Each year in October, the Social Security Administration (SSA) reveals its annual changes to the Social Security program for the coming year. This includes, but is not limited to, updates on earned income limits and monthly benefit amounts for recipients.

It is in your best interest to stay up-to-date with Social Security’s changes in 2021 so you know how to retain and maintain disability benefits.

At Dayes Law Firm, we have helped many individuals apply or appeal a disability denial. There is no risk in calling us to learn more about your options. An initial consultation is 100 percent free of charge.

Cost-of-Living Adjustment

The cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) helps recipients keep their benefits on par with inflation and signifies the raise they are expected to obtain for next year. The average COLA since 2010 is 1.4 percent.

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits will increase 1.3 percent in 2021 for about 70 million recipients. This is less than the COLA for 2020 at 1.6 percent.

To obtain SSI benefits, your assets and income cannot be worth more than the resource limit. The resource limit remains the same (no more than $2,000 for an individual or $3,000 for a couple).

The maximum SSI federal payment for an individual will go up from $783 to $794 per month. For a couple, it will go up from $1,175 to $1091 per month.

Other increases to monthly benefits include:

  • The average disabled worker will see payments increase by $16 to $1,277 from $1,261
  • The average retired worker will see payments increase by $20 to $1,543 from $1,523
  • The average aged couple, who are both receiving benefits, will see payments increase by $33 to $2,596 from $2,563

Full Retirement Age

Full retirement age in 2021 is going higher by two months, to 66 years and 10 months for people born in 1959. It will peak at age 67 in 2022 for anyone born in 1960 or later.

The earliest a recipient can obtain Social Security retirement benefits is age 62. However, obtaining these benefits before your full retirement age will result in your monthly payments being reduced. If you wait to obtain benefits until age 70, you will receive a 32 percent higher annual payout.

Social Security Disability Thresholds

Eligibility for disability benefits means not engaging in substantial gainful activity (SGA). Earning over a certain monthly amount, depending on the nature of your disability, is considered engaging in SGA.

In 2021, non-blind disabled recipients will be able to earn up to $1,310 a month without having their SSDI or SSI benefits terminated. This threshold is increasing $50 a month or an extra $600 annually.

Blind disabled recipients could earn up to $2,190 a month without losing their SSDI benefits (SGA does not apply to blind SSI recipients). This threshold is increasing $80 a month or an extra $960 annually.

In a trial work period (TWP), SSDI recipients may test their ability to work and still be considered disabled. This is true regardless if they earn more than the SGA limit. In 2021, any month in which earnings exceed $940 will be considered a month of services for your TWP, up $30 from $910 this year.

Student Earned Income Exclusion

The student earned income exclusion is a work incentive that allows certain SSI recipients under 22 and going to school on a regular basis to exclude a certain amount of countable earned income per month, helping them retain a greater amount of their SSI benefits.

The monthly limit for 2021 is $1,930 (an increase of $30) and the annual limit is $7,770 (an increase of $100).

Reach Out for More Information

If you have questions about Social Security Disability, do not hesitate to contact one of our experienced Phoenix Social Security Disability lawyers. We are ready to offer assistance.

Reach out anytime, day or night, to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation. After learning how we may be able to help in this initial meeting, we charge nothing up front to retain our services.

Dayes Law Firm. Free Case Reviews. Ph: 1-800-503-2000.