SSA’s increase will continue to help the disabled

Published 6:10 pm Saturday, October 20, 2012

The Social Security Administration announced a 1.7 percent cost-of-living increase for 2013.

This modest increase will help preserve the buying power of Social Security benefits for nearly 62 million Americans, including many people with intellectual and developmental disabilities who receive benefits under the Social Security retirement, survivors, and disability systems.

According to SSA, the average monthly retirement benefit will increase by $21, from $1,240 in 2012 to $1,261 in 2013.

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The average monthly benefit for a “disabled worker” will increase by $19, from $1,113 in 2012 to $1,132 in 2013. Higher Medicare premiums will likely offset some of this increase.

Changes in Medicare premiums will be announced later this year at

The cost-of-living increase will affect many parts of the Social Security system, including important thresholds under the Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income programs, including:

•Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) level: The SGA for SSDI and SSI will increase from $1,010 per month to $1,040 per month for non-blind beneficiaries, and from $1,690 per month to $1,740 per month for blind beneficiaries.

•Trial Work Period: The TWP for SSDI will increase from $720 per month to $750 per month.

•SSI Federal Payment Standard: The SSI federal payment standard will increase for an individual from $698 per month to $710 per month, and for a couple from $1,048 per month to $1,066 per month.

•SSI Student Exclusion: The SSI student exclusion monthly limit will increase from $1,700 to $1,730, and the SSI student exclusion annual limit will increase from $6,840 to $6,960.

•Annual cost-of-living adjustments: These adjustments are a vital part of ensuring that Social Security beneficiaries do not see their buying power eroded by inflation. SSDI and SSI benefits are modest, averaging only about $1,111 per month for SSDI beneficiaries in the “disabled worker” category and $520 per month for SSI beneficiaries.

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Jamey Helgeson is the Program Director at The Arc Mower County and can be reached at or by calling 507-433-8994, Extension 102. You can also visit our website ( and follow us on Facebook (