2017 Cost of Living Adjustment: Disability Benefits to Increase by 0.3 Percent

Posted on October 19, 2016 by Disability Help Group

Every year, the Social Security Administration (SSA) reviews the national cost of living to determine if it needs to make a cost of living adjustment and increase certain Social Security benefits.

To calculate these increases, the SSA uses the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W). This index, prepared by the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, ensures recipients of Social Security or Supplemental Security Income can continue to purchase necessary goods for their daily lives.

Every October, the SSA reviews the CPI-W to determine if an increase in benefit rates is necessary. For 2017, the index determined a 0.3 percent cost of living adjustment (COLA) was necessary to keep up with economic inflation. This increase will begin to appear in the January 2017 Social Security retirement benefit checks and on December 30, 2016, for Supplemental Security Income recipients.

Another adjustment that comes along with the COLA is the maximum amount of earnings subject to taxation for Social Security. In 2016, wages up to $118,500 were subject to the Social Security tax. In 2017, wages up to $127,200 will now be subject to this tax. The SSA bases the adjustment on the national increase in average wages.

Other changes to SSI benefits include:

  • The SSA increased the limit of monthly substantial gainful activity earnings to $1,170.
  • It increased the SSI federal payment standard for individuals to $735/month and couples to $1,103/month.
  • The Administration increased the SSI student exclusion to $1,790.

Other changes to Social Security disability (SSDI) benefits include:

  • The threshold for substantial gainful activity increased from $1,130/month to $1,170/month for non-blind individuals.
  • The threshold for substantial gainful activity increased from $1,820/month to $1,950/month for blind individuals.
  • The trial work period threshold increased from $810 to $840.

If You Have Questions about Your Eligibility for SSI, We Can Help

The Disability Help Group assists disabled workers and families of disabled children with applications and appeals for disability benefits. If you fall under a certain income and resource threshold, you may be eligible for both SSDI and SSI benefits.

Call us at 800-800-2009 to talk to our disability advocates and learn about your options.