Social Security-Based Benefits Will Increase 1.7 Percent in 2015

People with special needs and seniors will see their Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits inch up 1.7 percent in 2015, the Social Security Administration has announced.

This increase, known as a cost of living adjustment or COLA, affects anyone who receives federal retirement or disability benefits.  According to government estimates, in 2015 the average individual Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) beneficiary will receive $1,165 a month, an increase of $19 over the 2014 average benefit.  The average family SSDI benefit will increase by $33 to $1,976 a month.  The COLA changes also affect the monthly Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) threshold, which is the top amount that a typical worker may earn before he is no longer considered eligible for federal disability benefits.  In 2015, this limit will increase to $1,090 for a non-blind worker and $1,820 for a blind worker.  

The federal SSI payment standard is also set to increase by $12 a month to $733 for an individual and  by $18 to $1,100 for a couple.  These are critically important numbers for SSI recipients because they indicate the maximum amount of income that an SSI beneficiary may receive in a month without losing access to benefits.  As has been the case for many years, the $2,000 individual and $3,000 per couple SSI resource limits have stayed the same.  Students who receive SSI will be able to exclude $1,780 in monthly income, up to a yearly total of $7,180.

For a complete list of the 2015 Social Security changes, go to: http://www.ssa.gov/news/press/factsheets/colafacts2015.html

Article Last Modified: 10/31/2014

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