September 27, 2021

Volume XI, Number 270

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September 27, 2021

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Social Security News: Stimulus and COLA

If you receive Social Security or SSI, you likely have already noticed that your check is slightly larger this year. The Social Security Administration has provided a 1.3% cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for benefit payments. This brings the federal SSI payment to $794.

Social Security COLA

In addition, the amount that workers can earn before losing their eligibility for disability based on their work has increased to $1,310 for non-blind individuals. However, it is important to be aware that the trial work period threshold is substantially lower – $940. If you earn more than the trial work threshold while on disability benefits, then you will enter a trial work period. If you work nine months (not necessarily consecutive), earning more than the threshold, then you move into the extended period of eligibility in which your benefits are in jeopardy.  At that point, you will lose benefits if you earn more than the substantial gainful activity (SGA) threshold of $1,310 in any month. However, SGA earnings can be reduced by deducting certain impairment-related work expenses.

Your COVID Stimulus Check

Wondering when your stimulus check will come? You can track it at irs.gov/coronavirus/get-my-payment. If you filed a 2019 return and the IRS has your bank information, you will receive a direct deposit. If you did not file a 2019 return, you will receive your stimulus payment however you receive your Social Security benefits. Therefore, if you have a representative payee, they will receive the stimulus on your behalf. They are obligated to use the funds for your benefit. However, if someone else claims you, or could claim you, as a dependent on their tax returns, you are not eligible for a stimulus check.

Just as with the first stimulus check, the benefit is not considered for public benefits purposes. In addition, long-term care facilities cannot seize or demand the check even if your loved one is on Medicaid. The recipient may use these funds however they wish – so long as it is for their own benefit. Another major source of confusion with the first stimulus surrounded a check for deceased individuals. This time around Congress has stated that anyone who died prior to 2020 is not eligible for the benefit. However, that means that individuals who died in 2020 are eligible.

©2021 Norris McLaughlin P.A., All Rights ReservedNational Law Review, Volume XI, Number 14
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About this Author

Shana Siegel Elder Law Attorney at Norris McLaughlin in New Jersey
Member

Shana Siegel concentrates her practice in the area of elder law, focusing on representing seniors, individuals with special needs, and their families in connection with life care planning, public benefits, trust and estate planning, and long-term care advocacy.

As one of the few Certified Elder Law Attorneys (CELA) in northern New Jersey to be certified by the National Elder Law Foundation (NELF), Shana has extensive experience in probate and estate administration, asset preservation, supplemental and special needs trusts, planning for disability, guardianship...

(908) 252-4253
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