2017 Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) for Federal Disability & SSI Benefits

2017 COLA for SSDI & SSI

2017 COLA for SSDI & SSI

Beneficiaries of federal disability benefits and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) can expect a 0.3 percent Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) for 2017.

The COLA, which is based on the increase in the Consumer Price Index (CPI-W), is projected to impact more than 65 million Americans, according to the Social Security Administration (SSA).

The following outlines how the 2017 COLA will, on average, increase disability benefits and SSI in 2017 (based on a beneficiary’s circumstances).

Type of Beneficiary

2016 Benefits
(before COLA)

2017 Benefits
(with COLA)

Disabled worker

$1,167

$1,171

Disabled worker with a spouse & at least one child

$1,990

$1,996
SSI for an individual $733

$735

SSI for a couple $1,100

$1,103

Additional Social Security Changes for 2017: What Beneficiaries Need to Know

  • Social Security disability thresholds – In 2017, non-blind disability beneficiaries can earn up to $1,170 per month (versus $1,130/mo. in 2016) and still be eligible to receive benefits. Blind beneficiaries will be able to earn up to $1,950/mo. (versus $1,820/mo. in 2016) without compromising their eligibility for benefits. Here, it’s important to understand that earning income may result in a reduction to benefits (and that earning more than the above-noted thresholds can disqualify beneficiaries from being eligible to ongoing receiving benefits).
  • SSI resource limits for 2017 – Although there is a COLA for 2017, the resources limits for SSI beneficiaries for 2017 remain unchanged (i.e., they are the same as in 2016). Specifically, these resource limits will remain at $2,000 for individuals and at $3,000 for couples.
  • Maximum taxable earnings for 2017 – This year, the maximum taxable earnings have increased by $8,700, rising from $118,500 in 2016 to $127,200 in 2017. The tax rate for Social Security, however, will remain unchanged, staying at 7.65% for employees and 15.30% for self-employed professionals.

A Final Word about the 2017 COLA

While the 2017 COLA increases the amount of benefits that beneficiaries can receive this year, it’s important for beneficiaries to remember (or be aware) that:

  • Their cases are subject to regular reviews by the SSA – These reviews are meant to verify that a particular beneficiary still qualifies for federal disability and/or SSI benefits. The frequency of these reviews will depend on the type of benefits being received, as well as other factors (like the health condition of the beneficiary).
  • The SSA does not always make the right decision – Unfortunately, officials at the SSA do not always make the proper decision when reviewing claims (for first-time benefit claims, as well as for appeals or existing open cases). This may be due to the fact that they don’t have all of the information they need, they misinterpret the information they do have, etc. The bottom line here is that you should NOT take a denial of benefits as the last word on your claim. If your benefits are denied (or wrongly reduced), it’s best to consult a lawyer who can point out your rights and options.

Need Help Securing Benefits? Contact Portland Disability & SSI Lawyer Richard A. Sly

For experienced help applying for federal disability and/or SSI benefits, contact Portland Disability & SSI Lawyer Richard A. Sly.

Since 1963, Attorney Richard A. Sly has been dedicated to helping his clients navigate the complexities of the SSA so that they can secure the benefits they need and deserve. Skilled at building his clients the strongest possible cases the first time around, Richard Sly is also experienced at pursuing appeals when mistakes or wrong decisions lead to reductions, denials or the termination of benefits.

The bottom line is that, with Richard Sly on your side, you can be sure that you have a seasoned advocate working tirelessly to help you secure the full amount of benefits to which you may be entitled.

Call (503) 406-1471 or email us via the contact form on this page to set up a free, no obligations case evaluation and find out more about:

  • What you need to do to position your claim for approval
  • How Richard Sly can help you.

Conveniently located in downtown Portland (near public transportation), we serve clients throughout the states of Washington and Oregon.