Earlier this year, Social Security announced that there would be a 1.5% Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) for Social Security Disability (SSD) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. The COLA adjustment raised the income qualifications for these federal benefit programs. Although beneficiaries would have liked to see a higher percentage increase in benefits, in some recent years no increases were authorized. We hope that the COLA increases are the beginning of an annual trend of benefit increases for Social Security recipients.
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI): The average SSD benefit has increased to $1148 per month. In determining your financial eligibility, you must now be making less than $1,070 per month to qualify for benefits, or $1,800 per month if you are blind. If you make over $1,070 a month, the SSA will find that you are able to engage in “substantial gainful activity” which means that you are able to earn money from work at such a level that you will not be eligible for benefits.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI): For SSI, the new maximum benefit rate is $721 per month for an individual and $1,082 per month for a couple. The resource limits for SSI remain at $2000 for an individual and $3000 for a couple. In other words, the value of the things you own (excluding your home and one car) must be less than $2000 if you are single or $3000 if you are married in order for you to be eligible for SSI benefits.
If you are trying to determine whether you are financially eligible for SSD or SSI, we can help! Please give us a call at 215-561-1000. Our experienced SSD/SSI team can help determine your eligibility for SSD/SSI, and assist you in applying for benefits.
If you are thinking about applying for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or you are waiting for a hearing before a Social Security judge, you should be receiving regular medical treatment for all of your disabling conditions. This means that you should be seeing your doctors on a weekly or monthly basis, following your doctor’s treatment recommendations and keeping the Social Security Administration (SSA) informed about your medical treatment. The SSA will not take your word regarding your medical conditions, but will instead rely on your medical records and statements from your doctors.
You can help develop your medical records by telling your doctors about your conditions, symptoms, pain, and limitations at every appointment, even if you think your doctors are fully aware of your conditions. You should also explain to your doctors how your conditions impair your daily activities and prevent you from being able to work. This will help ensure that your medical records reflect your disabling conditions and are consistent with your SSD application. You should also remember to keep your SSD attorney up to date on all of your medical providers, as your attorney will want to ensure that the SSA receives and reviews all of your medical treatment records.
If you don’t have health insurance you should consider visiting a health clinic where you can obtain a free or very inexpensive medical treatment. Many clinics will offer a free initial medical assessment and help you apply for Medical Assistance.
Follow the link below for a map of health clinics in the Philadelphia metro area that offer free or inexpensive medical treatment: