The Journal of The DuPage County Bar Association

Back Issues > Vol. 21 (2008-09)

Social Security Changes For 2009
By Neil H. Good

Lawyers whose practices concentrate on Social Security Disability are advised to stay alert to changes regularly made by the Social Security Administration. And for this year, the SSA’s alterations can alter paychecks.

Those who make more than $102,000 will pay more to the SSA, and all workers must earn more money in order to earn a Social Security quarter of credit.

The Social Security Administration maintained the tax rate at 6.2% of gross compensation, but raised the limit on earnings subject to the tax from $102,000 to $106,800. That means anyone who makes more than $102,000 a year will pay more money to fund Social Security, up to earnings of $106,800.

Moreover, the SSA also increased the amount of earnings needed to earn one Social Security quarter of credit from $1,050 in 2008 to $1,090 in 2009. Quarters matter because the SSA requires a certain number of them to be eligible for future benefits (generally 40 quarters) and to qualify for Social Security Disability benefits (generally 20 quarters, though this can vary). Thus, these changes have ramifications not only for benefits recipients, but also for all workers and their employers.

Social Security retirees and individuals who receive Social Security Disability (SSD) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) will receive a 5.8 percent cost-of-living adjustment next year. The cost-of-living adjustment is based on the increase in the Consumer Price Index from the third quarter of 2007 through the third quarter of 2008.

Other important 2009 Social Security information includes:

View Social Security Chart (pdf file)

Neil H. Good’s law practice concentrates on Social Security Disability and Supplemental Security Income cases. He has offices in Palatine, Glen Ellyn, Waukegan, McHenry and Chicago. See

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