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Top changes You Need to Know

The year 2024 will bring some major changes to your Social Security Benefits, that will significantly impact your social security by different ways.  First of all, if you are receiving Social Security benefits, you can expect a cost-of-living (COLA) adjustment starting with your January payments. These payments typically arrive at the end of December since the first of January is always a holiday.

COLA Increase 2024

The COLA increase for 2024 is not as big as it was last year and for this year it is only 3.2%, but still higher than average. Now, this adjustment will result in an average increase of about $59 for retirement beneficiaries and roughly $48 for those on long-term disability. Though it is not enough keeping in view the financial situation of most of the people and high inflation, but it is going to help you to meet some of your needs to some extent. It is much better to get something than nothing. Many social security recipients hoped for more increase this year due to skyrocketing inflation. According to them, this meagre increase rather increasing their money will result in decrease in their amount they are already receiving from social security administration as other benefits including Medicare premium will go up.    

It is pertinent to mention here that your annual COLA increase can reduce the amount of benefits you qualify for, especially when it comes to means-tested programs like food stamps. It is definitely seems fair that your cost of living increase should cause you to lose important food benefits, but that is something that just happens every year and it is so frustrating.

Kapuna Fed Act

Earlier this year, Jill Naomi Tacuda (serving as the U.S. representative for Hawaii) proposed the Keep Kapuna Fed Act, that would proposal would exempt Social Security benefits so that these benefits do not impact your food stamps benefits at all. Those COLAs would not count against you anymore and your benefits could go up significantly because Social Security would not count at all. Unfortunately, there as yet no progress as the bill stalled out and Congress has postponed that into next year. So, nobody knows what is going to happen to this bill as there were many other bills including some immigration reforms during current President Biden Administration that could not be passed due to resistance from Republican lawmakers and fate of this can be the same.

However, if lawmakers of both Republicans and Democrats make some serious efforts to pass this bill, which aims to benefits Social Security recipients, President Biden would have no option but to sign it to law. Moreover, it is responsibility of each Social Security recipient to reach out to their respective Congressmen and Senators requesting them to play their part to pass this bill.

Reaching out to Congressmen  

As I discussed above that all Social Security recipients should reach out to their respective Congressmen to make your voices heard. Go to, enter your email address so that you can find your congressional representatives and then contact them right away. Write them that COLAs do not really help you when they are offset by SNAP losses and higher Medicare premiums. Request them to support legislation that would exempt Social Security from these income calculations for SNAP and other means-tested programs. If enough of you speak up, it could create meaningful change. You should remember that now its not just food stamps that can affect the value of your COLA either but Medicare premiums also tend to increase at the start of each year. In 2024 Part B premium is likely to rise by about $14 as well.

Not everyone to get COLA increases

It is added that not all of you will get a 3.2% raise as many retired federal workers under the Federal Employee Retirement System (FERS), will only get 2.2% rise in their benefits, because FERS uses a unique tier system. When inflation exceeds 3% as it does this year, their COLA increase is going to be 1% less than other Social Security recipients. The American Federation of Government Employees, which is a union that represents many of these individuals, amusingly calls this the diet COLA. So, if you are a retired federal worker, your COLA boost might be smaller than you expected.

Increase in other Benefits

Along with the COLA, the maximum Social Security benefit amounts will also be increasing. Those who retire at full retirement age are likely to receive $3,822 per month instead of a maximum of $3,627 per month. That’s almost $200 than what they were getting previously. While those who receive supplemental security income, also known as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) may also expect an increase to individual rates, likely to rise by $29 to $943 a month. Married couples will see their rates go up to $1,415, which is an increase of about $143. However, unfortunately, the asset limits still have not changed. They are still $2,000 for an individual and $3,000 for a couple.

Good News for Eligible Students

The good news for eligible students is that their earned income exclusion for SSI is increasing. This rule allows students under age 22 who are regularly attending school to earn a certain amount of money without it affecting their SSI benefits. It is pertinent to mention here that in 2024 eligible students can earn up to $2,290 per month, up to an annual cap of $9,230.

Receiving Social Security Benefits While Working

If you are working while receiving Social Security, in 2024 there are some changes that you need to be aware of as well. So, if you are under your normal retirement age, you can earn up to $22,320 a year (about $1,860 a month) before it affects your benefits. If you earn more than that, your benefits will be reduced by $1 for every $2 you earn above the limit. If you reach your normal retirement age in 2024 then you can safely earn up to $59,520 (around $4,960 a month). During that time, your benefits will be reduced by $1 for every $3 you earn over the limit. However, the good news is that once you reach your normal retirement age, there is no earnings limit anymore.

Next, if you are earning money while receiving Social Security disability, there will be lot of different set of rules you should need to know. In case you exceed the limits for what the Social Security Administration considers substantially gainful activity, then your benefits could be in danger. Substantially gainful activity, or SGA for short, is a benchmark used by the government to determine whether or not you can financially support yourself through work. It helps differentiate between minor earnings from hobbies and side gigs, and consistent work that could provide a substantial income. Basically, they use it as a way to determine whether or not you are capable of supporting yourself with a job.

According to the Social Security Administration, work is substantial if it involves doing significant physical or mental activities or a combination of both. And gainful work activity is performed for pay or profit whether or not a profit is realized. Now, if you earn more money than the SGA limits allow, you could lose your disability benefits, but there are some loopholes that can make this easier to bear. In 2024, the substantially gainful activity limits are as follows:

  • $1,550 a month for nonblind people
  • $1,590 a month for blind people
  • or $1,110 for people in a trial work period.

Trial Work Period

The Social Security Administration wants to encourage people to work when they can, so they have some loopholes that make this a little bit easier. If you want to try to return to work after getting Social Security Disability, the trial work program can help. This program allows you to earn money for up to nine months without affecting your benefits.

Now, that is nine months in a rolling 60-month period, so nine months in five years. If you use all nine months, you can begin a three-year extended period of eligibility. This gives you the chance to see whether or not you can earn more than your benefits provided. In case your earnings are less than the SGA limits, you will still get your benefits. But if you earn more than the SGA limits, then your benefits will stop. However, you will still get benefits for the month your case closed, as well as the next two months as a grace period. And fortunately, there are some safeguards built into this, so it is not as scary as it may sound. If your earnings drop below the SGA limits during that 36-month period, your benefits can restart right away and you do not need to file a new application.

The Social Security Administration has an expedited reinstatement program that can restart your benefits right away if you have to stop working within the next five years due to your disability that you already received benefits for.

Impact of Changes on Monthly Social Security Benefits 

Due to these changes, the estimated average monthly Social Security benefits are changing as well. The Social Security Administration’s projections show diverse impacts across different groups. The breakdown is as follow:

  • For all disabled workers, the average benefit is projected to be around $1,537 a month this year.
  • While for older widowers living alone, the average monthly benefit is expected to be around $1,773.
  • And for retired workers, the average monthly benefit is expected to be $1,907 a month.
  • Disabled workers with a spouse and at least one child can expect an average of $2,720 a month.
  • Senior couples who are both receiving benefits are projected to receive an average of $3,033 a month.
  • Widowed moms with two children top all the above categories with an average monthly benefit of $3,653.

Last Change

The maximum taxable earnings threshold has risen to $168,600. So, it means that if you are working, more of your income will be subject to Social Security tax. However, the rates themselves are not increasing and will remain the same this year for both employees and self-employed individuals. But the larger portion of your earnings will now be taxed.


In today’s article we discussed in detail the major changes to the Social Security benefits going to take effect in 2024. The Social Security recipients will get a slight increase in their monthly benefit starting from January 2024. The estimated benefit will increase by 3.2% or $59 a month.      


Q. Do Social Security Benefits Increase Every Year?

A. Your Social Security payments might change each year because of cost-of-living or changes to work and income.

Q. When Will You Get the Social Security Cost-of-Living Increase in 2024?

A. You will get your increased Social Security payment on December 29, 2023 as January 1, 2024 is a holiday.

Q. How Can You Increase Your Social Security Benefits.

A.  One of the biggest factors to increase your Social Security benefits is to wait until your full retirement age.

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