Cost-of-Living Increase and Other Determinations for 2009
We have determined (1) A 5.8 percent cost-of-living increase in Social Security benefits under title II of the Social Security Act (the Act), effective for December 2008; (2) An increase in the Federal Supplemental Security Income (SSI) monthly benefit amounts under title XVI of the Act for 2009 to $674 for an eligible individual, $1,011 for an eligible individual with an eligible spouse, and $338 for an essential person; (3) The student earned income exclusion to be $1,640 per month in 2009 but not more than $6,600 in all of 2009; (4) The dollar fee limit for services performed as a representative payee to be $37 per month ($72 per month in the case of a beneficiary who is disabled and has an alcoholism or drug addiction condition that leaves him or her incapable of managing benefits) in 2009; (5) The dollar limit on the administrative-cost assessment charged to attorneys representing claimants to be $83 in 2009; (6) The national average wage index for 2007 to be $40,405.48; (7) The Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance (OASDI) contribution and benefit base to be $106,800 for remuneration paid in 2009 and self-employment income earned in taxable years beginning in 2009; (8) The monthly exempt amounts under the Social Security retirement earnings test for taxable years ending in calendar year 2009 to be $1,180 and $3,140; (9) The dollar amounts (``bend points'') used in the primary insurance amount benefit formula for workers who become eligible for benefits, or who die before becoming eligible, in 2009 to be $744 and $4,483; (10) The bend points used in the formula for computing maximum family benefits for workers who become eligible for benefits, or who die before becoming eligible, in 2009 to be $950, $1,372, and $1,789; (11) The amount of taxable earnings a person must have to be credited with a quarter of coverage in 2009 to be $1,090; (12) The ``old-law'' contribution and benefit base to be $79,200 for 2009; (13) The monthly amount deemed to constitute substantial gainful activity for statutorily blind individuals in 2009 to be $1,640, and the corresponding amount for non-blind disabled persons to be $980; (14) The earnings threshold establishing a month as a part of a trial work period to be $700 for 2009; and (15) Coverage thresholds for 2009 to be $1,700 for domestic workers and $1,500 for election workers.
Technical Amendments to Definition of Persons Closely Approaching Retirement Age
We are modifying the rules we use to determine disability under titles II and XVI of the Social Security Act (``Act'') to revise the definition of persons ``closely approaching retirement age'' from ``60-64'' to ``60 or older.'' These changes acknowledge that we make disability determinations for persons over age 64. We are also making minor technical changes that will not have any effect on how we determine your eligibility for benefits.