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Changes to the Federal Disability Program for 2019

Social Security paperwork

The Social Security Administration (SSA) has revealed significant changes to the Social Security Disability Administration (SSDI). For many recipients, this means an increase in monthly benefit payments—thanks to a Cost-Of-Living-Allowance (COLA) adjustment. The SAA has released a Fact Sheet which details revised earnings thresholds, COLA changes, and maximum benefits.

The Changes for 2019

Policy revisions have increased the average monthly SSDI payment and SSDI income eligibility threshold. This means applicants can earn more money through employment and remain qualified. It also means those who are approved receive more money every month. The increases include:

  • SSDI Eligibility — To qualify, applicants can earn no more than $1,220 per month by working. Legally blind applicants can earn double this amount. Previously, applicants could earn no more than $1,180 per month—or $1,970 a month if blind.
  • SSDI Amount — COLA adjustments have increased SSDI payments by 2.8%, for an average monthly benefit of $1,234. A recipient with a spouse and a child now receives $2,130 a month. These figures increase from $1,200 and $2,072 respectively.

Potential Upcoming Changes

The recently proposed presidential budget for fiscal year 2020 calls for a decrease in Social Security spending of approximately $26 billion over 10 years. Approximately $10 billion of this reduction comes from efforts to reduce retroactive payments from one year to six months. Experts suggest such a change has little chance of passing, however.

A Note on Eligibility

According to eligibility guidelines, applicants must have paid into SSDI for a number of years based upon a person’s age. The SSA gives applicants credit for each quarter they have worked, provided they have paid Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) or self-employment taxes. The work credits an applicant needs depends upon their age at the time of application. For 2019, the income required to earn credit for a quarter has increased to $1,360—up from $1,320 in 2018.

We Can Help.

If you are unable to work due to a medical condition, mental illness, or injury; contact Daggett Shuler for help. An experienced Social Security Disability Insurance attorney can handle all of the paperwork and details necessary to work to secure the SSDI benefits you deserve.

If you have questions about Social Security Disability Insurance benefits—or if your claim has been denied—call Daggett Shuler Law at 336-724-1234. When you call, you will speak with a North Carolina Social Security Disability Insurance Attorney absolutely FREE. We will investigate every detail of your situation at no cost to you—and fight hard to secure the benefits you deserve. 

Daggett Shuler Law – You Can Depend on Us

I would like to take time to thank the staff at Daggett Shuler Attorneys at Law. To Megan Youngblood for helping me get my disability started; thank you so much for everything!

Olivia Winston