Social Security and SSI Disability Increase for 2024

The Social Security Administration (SSA) announced a 3.2% cost-of-living increase (COLA) increase in Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits for 2024.

By , Attorney · UC Law San Francisco

The Social Security Administration (SSA) announced a 3.2% cost-of-living increase (COLA) increase in Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits for 2024, down significantly from the year before, due to lower inflation.

Increased payments to Social Security recipients began in January 2024, while increased payments to SSI recipients were included in their checks or deposits on December 29, 2023. Other numbers regarding eligibility for disability and average benefits have also changed for 2024.

How Much Will SSDI Checks Be in 2024?

While the exact Social Security retirement and disability benefit amount that a person can receive depends on their lifetime earnings, here are the average SSDI payment amounts for 2024:

  • average retirement benefit: $1,907
  • average disability benefit: $1,537
  • average widow's or widower's benefit: $1,773.

The maximum Social Security retirement benefit that can be collected at full retirement age, and the maximum SSDI benefit for 2024, is $3,822 per month, though few people (only very high-earners) are able to collect this amount.

How Are Your SSDI Payments Calculated?

SSDI payments depend on your average earnings over the 35 years during which you had the highest income, if you worked for 35 years.

Social Security will average your earnings over these 35 years to come up with your "average indexed monthly earnings" (AIME). The agency then takes certain percentages of your AIME (called bend points) to come up with your primary insurance amount.

In 2024, the bend points are:

  • 90% of the first $1,174 of your AIME
  • plus 32% of your AIME from $1,115 to $7,078
  • plus 15% of your AIME over $7.078.

For details on the calculations, see our article on how much you'll get in SSDI.

How Much Is SSI in 2024?

The new SSI disability amount in 2024 is $943 per month for an individual and $1,415 per month for a couple (up from $914 and $1,371 in 2023). The SSI payment amounts are higher in states that pay a supplementary SSI payment, but there is no maximum SSI payment in these states. In a state that doesn't pay state supplemental payments, the SSI maximum amount is $943 (the same as the federal base rate).

Most SSI recipients, however, receive less than the federal base rate because of income or free room and board.

Learn more about how much you can get in SSI.

How Much Can Social Security Attorneys Charge in 2024?

Social Security attorneys (which the SSA calls "representatives") can charge a fee of 25% of the back pay awarded to a client, up to a maximum amount. In 2024, the maximum fee is $7,200, but disability applicants typically pay no more than half that amount.

Does Working Affect Eligibility for Disability?

An applicant for disability benefits through the Social Security disability insurance (SSDI) or SSI programs must be making less than $1,550 per month (up from $1,470 per month in 2023) to qualify for benefits. Blind applicants can make up to $2,590 per month (up from $2,460 per month in 2023). Anyone working above those limits is considered to be doing "substantial gainful activity" (SGA).

How Much Can You Make on SSDI in 2024?

People who are currently receiving SSDI and who attempt to return to work can make more than that during a trial work program. SSDI recipients can get up to nine months of trial work. A month counts as a trial work period month when an SSDI recipient makes more than $1,110 per month (up from $1,050 per month in 2023).

After the trial work period is over, you won't get an SSDI benefit in any month you make over $1,550.

Learn more about trial work and how much you can earn on SSDI.

How Much Can You Make on SSI in 2024?

For people who are receiving SSI, the new federal income limit for SSI is $943 per month, but complicated rules govern what income is countable and what income is not. Over half of the income made by an SSI recipient isn't counted toward the limit, so you can actually receive SSI until you make up to $1,970 per month in 2024 (if you have no other income).

But any income you receive between $0 and $1,970 will reduce your monthly benefit. (For instance, if you earn $1,225 a month and have no other income, the reduction for countable income will be $570, and you'll receive only $373 in your SSI check.) To learn how the SSA calculates the reduced benefit, see our article on countable income for SSI. In some states that make extra payments to SSI recipients, the income limit for SSI recipients may be higher.

The income exclusion amount for students receiving SSI is now $2,290 per month (up to an annual limit of $9,230).

Learn more about SSI and working.

How Does Working During Early Retirement Affect Benefits?

If you collect early retirement benefits but continue to work, Social Security will reduce your benefits if you make over $22,320 per year ($1,860 per month) in 2024. But during the year you reach full retirement age, you can make up to $4,960 per month without having retirement benefits taken away. (After you reach full retirement age on your birthday, your benefits aren't reduced at all, regardless of the amount of work or earnings.)

Any early retirement benefits that Social Security deducted while you were working are added back to your retirement check over the next 10 to 15 years.

Learn more about the penalty for working while collecting retirement benefits.

How Much in Taxes Does Social Security Withhold?

The maximum amount of earnings that is subject to the Social Security tax is $168,600 in 2024, up from $160,200 in 2023. There is no limit to the amount of income subject to the Medicare tax.

Updated March 18, 2024

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