The Social Security Administration (SSA) has announced changes to Social Security benefits and taxes for 2021. All or some of these changes may affect deductions from your paycheck, amount of entitlement and retirement benefits, as well as eligibility for disability benefits.

The 10 Most Important SSA Changes for 2021:

* Your Social Security benefits (SSDI and SSI) will increase by 1.3% in 2021 (last year they increased by 1.6%).

* The SSI* payment for 2021 for an individual is $794/month; for a couple, the maximum monthly payment is $1,991.

* For 2021, (a) the maximum monthly retirement benefit for an individual who retired at age 70 (delayed retirement) is $3,895/month, (b)the maximum monthly retirement benefit for an individual who retired at age 66 is $3,113/month and (c) for an individual who retired at age 62, the maximum amount is $2,324/month. The disability benefit amount is the same as a full, unreduced retirement benefit.

* While you can start taking (reduced) retirement benefits at age 62, your full retirement age, if you turned age 62 in 2020, was 66 years and 8 months. The full retirement age increases by 2 months each year until you reach age 67. Anyone born in 1960 or later will not reach full retirement age until they reach age 67.

* The maximum Taxable Earnings that are subject to Social Security deductions has been increased to $142,000. There are no maximum earnings for Medicare.

* You can earn $18,960 each year prior to full retirement age without any taxes taken out for Social Security (last year you could earn $18,240/year). Once you exceed $18,960, $1 dollar will be deducted from your social security retirement payment for every $2 earned.

* Once you reach full retirement age, nothing is deducted from your social security retirement benefit, irrespective of your income.

* If you are disabled, not due to blindness, you can earn up to $1,310 a month and still be entitled to disability benefits since less than $1,310/month is not considered substantial gainful activity (SGA). If you are receiving disability benefits due to blindness, you can earn $2,190/month and still be eligible for disability benefits.

* The legally blind now receive a maximum of $2,190 a month, an increase of $80 a month over 2020. For the non-blind, the maximum benefit increased $50 a month, to $1,310.

* People who get Social Security Disability benefits can test their ability to work for 9 months while continuing to receive benefits (“Trial Work Period”). The Social

Security Administration does not consider work/employment performed during the trial work period as showing that the disability has ended until services have been performed in at least 9 months (not necessarily consecutive) in a rolling 60-month period. In 2021 you can earn up to $940/month without having the month considered as part of your 9-month trial work period.

* SSI is a Federal Program to help aged, blind, and disabled people, who have little or no income and very limited assets.

If you filed for SSDI or SSI and have been denied,  YOU HAVE 60 DAYS TO APPEAL. To learn why you should be hiring a disability attorney, click here.

Call Martin Hoffman at Hoffman, Larin & Agnetti for a free consultation for your disability case.

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