Each year, the Social Security Administration makes adjustments to the amount of payments beneficiaries receive as well as the qualifications for receiving benefits, and 2021 is no different. If you’re receiving benefits, or intend to apply for disability benefits in 2021, here’s a rundown of the changes you can expect to see in the New Year.
The Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA)
Each year, the SSA makes its cost of living adjustments (COLA) to the amount of benefits they payout, based on increases or decreases in the cost of living during the previous year. The purpose of the COLA is to ensure that a beneficiaries’ ability to afford to pay for necessities (food, rent, energy, etc.) is not eroded by inflation. For 2021, the SSA Cost of Living Adjustment, or COLA, will mean an increase in payments by 1.3 percent.
Beneficiaries will see the increased benefits starting in January of 2021 (For SSI beneficiaries, the increased benefits will begin on December 31, 2020).
Other Changes to SSA Benefits You Can Expect To See in SSA Benefits in 2021
In addition to the COLA increases in benefits, other changes to SSA disability benefits in 2021 include:
- The maximum possible Social Security monthly benefits for someone who retires at age 66 will be $3,148 in 2021 – that’s up $137 from 2020.
- The maximum amount of your earnings subject to the Social Security tax (taxable maximum) will increase to $142,800.
- The full retirement age is increasing by two months; if you were born in 1959, you’ll have to wait until you’re 66 years and 10 months old before you qualify to receive full monthly benefits.
- The earnings limit for workers who are younger than “full” retirement age (66) will increase to $18,960. The SSA will deduct $1 from your benefits for each $2 you earn over $18,960.
- For people reaching their “full” retirement age (66 years, 10 months) in 2021, the earnings limit (the amount of money you can earn while working and still receive full benefits) will increase to $50,520. (The SSA will deduct $1 from your benefits for each $3 earned over $50,520 until the month the worker turns “full” retirement age.)
- There are no limits on earnings for workers who are “full” retirement age or older (67+) in 2021.
- Workers who collect Social Security Disability Insurance will be able to earn more in 2021 without losing their benefits. Starting next year, a non-blind disabled worker will be able to earn up to $1,310 a month before losing their benefits — up $600 from 2020. Workers who are blind will be able to earn up to $2,190 before losing their benefits — $960 more than in 2020.
- The cost of a work credit will increase. To qualify for benefits from the SSA, you have to earn at least 40 work credits. (You earn a maximum of 4 work credits per year of employment). In 2021, it’ll take $1,470 in earned income to earn one-lifetime work credit, up from $1,410 in 2020.
Are You Getting the Full Social Security Disability Benefits You Deserve?
Social Security disability benefits help millions of Americans pay their bills while they’re unable to work. The law offices of Marc Whitehead & Associates have helped disabled workers all over the country obtain the disability benefits they are entitled to, even after their claims for benefits have been rejected. In most instances, claims for SSA disability benefits are denied not because the applicant doesn’t deserve them, but simply because they failed to provide the SSA with the necessary information they require to make a decision.
It’s a fact that your chances of successfully obtaining benefits during an appeal increase when your case is handled by a skilled disability benefits attorney. If you need to appeal a denial of disability benefits, don’t repeat the same mistakes that led to your original claim being rejected: call Marc Whitehead & Associates to schedule a free, no-obligation initial consultation with an experienced Social Security disability benefits attorney to discuss your case.