The Social Security Administration (SSA) adjusts the amounts of benefits paid to those who receive Social Security Disability on an annual basis. This includes Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). The SSA refers to this benefit increase as a cost of living adjustment (COLA).
In January 2023, SSDI benefits increased by8.7%through COLA. While this increase fails to keep up with the current inflation rate, it’s still good news for those who depend on SSDI. COLA increases help social security recipients stay afloat and afford the necessities everyone needs.
Keep reading to learn more about the impact of 2023 Cola on Social Security Disability.
The Cost of Living Adjustment Affects Both SSDI and SSI
The Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) is a vital measure that tracks changes in the price of consumer goods and is applied to various Social Security benefit amounts, including Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments.
A Social Security Disability lawyerfrom Pilzer Klein can help you understand your eligibility for these increased benefits. For now, let’s dive into some of the significant changes that went into effect at the beginning of 2023:
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SSDI Benefit Increases
According to the SSA, SSDI provides essential financial support to approximately nine million workers. The SSA announced last year that the 2023 COLA would raise the average monthly SSDI benefit for disabled workers by $119, increasing it from $1,364 to $1,483.
Like Social Security benefits for those of retirement age, SSDI comes from payroll tax revenue that goes into Social Security’s trust funds. Eligibility and benefit amounts are based on a worker’s record of past earnings.
Over one million Americans also receive SSDI based on the earnings record of a former spouse, disabled spouse, or parent. For a disabled person with a spouse and at least one child, the average collective benefit increased in 2023 from $2,407 per month to $2,616.
While this is good news for applicants, many disability applicationsare denied the first time, and there are often hurdles to overcome during the appeals process. With so much at stake, it’s best to enlist the help of an experienced attorney who will give your claim the personal attention it deserves.
SSI Payment Amount Increases
SSI is a separate program from SSDI designed to assist individuals with extremely low incomes and limited financial resources who are older, blind, or disabled.
The 2023 COLA will boost the maximum federal payment to an individual SSI recipient from $841 to $914 per month. A married couple, with both spouses eligible for SSI, will receive up to $1,371 monthly, up from $1,261 in 2022.
While most SSI applicants face SGA limits at the filing stage, those already receiving SSI are subject to different income limits. If the “countable income” exceeds $914 for a single person or $1,371 for a couple in 2023, they won’t receive an SSI benefit for that month. The cap no longer applies once an applicant is receiving SSI.
The COLA’s Impact on Those Continuing Their Education
The 2023 COLA also impacts certain younger people receiving SSI based on disability or blindness. For those regularly attending high school, college, university, or job training programs, there is a unique provision known as the “student-earned income exclusion.”
Under this provision, students receiving SSI benefits can earn income from work without it counting against their SSI benefit amount. In 2023, the monthly student-earned income exclusion amount increased from $2,040 to $2,220.
This means eligible students can now earn up to $2,220 per month from work while retaining their full SSI benefits.
In addition, the annual maximum for the student-earned income exclusion rose from $8,230 in 2022 to $8,950 in 2023. This increase allows students to explore work opportunities while pursuing their education without risking the loss of essential SSI support.
Our Law Firm Can Help
The 2023 COLA brings significant changes to the SSDI and SSI programs, offering increased benefits to disabled workers and individuals with limited financial resources.
For those seeking to apply for these programs, consulting with our experienced Social Security Disability attorneys can help you avoid costly mistakes when applying for benefits.
Our law firm focuses solely on Social Security Disability cases, and we are ready to use our resources and skills in your case.
Speak With a Social Security Disability Lawyer Today
Whether you need to apply for benefits or appeal a denial, don’t navigate the path to disability benefits alone. Pilzer Klein has over 50 years of combined experience helping people in the Carolinas win their disability claims. We realize you may be going through one of the most difficult times of your life, and we will treat you with dignity and respect.
Our compassionate and dedicated team is ready to learn about your unique situation and guide you through the complexities of the claim process. Your initial consultation is free, and you only pay if we win your case. Fill out ourcontact formor call us to schedule your free consultation with a Social Security Disability attorney.