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

Dan (not verified)

In reply to by Eric

Do you know who I can contact

Do you know who I can contact to do it cause plenty of people on here are talking about holding on to a SSDI Card that aren't there's so I just want me money from my card then the card closed cause I want to move forward in life cause they drink and smoke to much and I quit all of that and I'm 28yrs old so I should be able to have hold of my own money.

Mon, 02/19/2018 - 22:14 Permalink
D. Jacobs (not verified)

I know someone who received

I know someone who received ssdi AND ssi at the same time. Any knowledge on how or why thats possible?

Sun, 02/25/2018 - 19:38 Permalink

In reply to by D. Jacobs (not verified)

It is possible--if the SSDI

It is possible--if the SSDI payment is lower than the SSI payment, the SSA can award both.

Thu, 03/01/2018 - 08:45 Permalink
Beans (not verified)

If I made $4,000.00 over the

If I made $4,000.00 over the yearly income for SSDI, will I lose my benefits if it only happened for 1 year?

Mon, 03/05/2018 - 19:26 Permalink
miguelito (not verified)

I have severe rheumatoid

I have severe rheumatoid arthritis and can not work ,I do get money from selling calves from cows I own.. can I get ssdi?

Thu, 03/08/2018 - 21:28 Permalink

In reply to by miguelito (not verified)

Hi Miguelito! Rheumatoid

Hi Miguelito! Rheumatoid Arthritis is a qualifying disability. You can start the application process online with the SSA. If you consistently earn $1,180 a month or more you will not qualify for disability benefits.

Fri, 03/09/2018 - 14:29 Permalink
Wanda (not verified)

I have SSI Disability and

I have SSI Disability and considering selling a home, where I would receive monthly payments. Will this affect my SSI?

Sun, 03/11/2018 - 16:20 Permalink

In reply to by Wanda (not verified)

Hi Wanda,

Hi Wanda,

SSI Disability (SSDI) and SSI (Supplemental Security Insurance) are two different things.

If you are on SSI, your benefits will be affected.

If you are on SSDI, it will not.

Mon, 03/12/2018 - 16:00 Permalink
Irene Vertullo… (not verified)

I had My appeal a month ago .

I had My appeal a month ago . How long does it take to make a final decision? When decision is met how long untill I get My lump sum back pay , my regular benefits and my children’s benefit

Tue, 03/13/2018 - 17:15 Permalink

In reply to by Irene Vertullo… (not verified)

Hi Irene,

Hi Irene,

Every case is different, so I can't say for sure when you'll hear back. There usually is a five month waiting period after approval to get your backpay. Then your regular benefits start after that.

Wed, 03/14/2018 - 14:55 Permalink
Yolanda (not verified)

my husband had aids, and uses

my husband had aids, and uses s si Medicaid to pay for his meds....he got a review letter in the mail saying he ha e to prove he is disabled to co tinue benefits...he just got a part time job to support me and our baby on the way will this affect his elibility

Tue, 07/03/2018 - 12:39 Permalink

In reply to by Yolanda (not verified)

Hi Yolanda,

Hi Yolanda,

It would only affect his SSD benefits if earns more than $850 for his monthly income. If he earns more than that it could trigger a work trial period.

Tue, 07/03/2018 - 14:06 Permalink
pj (not verified)

I am the mother of a disables

I am the mother of a disables child. If i apply for ssd for him, can i keep my 401K?

Wed, 08/15/2018 - 16:38 Permalink

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