As Social Security Disability Insurance program undergoes a number of changes like the recent change with increase in benefits by 0.3%, medical record retrieval for medical records review is critical. The program was originally limited to individuals who were age 50 or older. There were no benefits payable to spouses and children and there was also a 6-month waiting period. However, at present social security beneficiaries can also receive Medicare coverage after 24 months. Moreover, their dependents may be eligible to receive benefits based on their earnings records. The program also offers work incentives to enable people with disabilities to return to work. As of June 2016, more than $11 billion is sent each month in social security disability payments and more than 10 million disabled workers and their dependents receive a portion of this money.
The SSA (Social Security Administration) has announced that the 2017 COLA (Cost of Living Adjustment) for beneficiaries will be 0.3%, and this will take effect in January 2017 for the more than 60 million Social Security beneficiaries. COLA adjustment will be applied to the payments made to another 8 million SSI (Supplemental Security Income) beneficiaries starting December 30, 2016. This group includes qualifying low-income blind or disabled seniors, and some disabled or blind low-income adults and children. The SSI payments are made through the Treasury Department, and not the Social Security trust fund.
Here are some facts.
- For all retired persons, the average monthly benefit will rise from $1,355 to $1,360.
- Workers claiming at full retirement age will receive an amount of $2,687 (now this is $2,639) as maximum monthly benefit.
- Couples receiving benefits will see an increase in average monthly benefits from $2,254 to $2,260.
- Average benefits will increase from $1,296 to $1,300 for a single widow.
- A widowed mother with two children will receive $2,695 per month compared to the present $2,686.
- For all disabled workers, the average monthly payments will increase from $1,167 to $1,171.
- A disabled worker with a spouse and one or more children will have an increase in benefits from $1,990 to $1,996.
The cap on income subject to Social Security tax will increase from this year’s limit of $118,500 to $127,200 in 2017.
- The earning limits for workers younger than full retirement age will increase to $16,920 in 2017 (now this is $15,720). Retirees claiming early benefits will see $1 in benefits being withheld for every $2 in earnings above that limit.
- The earnings limit will increase to $44,880 for people turning 66 in 2017. Now this limit is set at $41,880. For the months prior to attaining full retirement age, one dollar in benefits will be withheld for every three dollars in earnings above the limit.
- Once retirees touch full retirement age, there is no limit on earnings.
The 0.3% COLA increase for 2017 will be the lowest non-zero increase since the automatic adjustments connected with inflation commenced in the year 1975. The adjustment has never been below 1% since that time. This small adjustment is attributed to the fact that inflation has been negligible, and beneficiaries have not required upward adjustments to retain the purchasing power of their benefits.