Social Security and SSI Benefit Amounts and Other Figures Change in 2013

Update: You can find the 2014 benefit amount increases in the 2014 Social Security COLA update.

The Social Security Administration has announced a 1.7% increase in Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits for 2013. Increased payments to Social Security recipients begin January 1, 2013, while increased payments to SSI recipients will show up in their December 31, 2012 check.

The new SSI base amount is $710 per month for an individual and $1,066 per month for a couple. These amounts are higher in states that pay a supplementary SSI payment.

While Social Security retirement and disability benefit amounts depend on the lifetime earnings of the recipient, the average retirement benefit will go up to $1,261 in 2013, the average disability benefit will increase to $1,132, and the average surviving spouse benefit is expected to go up to $1,214. The maximum Social Security retirement benefit will be $2,533 per month in 2013.

Along with this benefit increase, many important figures having to do with Social Security and SSI eligibility, taxes, and benefits have changed.

  • SSI eligibility. The new income limit for SSI is $710 per month, but complicated rules govern what income is countable and what income is not. In short, income over $710 is likely to reduce or end one's SSI benefits. The income exclusion amount for students is now $1,720 per month (up to an annual limit of $6,690). The resource (asset) limit for SSI remains the same.
  • Disability eligibility. For disability purposes, an applicant for SSDI or SSI must be making less than $1,040 per month to qualify for benefits (or $1,740 if blind). SSDI recipients who attempt to return to work through a trial work program will have a month count as a trial month if they make more than $750 per month.
  • Early retirement and working. Those who collect early retirement benefits but continue to work have their benefits reduced when they make over $15,120 per year. But in the year the recipient reaches full retirement age, he or she can now make up to $40,080 per year without having retirement benefits taken away. (After the worker reaches full retirement age, benefits aren't reduced regardless of the any amount of work or earnings.)
  • Social Security taxes. The maximum amount of earnings that is subject to the Social Security tax is $113,700 in 2013, up from $110,100 in 2012.