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2017 Social Security Administration Financial Adjustments

The Social Security Administration (SSA) reviews financial data and publishes a list of updates every year. These updates include adjustments to maximum benefit amounts, work credits, and other financial thresholds. Whether you’re now receiving benefits or planning to apply in 2017, you’ll need to be aware of the SSA’s new figures.

Work Credit Minimum Earnings

Social Security is an insurance program to which workers contribute over the course of their employment. Contributions are made by paying Social Security taxes, and these taxes accumulate as “work credits.” You must typically have between 20 and 40 credits available in order to receive disability benefits.

Work credits are earned for each calendar quarter of employment in which you make a specific amount of money. In 2016, you needed net earnings of $1260 for one work credit. In 2017, that amount has increased to $1,300.

Substantial Gainful Activity

To qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, you cannot have earnings from employment that exceed what the SSA considers “substantial gainful activity” or SGA. In 2016, the SGA threshold was set at $1,130 per month for non-blind benefit recipients and $1,820 for the blind. In 2017, SGA for the blind and non-blind recipients increases with the threshold now set at $1,170 per month for non-blind recipients, and $1,950 for recipients who are blind.

SSDI Maximum Benefits

There is a maximum benefit amount established each year for SSDI benefits. In 2016, the maximum you could receive was $2,663 per month. Because there was a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) determined by Consumer Price Index studies for 2017, the maximum amount of monthly SSDI will actually increase slightly, to $2,687. This increase is a standard adjustment made according to Social Security regulations.

Supplemental Security Income Eligibility Thresholds

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits are only available to applicants that do not exceed financial resource limits. The total income and assets allowable for SSI recipients in 2016 was $2,000 for an individual and $3,000 for a couple in which both partners received SSI. In 2017, these financial limits remain the same.

SSI Maximum Benefits

The maximum benefit amount available through the SSI program also increases for 2017, due to COLA-related Social Security regulations. The maximum benefit an individual can receive is $735 per month, and a couple cannot receive more than $1,103 in combined monthly benefits, if both partners get SSI.

Trial Work Period Earnings

SSDI recipients can test their ability to go back to work without losing disability benefits. This is done through a formal Trial Work Period with the SSA. A trial work period is nine months total, but only those months in which you earn a certain amount count toward your trial work allotment.

In 2016, any month in which you earned $810 counted. In 2017 however, only a month in which you earn $840 or greater counts toward your total trial work period.

Summary SSDI and SSI Changes for 2017

The l COLA increase in 2017 means most SSDI and/or SSI recipients and applicants will see a change in their monthly benefits. Other changes in the SSA’s benefit standards actually mean beneficiaries can earn more from employment and still receive disability benefits.

The following table summarizes adjustments for the 2017 calendar year.

2016 2017 Change
Work Credit Minimum Earnings $1,260/quarter $1,300/quarter $40 increase to earn one work credit
Substantial Gainful Activity $1,130/mo. (non-blind) $1,820/mo. (blind) $1,170/mo. (non-blind) $1,950/mo. (blind) A $40 increase for non-blind recipients and a $130 increase for blind recipients.
SSDI Maximum Benefits $2,639/mo $2,687/mo. $48 per month in maximum benefits available.
SSI Eligibility Thresholds $2,000 (individual) $3,000 (couple) $2,000 (individual) $3,000 (couple) No change
SSI Maximum Benefits $733/mo. (individual) $1,10o/mo. (couple) $735/mo. (individual) $1,103/mo. (couple) a $2 increase for individuals and a $3 increase for couples.
2016 2017 Change
Trial Work Period Earnings $810/mo. $840/mo. $30 increase in allowed earnings before a month counts toward Trial Work Period


this is ridiculous why our gov is giving away billions of our dollars and we half to live on substandard wages and our representatives live like king and queens. we live from pay check once a month to the next month it is time we take all the benefits that they get and we should get the same. or they get the same as we get. until we are raised above poverty no more money should be sent to countries that hate us. we are not asking for any thing that we have not earned.

I totally agree, sometimes I believe I am living in a dream but then I realized it's not a dream, it's a nightmare. I have always been very independent but when I had to stop working due to my health it seems like all hell broke loose, I know in my heart and soul that I am eligible for disability benefits, but have been denied a few times, I will not give up until I get what I have worked for, it's not there money, it's mine and I really need it.

Angela, how can u have this amazing attitude and not want to just give up? I've been fighting over 7 years and I have a mental breakdown every time I have an appeal. I HATE having to re-live my fall from grace for their amusement as eveything in well documented & they have access to all my medical records. This last hearing I just wrote my attorney I'm done, I don't think I can do this anymore. They can keep it & give it to people who probably didn't start paying into it at 16 like I did, but I'm tired of fighting a losing battle:/ I do admire your will, wish you could send some, lol.. good luck!!!

Hi Grace,
Thanks for sharing! It's important to have a positive attitude. Hang in there!

I recently was notified the State of California would no longer be paying my Medicare Part B Insurance which is about $126.00 per month so they deducted that amount from my check times for the last three months and lowered my monthly payment in the future by 126.00. I didn't know the State was paying my Part B Insurance and why would they decide to stop all of a sudden?

Hi Kathleen,
They may pay if you meet the state's requirements for medicaid and are eligible for the program in your state.

Is there a reason SSDI checks aren't in the mail? I know of 5 people who get it on the 3rd of every month and it's the 5th and no check. Many are worried that the current administration is the cause. What's the delay??

HI Isaac,
We are not affiliated with the SSA or the federal government, and as such we could not say why checks may be sent later this month.

Is there a program that i can get paid . For having to stay home and care for my wife. Who is SSI disabled and 1 son who is SSI DISABLED . we have 2 sons . I am unable to work outside the home . It would be nice to get a paycheck again . It would help us get a car .

Hi, I am my disabled sisters payee and noticed there was a $700 extra payment from her disability on 2/23/17. Can you tell me what that may have been for?

Hi Mary Beth,
We're not affiliated with the SSA so we cannot, but if it was an error, I'd notify them at once so you can repay it if it was an overpayment.

I just cant believe all the people who take advantage of this program. I personally know at least 5 people who could work, but don't, because they qualified for one of these programs. What a con. I'm sick of it. Why cant Wisconsin do better research on people. Do you really qualify for benefits if you have corpal tunnel?

If you have a really bad case of carpal tunnel it means you can't use your hands to work and the pain cab be incredibly bad and so can the numbness. It can also vary a bit from day to day. I know someone who has it in both hands, has tried everything, even surgery, but had to quit working because of it. She was working after retirement at her son's office to earn a little extra $ to live on but finally she couldn't even do that and even surgery couldn't fix the problem. You can't SEE pain, numbness, or nerve damage but that doesn't mean it isn't there. You can't see PTSD but it is real and can wreck your life. Around 70% of disabilities are NOT easily seen so I see why you made the common mistake of thinking most people on disability are freeloaders but you are SO wrong. It is a LOT harder to get disability benefits from the government than from companies. I think the fraud rate for companies is about 2 or 3 times the rate is for people on government disability.
No one LIKES to admit that they are disabled and can't work anymore because a lot of times people treat you as if you are lazy or stealing their money even though you paid into the same Social Security Disability Insurance fund that they pay into. It canbe really bad and depressing to have people treat you like scum and have to relive what gave you PTSD (or whatever) every time you need to apply or renew benefits, apply for housing, home health, food stamps, etc. made me suicidal more than once. Funny thing is that now I'm stuck in a wheelchair, angry people have suddenly changed to really nice people.
Please be a nice person and remember the ultra-rich people are the ones who have been gradually siphoning more and more $ out of the economy since Reagan's time while benefits keep getting cut or made almost impossible to get and to keep.
Takes around 1.5 to 2 YEARS to get an easy-to-prove SSI or SSDI case approved because of that. The right-wing politicians and rich people try to blame us poor and disabled while they steal an unfair share of money that should go to the working class and a smaller and also to the retired working and to those who can't work anymore or just plain can't work to begin with.
Trump is just obvious about taking money from the poor. No other developed country has so much money going to the rich and ultra rich and so little to EVERYONE else, especially people who work for a living. It's the Koch brothers and the uncaring ultra-rich who've "bought" almost all of our Congressional representatives or paid for enough media to convince us to elect their greedy millionaire or billionaire buddies to Congress. The only people in Congress who AREN'T helping the ultra-rich get MORE tax cuts that give them more of the profits that USED to go to the middle class are people like LLOYD Doggett and Bernie Sanders. Bernie Sanders used to be a social worker, saw how bad things were, and as a politician saw how together people who own all the radio stations were helping people who could only seem to think of $ and possessions get more and more and more. He's not a radical who wants to make those rich people poor but he's a "radical because he wants us to change things so the working class gets closer to the same PERCENTAGE of the US economy's income. Like when Trump says America was great. It wasn't great because of racism and hate of even the disabled but because the middle class got their fair share of the profits and the people running the companies didn't seem to think that it was ok to cut workers' pay and give it to themselves just because they had the power to do that. Nowadays they do think that because they're the "me" generation and that their main goal in life is to keep getting jobs that pay more and better jobs that pay even more and so on . They weren't taught civics in school or the importance of everyone getting a fair share of economic growth like we used to be ties and that everyone is a person of value that God made in his own image and is therefore to be treated decently . Most of them don't even really believe in a God at all so they have no thing in their brain that tells them stop you're being greedy they think they're doing the right thing even though they're very very very wrong . Please don't blame innocent disabled people for what those people have done disabled and the poor people don't even have the power to get there Congressman two Rivers what is been happening for years not most disabled people where the powerless we're not the ones who are taking your money.

Hello Ann,

Thank you for that thoughtful and thorough comment.

Best Wishes,

I receive benefits but by the time I pay the house payment and electric bill that's it game over nothing left. We eat very little and I do not ask for food stamps so we just go without. And that's not right that we should. Live like animals. No gas just electric .I can't even put a roof on the house have big holes in it anymore one have any suggestion short of shooting myself?

Hi Robert,
You may want to contact your local Habitat for Humanity, they may be able to help you with home repairs.

I live in grant county n my monthly check is $491.00 a month they told me when I start paying rent my check would go up I have been staying with a good freind n my freind has been very kind to me n patient as I waited a long time to be approved, n that when I did I could get my own place there is no way o could do that with $491.00 a month every one I no on SSI get the standard $735.00 a month not here in soaplake.

Hi Daria,

I am very sorry to hear that. Wishing you nothing but the best.