Every year, there is a cost of living adjustment (COLA) to the amounts paid monthly for SSDI and SSI. In 2018, the increase is two percent overall.
It's still hardly enough to even make a dent in living here in New Jersey, but every little bit helps. Here is a rundown of all the changes in payments and eligibility requirements which take effect this year.
There hasn't been a significant rise in the COLA since 2012, but 2018 will see some relief. The two percent increase is the largest we have seen in a while. It means that:
- The maximum SSI payment for an individual increases from $735 to $750
- The maximum SSI payment for a couple will rise from $1,103 to $1,125
- The estimated average payout for disabled workers with a spouse and one or more children will increase from $2,011 to $2,051
- The estimated average for all disabled workers will increase from $1,173 to $1,197
As you can see, no one is going to get rich off of these amounts. But it is good to have a reasonable COLA for the first time in six years to help.
The substantial gainful activity (SGA) limit on what you can earn above any SSDI has also increased. In 2018, that is now $1,180 per month for non-blind individuals, up from $1,170.
The student exclusion for benefits is $1,820 per month, with an annual total of $7,350.
The resource limit for SSI, or total cash assets allowed to qualify, has not changed. It is still $2,000 for an individual and $3,000 for a couple. You have to be very poor to qualify.
Are you unable to work?
If you or a loved one are unable to work because of a disability, you may be entitled to SSDI and other benefits. It's important to talk to a long term disability lawyer if you or a loved one may qualify. The process can be long and involved so representation is important. These benefits may not be large, but they can be a life saver.