Changes to Social Security in 2017

Submitted by Deanna on

Every year, the Social Security Administration (SSA) conducts a financial review that can affect benefit payment amounts, qualification rules, and other areas of Social Security disability.

When a serious medical condition stops you from working, benefits through the SSA’s disability programs can help you get by. Qualifying can sometimes be tricky though, and you may wish to seek assistance from a disability advocate or attorney even before starting your application.

Social Security Disability Insurance Changes

Qualifying for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) requires a minimum of 20 to 40 work credits, dependent upon your age when you become disabled. Workers earn a maximum of four credits per year.

In 2017, you’ll have to pay Social Security taxes on at least $5,200 to earn four credits. That’s an increase of $160 from 2016. If you’ve already accumulated sufficient work credits, this particular increase doesn’t affect you, but there are some other adjustments that will affect your SSDI, including:

  • Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) – all SSDI recipients will see a 0.3% increase in their monthly SSDI payments in 2017. For the average person this means a monthly benefit raise from $1,167 in 2016 to $1,171 in 2017.
  • Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) – to qualify for SSDI, an applicant cannot have income from employment that exceeds the SGA level. The 2017 SGA for blind applicants is $1,950, while non-blind applicants can have an SGA of $1,170 per month.
  • Trial Work Period (TWP) Limit – benefit recipients can continue to receive disability even while making work attempts under a TWP. There is a monthly income limit set for a trial work month, and any month in which have earnings over the limit counts toward your total TWP. In 2016, a trial work month topped out at $810. In 2017, only those months in which you earn $840 or greater will count toward your TWP.

Supplemental Security Income Changes

Although Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients will see a small COLA increase in 2017, the financial resources limit hasn’t change:

  • Resource Limits – To receive SSI, an individual cannot have more than $2,000 in financial resources. If a couple gets SSI, with both partners receiving benefits each month, then the limit for their combined resources cannot exceed $3,000.
  • COLA – As far as the COLA increase for 2017 SSI goes, individuals can receive a maximum of $735 a month, while the combined SSI of a couple can’t be any higher than $1,103.

Applying for Benefits and Getting Help with Your Claim

Disability benefits applications can be completed at the local SSA office or online, via the SSA’s website. The online application fulfills the requirements for filing an SSDI claim, but it is only part of the process for SSI. A personal interview will still be necessary to finalize your SSI application. For this interview, you may need to visit the local office, or in some cases, you may receive a call from the SSA instead.

Before filing for either benefit program though, you may wish to consider speaking with a disability attorney or advocate. He or she can help you prepare your application and support it with appropriate evidence, thereby increasing your chances of approval. An attorney can also help you understand how the SSA’s 2017 changes may affect you specifically.

Blog comments


In reply to by Olga (not verified)

Hi Olga,

Hi Olga,
I'm sorry to hear about all that! Your husband may still be eligible for Medicaid based on income, you may want to contact the office in your state that handles Medicaid for more information.

Tue, 03/21/2017 - 15:15 Permalink
Deborah (not verified)

My husband and I are separate

My husband and I are separate for four years..I am and on disability also while we were married..we have been married for over ten dependents..I'm now living in my own place it's not the best not even good but I have no other source of income and his finances along with mine were used to determine my husband is on disability now..he was the head of household prior to getting on disability..because my disability is lower..can I qualify for help from him or additional income..we are very seperate in different states to be exact..I can't eveb afford to pay for a divorce and fear I was lose even more finances if I do it on my own I can barely survive on my disability...with medications bills doctor additional fees..unable to drive..I need help..please.

Wed, 03/22/2017 - 15:54 Permalink

In reply to by Deborah (not verified)

Hello Deborah,

Hello Deborah,

I am very sorry to hear that. I would recommend speaking to a disability rights advocate or attorney.

Best Wishes,

Thu, 03/23/2017 - 16:55 Permalink
Rhonda labernik (not verified)

I have been approved for

I have been approved for social security disability. But was denied ssi because of my resources. Will I still get my disability and my back pay of disability?

Tue, 03/28/2017 - 11:54 Permalink

In reply to by Rhonda labernik (not verified)

Hi Rhonda,

Hi Rhonda,
Yes, if you were approved for SSDI, you may receive any back pay and monthly benefits that you are entitled to.

Tue, 03/28/2017 - 16:40 Permalink
Angie (not verified)

I receive social security

I receive social security disability. My mom passed away and I will be receiving inheritance money. How will this affect me ?

Wed, 03/29/2017 - 00:03 Permalink

In reply to by Angie (not verified)

Hi Angie,

Hi Angie,

I am very sorry to hear that. If you are on SSDI, then receiving inheritance money will not affect your benefits.

Best Wishes,

Wed, 03/29/2017 - 09:09 Permalink
DJ (not verified)

If I am already receiving

If I am already receiving social security benifits will they be changed or affected by the new laws in 2017

Wed, 03/29/2017 - 14:46 Permalink
DJ (not verified)

In reply to by Eric

Im sorry. the link is talking

Im sorry. the link is talking about retirement.. Im talking about social security disabilty. I've been on ssd for a few years and im wondering if any of the new laws will stop me from continuing to get my benefits.

Wed, 03/29/2017 - 18:20 Permalink

In reply to by DJ (not verified)


The eligibility criteria has largely been unchanged, however it can vary ( they did change the criteria for HIV/AIDS patients recently due to advances in treatment). You may want to contact the SSA regarding this for more information that would be specific to your particular case.

Thu, 03/30/2017 - 10:07 Permalink
Kelly (not verified)

I am on disability and

I am on disability and receive SSI and my total income is $747 monthly. I can't even pay all of my monthly bills and they think giving me two or three dollars is going to help I didn't ask to be on disability,but it would be nice to be able to at least be able to pay for my house and car without help from family

Wed, 04/05/2017 - 14:43 Permalink

In reply to by Kelly (not verified)

Hi Kelly,

Hi Kelly,

I am so sorry to hear that, things can get better though. Wishing you nothing but the best.


Wed, 04/05/2017 - 15:10 Permalink
MLDVA03 (not verified)

In reply to by Kelly (not verified)

Kelly I agree totally.I also

Kelly I agree totally.I also recieve SSI and can't afford housing cost etc I am living in famuilys basement but they are planing on selling the house so I could face homelessness due to being unable to work and only getting $735 a month in Va that's not enough to pay half the rent on a 1bedroom apartment.I also have 2 kids so I can't even get a 1 bedroom it's crazy that disabiled people don't get enough to live and provide a roof over there heads yeah there are section 8 programs that have long wait list that take forever if you can even get on a list I think Social security should have it set up where when you are approved for SSI that you get you $735 or whatever you get based on where you live and a section 8 voucher for housing.That sounds like a great plan to me.If everyone who was disabiled got a section 8 voucher to cover housing cost then that $735 a month would be a lot more do-able I mean come on nobody can life on that little bit of money and would much rather work if they could and social security acts like it's so much money and people want to be on disability yeah right I think not!! They really do need to do something as far as help is disabiled with more we can't help that we can't work we are already sick crippled in pain depressed etc the list goes on and on top of all that we have to worry about if we can afford to live afford to have a safe warm home.The system is messed up.

Wed, 04/12/2017 - 01:06 Permalink
Dora (not verified)

Husbands social security

Husbands social security disability was honor and the same year for a different disability was honor (workmens comp). Year later they stop his ssdi and gave him social security retirement, also no longer receiving workmens comp.And have an overpayment and that overpayment was added to our income. Now we owe thousands of dollars to IRS. We had reported to account and ss. How to get out of this mess.

Wed, 04/05/2017 - 22:29 Permalink

In reply to by Dora (not verified)

Hi Dora,

Hi Dora,
I'm sorry to hear about that! You may want to contact someone who would be better able to advise you on financial matters.

Mon, 04/10/2017 - 09:52 Permalink
Brent (not verified)

It says for those receiving

It says for those receiving SSI only payments that if the first falls on a Saturday or Sunday then the payment will come through the Friday before, but I'm seeing it come through on the following Monday, why?

Mon, 04/10/2017 - 15:57 Permalink

In reply to by Brent (not verified)

HI Brent,

HI Brent,
Your bank may process payments made on a weekend the next business day. You may want to contact your bank for more information on their policies regarding deposits made on a weekend.

Mon, 04/10/2017 - 17:04 Permalink
Brent (not verified)

In reply to by Bryan

Thanks for the reply. Based

Thanks for the reply. Based on the website it says the payment will be made on the previous Friday. Can you tell me exactly when the payment is made on your end if the 1st falls on a Saturday or Sunday?

Tue, 04/11/2017 - 07:47 Permalink

In reply to by Brent (not verified)

Hi Brent,

Hi Brent,

If the first of the month is either a Saturday or Sunday you will receive your benefits the business day before.

Best Wishes,

Tue, 04/11/2017 - 09:09 Permalink
Nina (not verified)

In reply to by Eric

I'm in Illinois and I

I'm in Illinois and I heard that they stopped giving out back payments for ssdi. I applied was approved and was told that I will not get any back payments. I been waiting for three years

Fri, 04/21/2017 - 08:56 Permalink

In reply to by Nina (not verified)

HI Nina,

HI Nina,
As far as we know, SSI and SSDI benefits are still available in Illinois, and you may still be able to receive back pay, if you are otherwise eligible to receive it.

Tue, 04/25/2017 - 08:59 Permalink
Gwen (not verified)

Hello, I have custody of my

Hello, I have custody of my nephfew and each time I'm told he do not qualify due to my income , How so this child is not my birth child. please help Thanks

Fri, 04/21/2017 - 10:57 Permalink

In reply to by Gwen (not verified)

Hi Gwen,

Hi Gwen,
If you are applying for SSI benefits for the child, they may qualify medically, but they may not qualify on the basis of income and financial resources, which they would determine by assessing your household's income and financial resources.

Mon, 04/24/2017 - 15:51 Permalink
Liz A. (not verified)

Hi there, I was wondering for

Hi there, I was wondering for those who've had identity theft, can that affect future SSDI or SSI benefits?

Fri, 04/21/2017 - 14:25 Permalink
Dawn (not verified)

I am receiving SSDI and

I am receiving SSDI and looking for a part time job making less than 1,170 per month. Will I still be able to keep my benefits? Does this affect my TWP?

Wed, 05/03/2017 - 11:13 Permalink

In reply to by Dawn (not verified)

Hi Dawn,

Hi Dawn,

If your benefits+part time job total is over the SGA limit ($1,170/month) your benefits may be affected.

Best of Luck,

Wed, 05/03/2017 - 16:56 Permalink
Amy (not verified)

In reply to by Eric

If you only make say $500

If you only make say $500/month do you have to report it somehow to SS or do they just automatically know thru your SS#? Just wondering if I got a p/t job how to report and what happens if u work for a while and then decide you can't anymore? I'm scared to try a p/t job just making $500/month to help pay bills being single and end up screwing up my ssdi somehow??

Thu, 08/24/2017 - 08:12 Permalink

In reply to by Amy (not verified)

Hi Amy,

Hi Amy,
You should report this income to matter what. If you're working at a job that pays taxes (isn't under the table), the SSA should find out. You should still keep SSDI benefits as usual--You won't trigger a Trial Work Period unless you're earning more than around $800 per month. If you do want to give an effort to returning to work full time, you should call your SSA rep to talk about Trial Work Periods and how you can attempt to earn income.

Thu, 08/24/2017 - 15:47 Permalink
Tracie (not verified)

I receive ss disability. I

I receive ss disability. I would like to use my graduate degree to get a job to leave ss disability. Every time I apply for a job, I never get a response. Is it possible my ss disability record is stopping my opportunities with employers?

Mon, 05/08/2017 - 11:38 Permalink

In reply to by Tracie (not verified)

Hi Tracie,

Hi Tracie,
I would not say it's your disability record, as prospective employers would need written permission from you for them to find out anything about your disability record.

Tue, 05/09/2017 - 13:17 Permalink
Ron Stake (not verified)

Is the gross or after tax

Is the gross or after tax amount used for working income limits ?

Wed, 05/10/2017 - 12:23 Permalink
Shirley (not verified)

Those suffering on SSI due to

Those suffering on SSI due to the minimal $. Some countries still today do not take care of the disabled at all. Be lucky for what you have vs what you don't.

Thu, 05/18/2017 - 03:01 Permalink
Maria (not verified)

If receive SSDI and SSI for

If receive SSDI and SSI for myself, can I resume doing home healthcare from my home( the patient family member bring the patient to me just to keep an eye out , the patient can do for themselves but can't be left alone) and pay me cash between$766.00 and $1,200 a month and file taxes at the end of the year. Would that hurt my SSDI or SSI benefits?

Sat, 05/20/2017 - 17:24 Permalink

In reply to by Maria (not verified)

Hi there,

Hi there,
It may hurt your SSI benefits as those are income-based, and you would be making income in this scenario. In addition, it may be considered Substantial Gainful Activity if you earn over $1,170 a month, which may affect your SSDI benefits.

Tue, 05/23/2017 - 17:00 Permalink
Lindsey (not verified)

Hi im 24 and im on ssi and i

Hi im 24 and im on ssi and i,want to start working self employment how much can i make monthly on ssi

Tue, 05/23/2017 - 01:01 Permalink

In reply to by Lindsey (not verified)

Hi Lindsey,

Hi Lindsey,
There is no set amount you can earn on SSI, however they would reduce your benefits one dollar for every two that you earn.

Tue, 05/23/2017 - 17:01 Permalink
Dez (not verified)

I have been receiving SSDI

I have been receiving SSDI for a few yrs now, if I become a distributor for a direct sales/multilevel marketing type business where I am making only commission, no salary or hourly pay, do those commissions earned count as Substantial Gainful Activity?

If I don't know what the commission will be for a given month in advance how can I predict it to know if I need to notify the SSA of income other than my SSD?

And would any of those things change if I'm so 2 different direct sales companies at once and also if I have an income property I'm getting rent from. (All of which tend to be offset by the expenses for each)

Fri, 06/02/2017 - 22:12 Permalink

In reply to by Dez (not verified)

Hi Dez,

Hi Dez,
Income, regardless of whether it's commission, salary, or hourly pay, would count towards Substantial Gainful Activity. You may not need to notify the SSA, however it's a good idea to contact them regarding this just to make sure that you're working within the definitions of your disability determination.

Mon, 06/05/2017 - 15:12 Permalink
Eileen (not verified)

I was just informed from my

I was just informed from my Long- term Disability Company that the 2 year contract I paid into will be discontinued as of 14th June. I mind you today is the 8th,? I am now disqualified for anymore benefits under the NEW SSDI PROVISIONS? I was cleared until September, 2017. So, if new provisions just put into law, writing, shouldn't I still receive MY BENEFITS UNTIL THIS SEPTEMBER AS AWARDED PRIOR TO THIS NEW LAW? Any help be greatly appreciated. I am looking it up, unable to find any new information that disqualifies me. I received in writing that the new laws take effect the 17th of this month, how can they give me 6 days notice to say I am no longer meet criteria I already me until this September?.

Thu, 06/08/2017 - 15:45 Permalink
Deborah daugherty (not verified)

I just turned 62 what does

I just turned 62 what does this have to do with me do get deducted or receive more money on disability Les than one year

Fri, 06/09/2017 - 08:52 Permalink

In reply to by Deborah daugherty (not verified)

Hi Deborah,

Hi Deborah,
If you file for early retirement, you may have a penalty on your retirement benefit for doing so.

Fri, 06/09/2017 - 15:07 Permalink
Sara (not verified)


I have a few questions. I have been diagnosed with several mental illnesses (depression, anxiety, ptsd, bipolar, ADHD) and have have been figuring out meds and going to docs on and off since before i was 18.
Upon adding ptsd to my list of problems they (i think, if i understood the paper correctly) diagnosed me as a mild-alcoholic. (I become unintentionally dependent on alcohol to deal with many things but when im on my meds i dont drink as much because of the stimulant i am on) Will having mild-alcoholism slapped on me keep me from being able to get ssdi or ssi?
Also, i am basically hear trying to find out how applying for ssdi and ssi works exactly if approved for ssdi but you dont have enough earnings to mean the minimal amount payed out (?)
When they called me to go over the application i ended up asking the lady "how exactly does applying for ssi and ssdi work? I dont want ssdi because my estimated payment would only be $423."
IF i am understanding her correctly, IF i am approved for both, i will collect both because my disability payment would be below a certain amount.
If that is the case how exactly does that work? Would the ssi payment be based off making up the difference between the diaavility payment and what it is "supposed" to be, or would the ssi payments still be completely based off your income?
Also, as my sons gets ssi, will his ssi check affect my amounts of pay if aporoved?
Sorry if i am a bit confusing, i am having a hard time figuring out how to ask some of these questions.

Wed, 06/14/2017 - 16:44 Permalink

In reply to by Sara (not verified)

Hi Sara,

Hi Sara,
Alcoholism may not affect your case, unless it worsens your condition.
You would collect your SSDI amount and then SSI benefits would make up the difference between that and 735.
You son's SSI may not be counted as income for the purposes of determining your SSI benefits.

Wed, 06/14/2017 - 17:09 Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

my husband is receiving ssdi

my husband is receiving ssdi benefits. my younger son is also receiving ssdi benefits. my boys also receive children benefits from my husband ssdi income. my oldest son (16years old) wants to work for the summer. will this income effect the ssdi benefits.

Thu, 06/15/2017 - 21:24 Permalink
Mikey (not verified)

Can you receive a increase in

Can you receive a increase in your ssi benefits after suffering a heart attack that worsened your previous condition

Mon, 06/19/2017 - 00:23 Permalink

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