COLA Increase Raises Disability Benefits By Two Percent in 2018

COLADisabled Americans receiving Social Security disability will see a two percent increase in their monthly benefit payments in 2018. This increase, called a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA), is more than six times 2016’s COLA of 0.3.

What Is a Cost-of-Living Adjustment?

To ensure disability recipients receive enough money to meet their basic needs, the Social Security Administration (SSA) adjusts the benefit amount to reflect increases in the cost of living.

To determine a COLA, the SSA refers to the increase in the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) from the third quarter of the current year.

How Will the COLA Affect My Benefits?

The COLA will raise benefits for all disability recipients. In 2018, disability recipients can expect the following:

  • A $24 monthly increase in the average monthly benefit for Social Security Disability Insurance(SSDI) recipients ($1,173 to $1,197). Disabled workers with a spouse and children can expect a $40 increase ($2,011 to $2,051) in the average monthly benefit.
  • A $15 monthly increase for Supplemental Security Income(SSI) recipients ($735 to $750). Couples will see a $22 increase ($1,103 to $1,125)

Does the COLA Affect the Eligibility Requirements?

It might, depending on the type of benefit you are applying for. 

  • For SSDI applicants, the threshold forsubstantial gainful activity increased from $1,170 to $1,180 for non-blind individuals. The threshold increased from $1,950 to $1,970 for blind individuals.
  • The trial work period threshold increased $10 from $840 to $850.
  • The resource limits for SSI applicants remain the same ($2,000 for individuals, $3,000 for couples).
  • The student exclusion for SSI increases from $1,790 to $1,820 per month.

When Is the Increase Effective?

Your effective date depends on the type of benefit you receive.

  • SSI beneficiaries will see their increased payment amount on December 29, 2017.
  • Disabled workers receiving SSDI will see their benefit increase in January 2018.

If you are applying for SSDI or SSI, call today to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case with a Social Security disability lawyer: 412-661-1400.