Many Bremen residents rely on federal assistance due to a disability that prevents them from working. Those who do meet the requirements to collect Social Security Disability, or SSD benefits, will want to understand how a number of changes to the program in 2018 may impact them.

The best news for many will be the 2 percent increase in the amounts beneficiaries receive. This is the largest annual cost-of-living increase since 2012. For those who cannot earn an income due to their inability to work, this will be welcome assistance for medical bills, transportation, and other daily expenses.

SSD beneficiaries who are able to work and still meet the requirements for benefits will also be affected by another announced change. That change is to the maximum amount they can earn and still qualify for benefits. For those who are legally blind, the threshold will increase by $20, up to $1,970 per month. For others who are not blind, the threshold will be $1,180 per month — an increase of $10 from the 2017 threshold.

The good news needs to be taken in context, however. The cost-of-living increase reflects a rise in inflation, which came as a result of the rise in gas prices due to multiple hurricanes damaging oil and gas infrastructure in 2017. And unlikely to change is the rate at which disabled Bremen residents seeking SSD benefits continue to be initially denied. An experienced legal professional can help disabled applicants make a strong case for the support they need.

Source: USA Today, “Social Security: 7 guideline changes coming in 2018,” Sean Williams, Oct. 23, 2017