Over 67 million Americans are set to benefit from a 2.8% increase in Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits in 2019.
The increased benefits to more than 8 million SSI beneficiaries will begin on 31 December 2019, with the increase for the 62 million Social Security beneficiaries kicking in in January 2019.
This is the largest increase in seven years; with the percentage being based on the COLA (cost-of-living adjustment) for the coming year.
Another change coming into effect is that the maximum amount of earnings subject to the Social Security tax (taxable maximum) will increase to $132,900 from $128,400.
A spokesperson for the US Social Security Administration says that for the first time, those who receive Social Security payments will be able to access their COLA notice through their mySocial Security account.
People may create or access their my Social Security account online at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount.
What exactly does this mean for you?
The average Social Security benefit is currently $1,413.37 - so for someone receiving this sum, the 2.8% increase means an extra $40 in your pocket each month.
Medicare Part B premiums are yet to be announced.
Mary Johnson, a Social Security analyst for the non-partisan Senior Citizens League warns that “retirees may be disappointed as they learn what the cost of their Medicare premiums and prescription drugs will be for 2019.”
In June, Medicare trustees estimated that Part B premiums for 2019 would increase by about $1.50 per month, from $134.00 to $135.50.
However, a Senior Citizens League survey revealed that roughly 25% of all Medicare beneficiaries, more than 13 million people, pay less than $134 per month due to the “hold harmless” provision of law.
“For those individuals, a bigger portion of their COLA will go to Part B than for the others, who paid $134 per month or more for their premium this year,” Johnson says.
“Millions of people paid lower Medicare Part B premium in recent years, due to the triggering of a special “hold harmless” provision of law. The provision protects an individual’s Social Security
benefit from reduction when the dollar amount of the Medicare Part B premium increase is higher than the dollar amount of their COLA increase,” she adds.
In addition to this, many Americans over the age of 65 are also shelling out for a Medigap policy coupled with a Part D plan or Medicare Advantage premiums.
TSCL strongly recommends that Medicare beneficiaries compare drug and health plans during the fall Medicare Open Enrollment, taking place from October 15, 2018, to December 7, 2018.
Open Enrollment gives you the opportunity to review your plan, or change plan, to ensure you get the best value for money in 2019.
For a free consultation call Medicare & Medicaid Advisory Group on 646-745-9122 and let us take it from here (serving NY, NJ and CT).