Changes are coming! With the 2018 new year, the Social Security Administration is bringing some changes. Most immediate for recipients of disability or retirement, there will be a 2% cost of living raise (COLA), beginning in January. This is the largest percentage raise since 2012 (that year it was 3.6%); however, according to the AARP, the current raise does not match rising costs faced by retired and disabled people.
The Social Security Administration estimates that the average benefit payable in 2018, nationwide, will be $2,051 for disabled workers with a spouse and one or more children, and $1,108 for disabled workers without dependents. The maximum SSI payment for 2018 will be $750 for an individual, $1103 for a couple, before adding on the State of California supplement. Currently, the California supplement is $160.72 per month for an individual. In past years, the State of California has reduced its contribution by the amount of the increase in the Federal rate; that calculation is unknown at this time.
Another change is the advancing full retirement age. New retirees born in 1956 will reach full retirement age at 66 years and 4 months. However, Medicare insurance remains available at age 65 even if your full retirement age is greater than 65.
The Disability claims system remains essentially the same, with very long waits and increasing backlogs. You can expect average waits of 550 days from the filing of the Request for Hearing to the issuing of a Decision. This processing time varies by hearing office.