Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Benefits Slated to Increase in 2017

There are two types of benefits for which one may be eligible to apply for from the Untied States Social Security Administration (SSA).  The most common program for which people apply is known as the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits program.  This program is for workers who become disabled and can no longer work.  If the workers were disabled as result of an on-the-job injury or illness, workers’ compensation might be the first place to turn, but this is something you can discuss with your disability benefits attorney.

taxesThe SSDI program requires claimants to have worked for a certain amount of time and in that time paid taxes.  When you pay federal taxes, some of that money is considered income tax and some of that money goes to the SSA.  The SSA runs the SSDI program, the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program, and the Old Age and Retirement Program.  While we often hear about budgetary shortages involving the disability programs, the retirement program is a far larger program than the disability program. With SSDI, when you pay enough in taxes, you earn the requisite number of quarterly credits, and then you are eligible to get SSDI benefits in the event you become disabled before you qualify for Social Security retirements by reaching the required age. The reason for the age cut off is because once you are old enough to get Social Security retirement benefits, you will no longer be eligible for disability benefits and any disability benefits you are already receiving will terminate automatically.

The other benefits program is the SSI benefits, and this program operates somewhat differently.  It was designed to help people who are disabled and were never able to work and earn the credits necessary to qualify for SSDI benefits.  Additionally, as our Boston disability benefits attorneys can explain, the SSI program, unlike the SSDI program, is income based.  This means that you will need to be in a low-income household to qualify for SSI benefits.  In the case of SSDI, your household income is not relevant, since you paid into the system by working and having taxes withheld for many years.  The exact number of years required will depend on your age at the onset of disability.

Specifically, the program is designed to help disabled children in low-income households, blind and disabled adults, and the elderly who do not qualify for Social Security Retirement benefits since they haven’t worked and paid taxes for enough years due to a disability.  While the amount of money paid as SSI benefits is modest, the benefits are much needed by those who qualify and any increase is certainly welcomed.

According to a recent news article from Disability Scoop, the federal SSI benefit maximum is going to increase by 0.3 percent.  This increase is part of an automatic cost of living adjustment (COLA) that was writing into the law by Congress.  In terms of actual numbers, an individual receiving $733 per month in SSI will receive $735 in 2016.  While a $2 per month increase might not seem like much, and it isn’t, it is a step in the right direction since we are constantly hearing in the media how Congress will cut the budget and millions of Americans on disability will face a serious reduction in their monthly benefits.

If you or a loved one is seeking Social Security Disability Insurance in Boston, call for a free and confidential appointment at (617) 777-7777.

Additional Resources:

SSI Benefits To Increase In 2017, October 18, 2016, By Michelle Diament, Disability Scoop

More Bog Entries:

Social Security Disability Judges Allegedly Used Racial and Sexual Terms on Claimants’ Applications, July 22, 2016, Boston SSDI Lawyer Blog

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