Social Security Lawyers ChicagoPeriodically, there are changes to the social security program that may affect those applying for benefits. Social Security Disability programs allow many disabled people to remain financially stable, and changes are closely monitored by Social Security lawyers and disability advocates.

Cost-of-Living Adjustment

There are several parameters that affect the SSI and SSDI programs. Each October, the Social Security Administration utilizes a formula set by Federal law to determine benefit increases. The cost-of-living adjustment, or COLA, is one of these parameters.

Because there was no increase in the Consumer Price Index from the third quarter of 2014 to the third quarter of 2015, COLA was not raised and monthly Social Security benefits did not automatically increase in 2016.

Changes in 2016

Although there was no COLA adjustment, there were some changes to the Social Security disability programs in 2016.

When applying for SSI, individuals may not earn more than $1,130 per month, with the exception of those who are legally blind, who can earn up to $1,820 per month. Any amount earned over $733 will reduce the benefit. Those receiving benefits for longer than one month are no longer prevented from exceeding this work income threshold. The reduction in benefits for amounts over $733 will still apply. Students under age 22 may make $1,750 per month, with an annual limit of $7,060.

Future Changes

Currently, the Social Security program offers two types of disability programs. Social Security Disability Insurance, or SSDI, is available to those who have accumulated a certain number of work credits and Supplemental Security Income, or SSI, is available to low-income people who have never worked or who have not earned enough work credits to qualify for SSDI.

Monetary concerns have led to heated debates about Social Security as a whole by Federal lawmakers. What changes may be ahead are still unknown, but it would seem that some sort of change is inevitable.

According to the Social Security Administration, projections for SSDI show increasing costs and a declining income from the trust fund, leading to eventual insolvency. In contrast, the SSI program appears to be stable and may actually end up reducing its costs.

Applicants to either program are urged to monitor changes. Chicago Social Security lawyersanswer questions and assist individuals who may apply for benefits in the future.