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

Jonathan (not verified)

Hi. I'm receiving SSDI.

Hi. I'm receiving SSDI. I was offered a temp job for three months making double what I get from SSDI. If I take the job for three months, will I lose my benefits for those months?

Thu, 06/29/2017 - 13:10 Permalink
melinda knight (not verified)

i turned in a paper for

i turned in a paper for reconcedration on my disability and told why they needed to contuine my disability untill appeal they saying hadnt recieved it therefore and stopped my checks if it is behind a month and my june payment is issued in july will i get a check in july

Thu, 06/29/2017 - 15:16 Permalink

In reply to by melinda knight (not verified)

Hi Melinda,

Hi Melinda,

I would recommend speaking to someone at the SSA regarding that. 1-800-772-1213.


Thu, 06/29/2017 - 16:58 Permalink
Michael (not verified)

Slightly confusing situation.

Slightly confusing situation. My husband has been getting Social Security Disability for over 20 years, as well as Medicare. His original reason for receiving was because of a diagnoses of HIV/Aids. In the fall of 2015 he went back to work because we could not make it on my income and his Social security check. He did the trial period of 9 month and made as much as he could. It was our understanding that he could work for up 36 month after that period. As it turned out he worked for one place for a little over 2.5 years, before he was fired. He had Substantial gains during that period. When his was fired he was at the end of his rope and tried to commit suicide. Was out of work for about 7 month. He is now working again and earning substantial gains. We just received a letter stating that they were ending his Social Security beginning on Aug 1st 2017 because of his Substantial gains. Plus we would have to pay back the over payments for the month he had substantial gains, close to $17,000. Which we can not financially do.
Since his diagnoses he now has many health issue not directly related to his diagnose of HIV. He needs double knew replacement surgery. Can barely walk but struggles to continue with daily life. He suffers from depression and now sees a Psychiatrist. Takes medication to help with his depression. He also take about 12 other medication to help with other health issues. They are actually about $65,000 a year his medicare pay for them. Other medial issues Migraines, alertness. Some slight hearing loss. to name a few. He has an appointment to see an Orthopedist to see if they can help with his falling apart body. Aches and pains everywhere. He has Arthritis, which makes it difficult moving. He has just developed tremors of the body, sees a neurologist in 2 weeks to determine what has brought them one. He has a lot of health issues now that social security is not aware of at this time. He is able to work because he has a sit down job that does not require him to do much physical activity. He can function doing is job. Computer work and office duties. He gets paid weekly and it varies depending on his hour. High end about $400 a week.
We are not sure what to do at this point with them stopping his Social security. We do depend on it to live from day to day, in addition to his working and my income which is about $150 a week on a good week. Worried about his medicare and if we can afford to pay the premiums. Not sure what we should do at this point. Should we seek the advice of an attorney. Should we just go through the Social Security Office. Our Medical Doctors office we go to has a patient advocate, should we use a total loss of how to proceed. Any advise?

Thu, 07/06/2017 - 06:28 Permalink

In reply to by Michael (not verified)

Hi Michael,

Hi Michael,

I am so sorry to hear that. Yes, I would recommend speaking to an attorney. In the meantime I would also recommend gathering all medical records throughout the years. The more evidence you have, the better your chances are at winning your case. You can speak to an attorney after filling out this Free Disability Evaluation:

Wishing you and your husband nothing but the best,

Thu, 07/06/2017 - 09:25 Permalink
cat's meow (not verified)

I have ALS in my 30s and have

I have ALS in my 30s and have been receiving SSDI for 2+ years. I want to cash out my Roth IRA and SEP, which I can with no tax penalty, but I'm wondering whether that will mess up my SSDI since I'll get a 1099 for above the allowable income.

Fri, 07/07/2017 - 11:16 Permalink

In reply to by cat's meow (not verified)

Hi there,

Hi there,
It may not, however it's always a good idea to contact your local SSA office regarding things like this, they can give you detailed information about your particular case.

Fri, 07/07/2017 - 14:26 Permalink
Kimberly (not verified)

I've been told that I

I've been told that I should be able to get more than what I'm getting on my SSD I get $826 a month, but by the time I pay my rent and lights and phone I am literally broke. I can't even afford the copays on my meds

Mon, 07/10/2017 - 15:25 Permalink

In reply to by Kimberly (not verified)

Hi Kimberly,

Hi Kimberly,

I am sorry to heart that. There are some instances where you can request get a higher check every month. I would recommend speaking to someone from the SSA regarding that.


Tue, 07/11/2017 - 12:24 Permalink
Kimberly (not verified)

In reply to by Eric

Thank you but i dont want a

Thank you but i dont want a higer check my question is could my 27 if he proves he was first disabled at16 while i was approved for ssdi and being a stay at home dad married she works and good pay

Tue, 10/03/2017 - 04:46 Permalink

In reply to by Kimberly (not verified)

Hi Kimberly,

Hi Kimberly,
If your child is married, he may not be eligible for disabled adult child benefits.

Fri, 10/06/2017 - 09:08 Permalink
Linda (not verified)

I am disabled and work. I

I am disabled and work. I have followed the guidelines and never gross over $1.170 per month. However, in June I received 3 paychecks, not 2 .I receive my checks every 2 weeks , and in June there was an additional paycheck. Will I be in trouble?

Mon, 07/10/2017 - 20:21 Permalink

In reply to by Linda (not verified)

Hi Linda,

Hi Linda,

That's not necessarily true, that could just be how the pay cycle was that month.


Tue, 07/11/2017 - 12:29 Permalink
Boris Dvorkin (not verified)

Hello. I have the following

Hello. I have the following question. If you are approved for SSDI and start working part- time the following month and earn less than $1,170 month are you allowed to keep earning that forever or just for 9 months. I've been given 2 different answers.

Sat, 07/15/2017 - 21:11 Permalink

In reply to by Boris Dvorkin (not verified)

Hi there,

Hi there,
You would be able to earn over $840 for nine months before you become ineligible for benefits for any month that you make under $1,170.

Mon, 07/17/2017 - 10:07 Permalink
Kathryn (not verified)

Iam on SSDI if I win a law

Iam on SSDI if I win a law suit do I have to claim it? And what is my limit for how much I can get from the law suit?

Tue, 07/18/2017 - 01:26 Permalink

In reply to by Kathryn (not verified)

Hi Kathryn,

Hi Kathryn,

Yes, you should report any additional income you receive outside of your Social Security payments.


Tue, 07/18/2017 - 09:41 Permalink
David (not verified)

I was wondering if anyone

I was wondering if anyone knows an average time frame for social security Disability. I am medically retired army with 11 years service. I'm 100% VA disability p/t. Timeline so far here in Texas. Submitted on 23 June 2017 and DDS in Austin Texas received claim on 7 July 2017. My claim was also marked expedite.

Fri, 07/21/2017 - 20:06 Permalink

In reply to by David (not verified)

Hi David,

Hi David,

Unfortunately there is no black and white answer on a time frame, however I would recommend regularly checking the status of your claim online.


Mon, 07/24/2017 - 09:25 Permalink
Gina (not verified)

In reply to by Eric

Hi David. My late husband&

Hi David. My late husband's application for SS disability was also marked expedite (fast track).. He was approved in under 3 weeks, however, there is 6 month waiting period until you receive/they release your first SS benefit payment.

Sat, 09/30/2017 - 05:59 Permalink
Karen (not verified)

Does getting married effect

Does getting married effect your disability?

Tue, 07/25/2017 - 18:05 Permalink
Nancy Gleason (not verified)

I am collecting Social

I am collecting Social Security Disability Benefits. I turn 66 on August 16, 2017. How much can I earn in income in 2017.

Wed, 07/26/2017 - 10:44 Permalink

In reply to by Nancy Gleason (not verified)

Hi there,

Hi there,
You may be able to earn up to $840 a month without a change to your benefits, however after full retirement age there is no earnings limit.

Wed, 07/26/2017 - 11:26 Permalink
Cynthia (not verified)

I am collecting Social

I am collecting Social Security Disability. I now have a chance to work part-time as a day care teachers aide. During the school year of September to June it is likely I will earn over $1170 a month, but spread out over 12 months it averages less then $1170 a month, as I will collect no wages in July or August. Is this a problem that will affect my disability eligibility? Thank you

Wed, 08/02/2017 - 14:09 Permalink

In reply to by Cynthia (not verified)

Hi Cynthia,

Hi Cynthia,

You are in a unique situation, so I would recommend reaching out to the SSA and speaking to a representative form there. 1-800-772-1213.

Best Wishes,

Wed, 08/02/2017 - 17:08 Permalink
Patti (not verified)

I have an employee who is

I have an employee who is limited to making no more than $840 a month. Do they go by work weeks paid or do they go by actual paychecks in the month, I'm wondering because sometimes the first pay of the month is for the last two weeks of the previous month which when there's three pays in the month that could throw over there total allowance?

Tue, 08/08/2017 - 19:08 Permalink
Jane (not verified)

If my boyfriend gives me $10

If my boyfriend gives me $10,000 will it affect my disability benefits

Sat, 08/12/2017 - 15:17 Permalink
Jane (not verified)

In reply to by Bryan

What is income based benefits

What is income based benefits

Sat, 08/19/2017 - 19:14 Permalink
Kay (not verified)

I get SSD move to Colorado

I get SSD move to Colorado springs in 2017 in January been 6 months now from NC, I wanted to know if my SSD will in increase next year.

Sun, 08/20/2017 - 23:17 Permalink
Bernard (not verified)

Can you receive SSDI check,

Can you receive SSDI check, PASS Plan for going to college,and work earnings $820 monthly TWP

Fri, 09/01/2017 - 21:18 Permalink

In reply to by Bernard (not verified)

Hi Bernard,

Hi Bernard,
You may be able to do so, but it'd be a good idea to contact the SSA regarding your plans about working.

Tue, 09/05/2017 - 11:58 Permalink
Mai (not verified)

Hello, can anyone tell me if,

Hello, can anyone tell me if, My disability has been $700 since, I was put on it. I've stayed updated on any/all changes an have spoking too several people about can I although been on SSDI since, 2008 as I said my payment has remained the same as you can imagine this does not come close too paying my main bills and I am in need of 3 surguries as I know of right now with no one at all too help me and unfortunely where I live the assistance here is tapped out so basically the housing authority told myself an mother the most they are able to do for me is too put me in a shelter over 3 hours from where I live now if...they have to make the choice to condem the place I am having too live right now. All, my day's are taking up by trying to find out if, there's anything possible for those who are in my situation with only 4 immediate family members by the way 1 is my daughter an another is my 3 year old granddaughter obviosly I do not have anyone too even ask too help during situations like "Harvey" for example. I was here with my toy poodle an a friend who stayed due, too 2 days before Harvey hit our area I was sick with broncitis, strep throat, legs & feet swollen HUGE VERY HUGE from edema after the 2nd day of Harvey's nightmare he dropped on so many lives I went into pneumonia. I have no money with alot of disconnects. In desperate need of help. Advice even is appreciated. God bess

Sat, 09/02/2017 - 11:28 Permalink

In reply to by Mai (not verified)

Hi Mai,

Hi Mai,
I'm sorry to hear about that! You may want to reach out to local charities regarding your situation, it's possible Habitat for Humanity may be able to help.

Tue, 09/05/2017 - 12:00 Permalink
Wanda Evans (not verified)

When I started receiving

When I started receiving Disability I also rec'd SSI I was homeless for two years. I ask SSI if I could get a check for my back pay, which they did. So I was able to get a used car and apt. But after that I never rec'd anymore money from SSI Do you know why? This was done through my lawyer. 2. I live on $974 my cost of living raise was $1.00 this year. My girlfriend has rec'd $250.00 in cost of living raises over the years but she does not have Medicare. Do they take the cost of Medicare out of my disability? And is this the reason I don't get as much as she does. Are claims are similar this is the reason I'm asking. I am 56 and she is 53 know. We used the same lawyer. I would really like to understand why I don't get SSI anymore, Why I haven't rec'd any increases in my Disability. Is my Medicare Cost taken out of my check? I do get Medicaid and $174 in food stamps. So I have what is called a combination of my Medicare and Medicaid.

Sun, 09/10/2017 - 00:15 Permalink

In reply to by Wanda Evans (not verified)

Hi there,

Hi there,
You may have become ineligible for SSI benefits due to exceeding the asset limit, you may want to contact your local SSA office regarding this.

Mon, 09/11/2017 - 11:16 Permalink
Carrie (not verified)

If I collect Ssdi and make

If I collect Ssdi and make under $840 a month and report my earnings to ssa will I lose benefits?

Mon, 09/18/2017 - 22:17 Permalink

In reply to by Carrie (not verified)

HI Carrie,

HI Carrie,
Unless you are doing work that you would not be able to do based on your disability, you may have no change in benefits.

Tue, 09/19/2017 - 10:18 Permalink
kathy (not verified)

Can someone that has raised

Can someone that has raised children and grandchildren has had 8 back surguries among other things .totally disabled can get any form of 61yrs old

Sat, 09/23/2017 - 11:14 Permalink

In reply to by kathy (not verified)

Hi Kathy,

Hi Kathy,
You may be eligible for benefits, it may be a good idea to contact the SSA regarding inquiries into your eligibility.

Wed, 09/27/2017 - 09:31 Permalink
Annette (not verified)

I have a soon to be 21 year

I have a soon to be 21 year old autistic son who is currently receiving SSI benefits. His father lost his job 2 1/2 years ago. Is it possible to request an increase and if so, how do I go about it?

Thu, 09/28/2017 - 13:58 Permalink

In reply to by Annette (not verified)

Hi Annette,

Hi Annette,
Generally the SSA would only adjust your son's benefits if his income or in-kind support that he receives ( like housing, food, cell phone bills) changes - if this is the case you may want to contact your local SSA office to report a change in his living situation.

Thu, 09/28/2017 - 14:13 Permalink
mike (not verified)

My gf has been on ssd for 5

My gf has been on ssd for 5 years still waiting .All doctor paperwork done prove she cant work at all . Government is very slow when comes to money people work for all there life .

Fri, 09/29/2017 - 12:11 Permalink

In reply to by mike (not verified)

Hi Mike,

Hi Mike,

Sorry to hear that, you're right this can be very long process. Wishing you and your girlfriend nothing but the best.

Mon, 10/02/2017 - 09:25 Permalink
Gina (not verified)

Hi. Before I head to our

Hi. Before I head to our local SS office (where the lines & wait time is 5x's worse than that of DMV office) I would like any input from those that "know the answers" to the following criteria...

~ Gary) final divorce date = 1/6/17. Ex wife dragged out divorce over 1.5 yrs - hoping he would die while still married to him. They were married 15yrs.
~ Gary (was approved for SS disability in Aug 2016 (stage 4 metastatic prostate cancer)
~ SS disability waiting period = 6 months (for first check to kick in)
~Feb 2017 = first SS check is expected Mar 2017 (SS holds back one month)
~Mar 8, 2017 % I brought Gary home with Hospice care.
~Mar 8, 2017 = We married.
~Mar 16, 2017 = Gary died.

I was only b his c8 day bride

Sat, 09/30/2017 - 05:52 Permalink

In reply to by Gina (not verified)

Hi Gina,

Hi Gina,
It's unclear what your question is, what can we help you with? You may be eligible for survivor's benefits.

Tue, 10/03/2017 - 09:09 Permalink

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