The Social Security Administration has released a new COLA fact sheet that outlines the various changes that go into effect in 2022 for Social Security beneficiaries, including those who receive disability benefits.
If you are a beneficiary currently receiving benefits under the Social Security Disability Insurance program, or plan on applying for benefits this year, these changes will apply to you. The most important changes are related to the substantial gainful activity thresholds that apply to disability benefits.
Substantial gainful activity refers to the maximum gainful work that you are allowed to do in order to still qualify for disability benefits. Basically, this is the maximum amount of work that you can do in spite of your disability. If you are working at a job that helps you earn above this income threshold, then you are not eligible for disability benefits. In 2022, the substantial gainful activity limit for non- blind persons is $1,350 per month. For blind persons, the threshold is $2,260 per month.
Keep in mind that there are a number of activities, including voluntary activities or non-paid activities that could be considered substantial gainful activity by the Social Security Administration. For example, if you are currently working extra hours at a job that does not pay you, the agency may concur that you have crossed the substantial gainful activity threshold because even though you are not being paid, it is work for which you could have been paid.
Since substantial gainful activity is an critical factor, it is very important that you tell your attorney about all the different types of activity, including part time, freelance or voluntary activities that you are currently doing before you apply for benefits.