COLA, or cost of living adjustments, are made every year for Social Security disability recipients. 2019’s cost of living adjustments were unveiled in October 2018. With a 2.8% increase, this year the SSA made its biggest changes to COLA since 2012. Here are some of the numbers that may affect your firm and its caseload:
1. Maximum Taxable Earnings Increased
This year, the income needed to earn full SSDI benefits increased from $128,400 per year to $132,900 per year. This means that it may be harder to sign claimants who will earn the maximum SSDI payment per month. The good news is that other Social Security payments increased, meaning your firm can still earn more in 2019.
2. Maximum SSI and SSDI Benefits Increased
The maximum SSDI benefit increased by $73 to $2,861 per month, while the maximum SSI benefit went up by $21 to $771 per month. While your firm won’t be signing clients who’ll earn the maximum every time, all disability payments will increase, so your firm should have higher average settlements in 2019.
For example, if you earn an average of $65 more per case and take about 20 new clients on per month, you’ll earn nearly $16,000 more per year from cost of living adjustments. Nationwide firms handling 150 clients per month will earn an additional $117,000 per year. That’s more than enough to hire at least one new attorney.
3. Student SSI Income Limits Increased
Student Earned Income Exclusion is a threshold for students with a disability who are currently attending school, college, or vocational training. The maximum yearly limit for students increased from $7,350 to $7,550. While $200 may not seem like much, it will allow for thousands of students to qualify for SSI. This means that your firm will have an easier time signing cases that typically would have been impossible to pursue.
4. Substantial Gainful Activity Increased
Substantial Gainful Activity, or SGA, is the metric the SSA uses to determine if an applicant is able to work. The current monthly limit for SGA for a non-blind individual is $1,220 per month, or $2,040 for people who are blind. These are $40 and $70 increases respectively from 2019.
An increase in SGA means that more people who still have part-time jobs will be able to qualify for Social Security disability benefits. Again, this means that your firm may be able to sign more cases in 2019 when compared to 2018 due to higher income thresholds.
Need More Social Security Cases?
2018 was one of the best years of all time for Social Security disability attorneys, and 2019 is poised to be equally profitable. Now is the time to increase your caseload to make 2019 your best year yet. If you’d like to learn more information about our Social Security disability leads for advocates and attorneys nationwide, give us a call today at 617.800.0089. We’ve been a leader in the Social Security lead space since we opened our office doors in 2009, and we’d love to discuss our current availability in your state today.