Key Changes to Social Security Disability in 2022

Every year, the Social Security Administration (SSA) makes adjustments to its various benefits programs. Recipients of retirement or disability benefits generally see changes to their payments. The SSA may also adjust eligibility requirements, tax rates, and other aspects of its programs. It’s important for Social Security Disability (SSD) beneficiaries to stay up-to-date on the SSA’s annual changes to this program.

If you think you may be eligible for SSD benefits, The Law Offices of Michael Hartup can help you with your claim. We can walk you through the application or appeals process and even file paperwork on your behalf. Contact our office in Jackson, Tennessee, to schedule a consultation. 

An Overview of SSD

Disabled Americans with qualifying conditions may be eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits. To receive disability payments, you must have a qualifying physical or mental disability and have worked (and contributed to Social Security) long enough to build up work credits. 

The minimum number of work credits required to qualify for SSD payments depends on your age. If you are younger than 24 when you become disabled, you may qualify with as few as 6 credits if you earned them within 3 years prior to your disability. If you’re older than 30, however, you need at least 20 work credits, and you must have earned them in the 10 years prior to your disability.

SSD Changes for 2022

The SSA’s 2022 changes to the SSD program were primarily based on the rise in the Consumer Price Index, as calculated from the third quarter of 2020 through the third quarter of 2021. The Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) for 2022 was 5.9 percent.

Benefits Increase

Based on the 2022 COLA, the estimated average monthly SSD payment for a disabled worker increased from $1,282 to $1,358. This represents a monthly increase of $76 from the average SSD payment in 2021. The 2022 increase was more significant ($133/month) for a disabled worker who has a spouse and at least one child. The estimated average SSD payment for a married disabled worker with at least one child in 2022 is $2,383 (up from $2,250 in 2021).

Higher Substantial Gainful Activity Limit 

You are allowed to work while receiving SSD benefits, but the SSA limits the amount you can earn and still qualify for disability payments. For 2022, the “substantial gainful activity (SGA)” limit is $1,350 per month. This is a slight increase ($40) from the SGA limit in 2021. 

The SGA rules are slightly different for SSD beneficiaries who are blind. The SGA threshold for blind beneficiaries is $2,260, which represents a $70 increase over the 2021 limit. 

If you are receiving SSD benefits and think you may be able to return to work, you can participate in a Trial Work Period to determine whether you can go back to working full-time. In 2022, TWP workers can earn up to $970 per month and still remain eligible for SSD benefits. This is a slight increase over the 2021 limit of $940.

Contact Michael Hartup for Help With Your SSD Claim

Due to the increase in the Consumer Price Index between 2020 and 2021, the SSA made some changes to disability benefits for 2022. The monthly payments for SSD beneficiaries increased, as did the limit on substantial gainful activity. 
Filing for SSD benefits can be complicated, and many legitimate claims are denied due to simple errors. If you want assistance with your SSD claim or appeal, contact Michael Hartup, an experienced disability attorney. Your consultation is free, and representation fees only apply if you end up qualifying for benefits. To schedule an appointment at our Jackson office, call 731-424-5559 or contact us online.