Recent Changes in Laws Affecting Social Security Beneficiaries

The Social Security Administration has announced the 2019 changes to the Social Security laws. Some changes specifically affect beneficiaries already receiving Social Security benefits. The following is not an exhaustive listing of all changes but will focus on three specific changes in 2019 that will affect those beneficiaries retired or approaching retirement.

A BIGGER CHECK
Social Security recipients will realize a 2.8 percent increase in their monthly benefits commencing in January, which is the most substantial increase seen since 2012. Beneficiaries will see an average increase of $39 per month and total monthly benefits of $1,461. Benefits for couples who both receive social security will rise an average of $67 per month to a monthly allowance of $2,448.00.

What triggered the increase? Social Security adjustments are tied to the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers. Social Security benefits are corrected for cost of living adjustments (COLA) and are based on inflationary measurements. The last Social Security adjustment was a 2 percent increase in 2018.

A BIGGER EARNING LIMIT
Social Security recipients who have reached full retirement age will continue to be eligible to work while collecting benefits, without incurring a penalty. The monthly allowance will be computed to reflect a credit for current earnings, as well as adjustment for benefits withheld in the past.

In 2019, beneficiaries who work can earn an additional $600 before a portion of their benefit is withheld. As a result, a recipient aged 65 and younger are allowed to receive $17,640 per year, after which $1 will be withheld for every $2 earned over the amount of $17,640.

In the same year a recipient reaches full retirement age, the limitation on earnings is raised to $46,920 (which is an increase of $1,560 over the limit in 2018). Also, the withholding penalty will be adjusted to $1 for every $3 earned over the income cap of $46,920.

A CHANGE IN FULL RETIREMENT AGE
Two thousand nineteen will also see a change in the age by which an individual is entitled to qualify for full retirement age benefits. For persons born between 1943 and 1954, the full retirement qualifying age is 66 years. For those persons born in 1956, the entitlement age has been adjusted to 66 and four months. For those persons born in 1955, the entitlement age has been modified to 66 and two months. Finally, for every year after 1956, the retirement year will be increased by two months, until full retirement age reaches 67 years for anyone born in 1960 or after that.

A person is still eligible to claim social security benefits at age 62; however, there will be a greater reduced payment penalty for the early request. Finally, an individual’s opportunity to increase their benefit payments by taking a postponed commencement date has been diminished for persons with later full retirement ages.

There are more changes coming from Social Security in 2019. To find more information applying for benefitsyou can visit a Social Security Office near you today.