The State of Social Security

couple looking at paper

Social security has been around since 1935, but there are changes to the program every year. Below are 5 changes that might affect you.

Bigger Monthly Payments: Every year your social security payment adjusts to account for the changes in inflation and the cost of living. This year, you will get an additional 1.7%. That’s about $22 more a month.

Higher Taxes: Most workers pay 6.2% of their paycheck into the Social Security system, but only up until a certain amount. Above this tax cap your earnings aren’t taxed for Social Security. For 2015, this cap has been raised from $117,000 to $118,500. This means higher taxes for about 10 million workers.

Larger Earning Limits: You can receive Social Security benefits and work at the same time, but if you are below the full retirement age of 67, your benefits will be reduced if you earn above the earning limit. In 2015, you can earn as much as $15,720/year before your benefits start being withheld. This is up from $15,480/year in 2014. Keep in mind that you will get the withheld money back once you reach full retirement age.

The Return of Paper Mail: Have you missed getting your Social Security statement in the mail? In 2011 you stopped getting paper statements due to budget cuts, but mailed personal statements are making a comeback. If you’re above 60 years old, you will once again receive an annual statement in the mail. In addition, you can check your account at any time by going to www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount.

Bigger Benefits:  If you hit the maximum Social Security benefit, you now have the opportunity to get a bigger monthly check. In 2014, the maximum benefit was $2642/mo. In 2015, if you sign up at the full retirement age of 67, you can now earn up to $2,663/mo.

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