The new year is right around the corner, and with it comes several changes to the law when it comes to qualifying for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
The first change to SSDI is a slight increase in how much you have to earn in order to receive work credits. Depending upon your age and your alleged onset date, you need between 20 and 40 work credits to qualify for SSDI. You can receive up to four work credits each year.
In 2017, you’ll have to pay Social Security taxes on at least $5,200 in order to qualify for SSDI. This is an increase of $160 from the 2016 requirement.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) is also upping how much you can earn after your onset of disability next year.
If you earn above what’s called Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA), you are no longer considered disabled.
In 2016, SGA was set at $1,130 per month for non-blind applicants, but next year it will increase to $1,170 per month for non-blind applicants. For blind applicants, SGA is rising to $1,950, up from $1,820 this year.
For those already receiving SSDI benefits, Social Security is granting a 0.3 percent cost of living increase next year. On average, this means that most recipients will only see their monthly benefits increase a few dollars though.
The SSA is also increasing how much those on SSDI can earn per month before entering a trial work period, that could ultimately mean the end of disability benefits.
While any earnings over $810 per month in 2016 went toward a trial work period, that amount is being increased to $840 per month next year.
SSI recipients will also see a slight cost of living increase this year. However, there will be no change in SSI’s financial resource limits next year.
To qualify for SSI in 2017, an individual must have less than $2,000 in financial resources, such as bank accounts, land and vehicles, or a couple receiving SSI must have less than $3,000 in financial resources.