The Social Security Administration has announced that retirees and disabled individuals will see a whopping 5.9 percent increase in their benefits next year.
The cost of living adjustment applies to those receiving both Social Security Disability and Supplemental Security Income benefits.
SSDI is calculated based on an individual’s earnings over their lifetime. Next year’s increase should mean the average SSDI recipient sees their monthly benefit increase by about $60.
SSI is a need-based program capped at a monthly payment of $794 in 2021. In 2022, SSI recipients receiving the maximum monthly benefit will see it increase to $821.
Cost of living increases have been rather low over the last decade, usually averaging just around 1 percent each year, but higher increases aren’t unheard of. At one point in the ‘80s, disability benefits increased by more than 7 percent in a single year.
Of course, the downside of a higher cost of living increase is that it’s largely driven by higher inflation.
In addition to the cost of living increase, the Social Security Administration announced that in 2022 it is raising the amount that it considers “substantial gainful activity” for non-blind individuals from $1,310 per month to $1,350.
SGA for blind individuals will go up to $2,260 each month from the current $2,190.
Substantial gainful activity is the maximum amount of money that an individual can earn from work and still be eligible for disability benefits. This increase will allow many disability claimants to earn more from part-time work while their applications are pending before the SSA.