SSA Not Affected by Potential Government Shutdown
We’re sure you’ve heard that the government may partially shut down on Friday, December 21. Because the Social Security Administration received its Fiscal Year 2019 appropriation in September 2018, any potential shutdown will not affect SSA. Your hearings will be conducted as scheduled, and all district and hearing offices will be open as usual, even if there is a government shutdown.
We also want to clarify that the prototype states that will be instituting reconsideration on January 1, 2019 are California (Los Angeles North and Los Angeles West), Colorado, Louisiana, New Hampshire and New York. This means that for any case in which an initial denial is issued on or after January 1, 2019 in those states, the next level of appeal is to file a request for reconsideration, not a request for an ALJ hearing. Reconsideration is scheduled to be reinstituted in Pennsylvania on April 1, 2019. Alabama and Michigan are scheduled to start reconsideration on October 1, 2019; Missouri on January 1, 2020; and Alaska on March 1, 2020.
Members of Lancaster & Eure began this festive holiday season by participating in SPARCC’s (Safe Place and Rape Crisis Center) annual holiday gift drive. This valuable organization serves survivors of domestic and sexual violence as well as actively engages in promoting social change through community awareness and education in an effort to prevent violence in the future.
L&E appreciates this opportunity to bring a bit of joy and happiness to those in our community facing a difficult period in their lives during the holidays.
As 2018 comes to a close and 2019 approaches, it is important to be aware of changes in Social Security amounts that will come into effect in 2019.
For SSI, the 2019 monthly maximum benefit amount will be $771, an increase from $750 in 2018. An eligible couple will have a monthly maximum amount of $1,157, up from the 2018 benefit limit.
How are these new amounts calculated? Social Security determines these amounts based on their determination of how the Cost of Living has increased from the prior year. The Social Security Administration has published their increase for 2019 is 2.8 percent. This is the largest annual increase since 2011.
For individuals applying for disability benefits, the Social Security Administration also states that an applicant must be unable to engage in “substantial gainful activity,” which is an annually set amount of monthly earnings calculated before taxes. For non-blind individuals, in 2019 the SGA amount will increase to $1,220 per month. The SSA determines this amount based on the annual changes in the National Average Wage Index, which go into effect January 1, 2019.
The process of filing for Social Security disability benefits can be both complicated and confusing. Call the offices of Lancaster & Eure today at 941-365-7575 for a free consultation regarding your potential disability case.