Cost-of-Living Increase Means Higher Disability Payments for 2013

Recently, the Social Security Administration announced in the Federal Register [] that there will be a 1.7% increase in Social Security Fotolia_34037270_XS.jpgpayments effective December 2012. The reason for the increase is due to an increase in the cost-of-living (COLA). Because of this increase, benefits for Social Security disability recipients will increase for 2013. The maximum benefit amount for monthly benefits in 2013 under the SSI program will be $710 for an eligible individual and $1,066 for an eligible individual with an eligible spouse. The maximum benefit amount for monthly benefits in 2013 under the Title II, SSDI program with be $1,132 for a disabled worker and $1,919 for a disabled worker, spouse, and one or more children (with the maximum monthly benefit topping out at $2,533 a month).

As a result of the COLA, the substantial gainful activity earning threshold has increased from $1,010 to $1,040 a month for non-blind workers. Fro blind workers the substantial gainful activity threshold has increased from $1,690 to $1,740.

Up until 1975, by enactment, determined what increases should be applied to Social Security Disability benefits. Beginning in 1975, Congress determined that Social Security Disability benefits should be adjusted by the COLA. Between 1975 and 2012, Social Security Disability benefits have been increased every year with the exception of 2009 and 2010. In those years, there was no increase.

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