit increases from $2,110 per month to $2,190 per month.
The SSA has something called trial work periods, during which SSDI recipients can test their ability to return to work without it affecting their eligibility for benefits.
The SGA limit for those taking part in this program in 2021 will increase to $940 from $910. That means any months where the applicant earns more than $940 is considered one month for the purposes of a trial work program.
SSI Student Income Exclusion
Students who are under the age of 22, going to school full-time and receiving SSI benefits may qualify for the earned income exclusion. Next year, the exclusion applies to the first $1,930 of income, which is an increase of $30 compared to last year. The annual limit for this exclusion goes up $100 in 2021 to $7,770.
Need Help with Your Application?
Whether you have already applied and been denied or are unsure if you may be eligible, our licensed attorneys are ready to review your situation. We have a proven track record of helping people with disabilities obtain benefits from the Social Security Disability program.
Learn more about how we may be able to assist you. Call (717) 888-8888 today.