Federal Disability Benefits Set to Rise Only 1.5 Percent

People with disabilities and senior citizens can expect a small, 1.5 percent increase in their Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits in the new year, an even smaller cost of living adjustment than last year's 1.7 percent.

Beginning on December 31, 2013, the maximum federal SSI benefit for an individual will increase from $710 per month to $721 and the benefit for married couples will nudge up from $1,066 to $1,082. These new numbers will also be used as the upper income limits for qualifying for the SSI program, although the $2,000 asset limit for an individual and the $3,000 asset limit for a couple remain unchanged.

The cost of living increase also applies to Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits and Social Security retirement benefits. According to the Social Security Administration, the average SSDI recipient will receive $1,148 a month in 2014 and a worker with a disability who has a spouse and at least one child will receive, on average, $1,943, up from $1,131 and $1,914 this year, respectively. Starting on January 1, 2014, a senior retiring at the full retirement age will receive a maximum Social Security benefit of $2,642 in 2014.

The monthly Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) threshold, used to determine whether a worker's income is too high for him to qualify as "disabled"and therefore receive SSDI benefits, will also increase in 2014, from $1,040 for a non-blind individual to $1,070. People who are blind will see their SGA limit climb from $1,740 per month to $1,800.

For a complete list of the 2014 Social Security changes, go to: http://www.ssa.gov/pressoffice/factsheets/colafacts2014.html

Article Last Modified: 11/19/2013