Social Security recipients have reason to cheer. Their monthly checks will increase by 2.8% in 2019. That’s the largest cost-of-living increase since 2012 and a big improvement from 2016, when the COLA was zero. Last year’s cost-of-living increase was 2%.
How much bigger will Social Security checks be?
- Retirees will get an extra $39 a month.
More than 67 million Americans who receive either Social Security or Supplemental Security Income will benefit from the increase. They’ll collect an extra $39 a month, on average, or $468 more for the year.
The average monthly Social Security benefit for retirees is $1,422 in 2018. That will rise to $1,461 in 2019.
Couples who both get benefits will see their checks grow by an average of $67, from $2,381 to $2,448.
The average benefit for disabled workers will increase by $34 a month, to $1,234.
The most you can get from Social Security
- The maximum benefit is $2,861 a month in 2019.
Your Social Security payment is based on your income during your working years, so high-earners get a bigger check – up to point.
The maximum Social Security benefit for someone who retires at full retirement age will be $2,861 a month in 2019. That’s up from $2,788 in 2018. Full retirement age for someone who turns 62 in 2019 is age 66 and six months. You can claim Social Security before full retirement age, but your benefit is permanently reduced. You can also wait to claim Social Security until after your full retirement age (up to age 70) and get an increased benefit.
What about Medicare?
- Most people will pay $135.50 per month for Medicare
Social Security benefits are going up in 2019, but so are Medicare premiums. Fortunately, most retirees won’t feel too much of a pinch.
Most people who are enrolled in Medicare Part B will pay $135.50 per month in 2019, up from $134 in 2018, a $1.50 increase. High-income enrollees will pay more – between $189.50 and $460.50 per month, depending on how much they earn. (Only those earning more than $500,000 a year will pay the highest premiums.)
The Part B deductible is increasing by $2, to $185. The deductible for Part A, which covers inpatient hospital, skilled nursing, and some home health care services, is increasing to $1,364, up from $1,340 in 2018.
If you opt for Medicare Advantage, average premiums are expected to drop slightly, to $28 a month from $29.81 in 2018. Medicare Advantage plans bundle hospital insurance, medical insurance, and prescription drug coverage into one plan offered by a private insurer.
Other changes to Social Security in 2019
If you’re still working, the amount of your earnings subject to Social Security tax is also going up. In 2019, you’ll pay tax on up to $132,900 of earnings, up from $128,400 in 2018. There’s no limit on the amount of earnings subject to Medicare tax.
If you claim Social Security before your full retirement age and you continue to work, you need to pay attention to the earnings limit. Once you hit the earnings limit, Social Security withholds a portion of your benefits. In 2019, you can earn up to $17,640 a year, or $1,470 a month, before you reach the earnings limit.
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