Changes to Social Security Disability Benefits in 2019


Posted by: Chris

The Social Security Administration (SSA) oversees two benefit programs, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). If you receive these benefits or are planning on applying for them, it’s important to stay up-to-date on the latest changes implemented by the SSA. Here’s a look at the major changes to SSDI and SSI in 2019:

Increase in Monthly Benefits

Every year, the SSA adjusts the maximum monthly SSDI and SSI payments to account for cost-of-living increases. In 2019, the SSA increased the maximum monthly payments by 2.8%. This brings the maximum monthly SSI payment to $771 for individuals and $1,157 for married couples. This adjustment has also increased the maximum monthly SSDI payment to $2,861. However, the average monthly SSDI payment is around $1,234.

New Income Limits 

The SSA changed the income limits for both the SSDI and SSI program, too. SSI benefits are only awarded to low income individuals, so income limits are established to ensure the right people obtain these benefits. To qualify for SSI benefits in 2019, new applicants must earn less than $1,220 per month. If you earn more than this amount per month, you are not considered a low income individual and therefore not eligible for SSI benefits.

The same limit applies for the SSDI program, but with slightly different rules. SSDI benefits are only awarded to disabled individuals who are unable to work as a result of their disabilities. If you earn more than $1,220 per month from a job, the SSA will conclude that your disability does not prevent you from working. As a result, you will not qualify for SSDI benefits. But, you can still qualify for SSDI benefits if you earn more than $1,220 from investments or other sources of income.

Harder to Earn Work Credits

To qualify for SSDI benefits, you must have earned a certain number of work credits. The number of work credits you need to qualify will vary by age. For example, a 50-year-old will need 28 work credits, whereas a 60-year-old will need 38 credits to qualify.

How can you earn these credits? In 2018, workers earned one credit for every $1,320 they earned. But in 2019, this amount increased to $1,360, which means it is slightly harder to earn the work credits you need to qualify for SSDI benefits. 

These may not seem like major changes, but they can have a big impact on those who are applying for SSDI or SSI benefits.

Are you applying for SSDI or SSI benefits?  Don’t go through this process alone—contact Armstrong & Vaught, P.L.C. at once. Our experienced attorneys will assist with every step of the application process to ensure you are awarded the benefits you deserve as quickly as possible. Call us now at 918-582-2500, toll free at (800) 722-8880, or contact us online for a free consultation with a skilled attorney.