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Recent SSD Legal Updates and Policy Changes

There are quite a few legal updates, policy changes, and other adjustments being made to Social Security Disability (SSD) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits in 2024. Below is an overview of some of the key SSD changes.

Our Social Security Disability disability lawyers are here to help you obtain benefits, so contact Ascend Disability today.

Overall Increase in Benefit Amount for SSI in 2024

Over 71 million Americans will receive an increase in their SSI benefits by 3.2 percent in 2024, according to the Social Security Administration (SSA). The Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Kilolo Kijakazi, reportedly stated that this increase “will help millions of people keep up with expenses.”

This cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) will be distributed in phases at two different points throughout the year:

  • Approximately 7.5 million recipients started to see their benefit adjustment back on December 29, 2023.
  • The remaining beneficiaries (over 66 million beneficiaries) will start to receive their COLA in January 2024.

On average, this means that the monthly Social Security retirement benefit amount will increase by over $50 effective January 2024. According to the Social Security Act, the COLA increase is tied to the increase included within the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners & Clerical Workers (CPI-W). This increase is much lower than the 8.7 percent COLA received in 2023, but at least it is still an increase.

The SSA started notifying qualified recipients about the new benefit amount by mail starting in early December 2023. However, those with personal online accounts were able to access their COLA notices online in addition to email and text alerts (if activated) instead of waiting for the correspondence to appear in the mail. If you do not have an online account yet, this provides a clear incentive.

SSD changes in 2024

Increase in Maximum Earnings Amount & Other Related Limits

The maximum earnings amount that is subject to the Social Security tax has increased to $168,600.

  • Workers Younger than the “Full” Retirement Age: Their earnings limit has increased to $22,320. The SSA deducts $1 from a person’s benefits for every $2 earned over that limit.
  • Workers Who Will Reach the “Full” Retirement Age in 2024: The earnings limit has been bumped up to $59,520. The SSA deducts $1 from a person’s benefits for every $3 earned over the limit until the “full” retirement age is met.
  • Workers Who Reached the “Full” Retirement Age Before 2024: There is still no limit on the earnings of workers who reached the “full” retirement age in prior years.

Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) 

To maintain eligibility for your disability benefits, you must be unable to participate in substantial gainful activity (SGA). This means that a person earns more than a specific number each month, depending on the nature of his or her disability.

  • The SGA limit for blind people in 2024 is $2,590.
  • The SGA limit for non-blind people in 2024 is $1,550.

Any changes to these amounts are typically aligned with the changes made to the national average wage index.

Trial Work Period Months for 2024

The Trial Work Period (TWP) is one of the key work incentives provided by the SSA to assist people with the transition back into the workforce. This period allows SSDI benefit recipients to test the “waters” of the workforce without having to deal with an immediate benefit reduction.

The SSA will not consider any work done during the TWP as proof that the disability is over until those services have been rendered for 9 nonconsecutive months within a rolling 60-month (5-year) period. The benefit amount threshold during the TWP has increased from $1,050 a month in 2023 to $1,110 in 2024.

How Do These Social Security Disability Changes Affect Me? 

If you need assistance with determining exactly how these changes apply to your case, you should contact Ascend Disability to get help from an experienced Social Security Disability lawyer.

Doing so will help you to get your questions answered and your concerns addressed, so that you will be able to navigate all SSD changes in 2024.

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