Many Greenville SSDI beneficiaries mistakenly believe that they can increase their Social Security Disability Insurance benefits if they can prove that their condition or disability has gotten worse. Unfortunately, this is not true, and any Greenville social security lawyer can confirm it.
As the program definition explains, Social Security Disability benefits are only available to those who are “insured”, namely who have worked and paid their Social Security taxes. It depends on the beneficiary’s lifetime earnings and payments before their disability set in, and not on their disability.
While the existence of a disability, of a condition that prevents the applicant from engaging in substantially gainful activities, is mandatory, its aggravation does not increase SSDI benefits amount. However, the benefits amount may increase in two different situations that we will discuss in the following lines.
The Two Ways to Increase Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits
1. Cost-of-Living Adjustments (COLA) Increases
COLA is an index the Social Security Administration uses when calculating SSDI benefits to keep up with fluctuations in the cost of living, to adjust Social Security Disability Insurance benefit amounts to any fluctuations in the prices of services and goods.
The Department of Labor’s Consumer Price Index measures keeps track of any increases in the prices of services and goods. The Consumer Price Index reflects increases in those prices and, implicitly, in the cost of living. Therefore, COLA evolutions reflect fluctuations of the Consumer Price Index.
For 2018, the SSA announced an increase of 2% in the SSDI and SSI benefits due to COLA. According to their estimates, more than 61 million beneficiaries have been enjoying this increase starting with January 2018.
2. Additional Social Security Payments
Another way to increase SSDI benefits is through additional social security tax payments. This is only possible for those who continue to work while receiving SSDI benefits, and should not be attempted without the advice of an experienced Greenville social security lawyer.
As mentioned above, the Social Security Disability Insurance benefits someone receives depend on the number of years they worked and paid social security taxes before becoming disabled, and on their earnings (taxes paid) throughout those years.
Therefore, someone who continues to work and pay social security taxes while receiving SSDI benefits should be able to see an increase in the benefits they receive. In practice, this is mostly true for those who have worked for few years and had low earnings.
Also, the strategy can backfire, since the main requirement for someone to receive SSDI benefits is to be unable to perform substantially gainful activities. For 2018, these activities include any type of work that could bring an SSDI beneficiary monthly earnings of $1,180.
It is important to note that, if a beneficiary works and earns just under $1,180 and the SSA conclude they are able to work a few hours more or perform some other type of substantially gainful activity, their SSDI benefits, no matter their value, would be in danger.
The best proof that SSDI benefits do not depend on one’s disability, income, or other factors than the ones mentioned above is that, upon reaching full retirement age, SSDI benefits automatically turn into retirement benefits, and the amount remains unchanged or increases very little, subject to the above-explained factors.
At the same time, two SSDI beneficiaries in Greenville SC who have the same disability may receive significantly different amounts, depending on the number of years they worked and on their earnings and, implicitly, social security taxes paid.
Those who feel their SSDI benefits do not reflect their rights or financial situation can use the SSA benefits calculator to estimate how much money they should receive, or create a My Social Security Account on the SSA website. The best solution to receive answers to any SSDI-related questions, advice, and assistance with any related formalities is to consult an SSDI insurance lawyer.
Get in Touch with an Experienced Social Security Lawyer in Greenville, SC, Today!
If you have questions related to your Social Security Disability Insurance benefits amount, you need assistance applying for benefits, or you want to increase SSDI benefits but you do not know how you should consult an experienced attorney.
- Robert Surface has been helping many Greenville, SC, residents obtain SSDI benefits, representing them and defending their interests in front of the SSA. He can help you too, and the first consultation with him is FREE!
You can schedule it now, by calling (864)300-4994 of filling in the online contact form. You are one step away from receiving the advice you need from an experienced and reputed Greenville social security lawyer, so why waste any more time!