Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro to call on Congress to strengthen Social Security
The Social Security Administration announced Tuesday that the tens of millions of people receiving retirement and supplemental benefits will see payments increase by 0.3 percent next year.
Social Security says the cost-of-living adjustment will add $5 to the average monthly payment for all retired workers, which is $1,355 before the raise.
In the previous two years, the inflation rate and gasoline prices were so low that the government granted no cost-of-living adjustments, even as many seniors largely dependent on Social Security struggled to pay their rent or mortgage, buy groceries and cover their out-of-pocket medical costs. The only time that the COLA was above 2 percent was in 2011.
“As prescription prices skyrocket and Medicare premiums and other health costs increase, many older Americans have understandable concerns”, said AARP. Many people who get SSI also receive Social Security. However, new enrollees and high-income retirees are not covered by that provision, so they could face higher Medicare premiums, which will be announced later this year. Meantime, average benefit costs per Part B beneficiary have shot up from about $8 per month in 1970 to more than $460 per month in 2016 according to the Congressional Research Service. This year, the standard monthly premium is $121.80.
By law, rising premiums for most Medicare recipients can not exceed their Social Security cost-of-living increase.
If you change your mind within 12 months of signing up for Social Security, you can repay all the money you and your family have received, without interest, and withdraw your Social Security application. Employers also pay a 6.2% tax on eligible wages and would pay more, too, though economists generally believe those costs are borne by workers in the form of lower wages. The highest income group could see premiums rise from around $380 per month this year to $467 per month next year. Based on that increase, the maximum amount of earnings subject to the Social Security tax (taxable maximum) will increase to $127,200 from $118,500.
By law, the dollar increase in Medicare’s Part B premium can not exceed a beneficiary’s cost-of-living raise.