2019 Social Security Changes

The Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) changes this year include increasing the maximum taxable earnings for employees and employers, the full retirement age, the benefits in payments and the earning limits for recipients who work.

The maximum taxable earnings for workers increased to $132,900 a year in 2019 from $128,400 in 2018. Employees must pay 6.2% on wages up to this amount and employers must pay the same amount.

For workers born in 1960 or later, full retirement age will be reached at 67 years. This has been an incremental increase by 2 months each year until full retirement age reaches 67 years old. The earliest retirement age is at 62 years, but receiving benefits at that age results in permanently reduced payments. Waiting to collect benefits at age 70 (past full retirement age) instead of at age 62 increases benefits by 76%.

In 2019, Social Security benefits for retirees and SSI recipients will increase 2.8% based on the cost of living increase (COLA). SSI benefits to the disabled, blind and aged with little or no income are paid from general Federal tax revenues, not social security taxes. SSI monthly payments to the legally blind are $2,040 and to nonblind disabled recipients $1,220. COLA is based on the Department of Labor’s Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W). This increase will make the highest retiree benefit available, which is $2,861.00…up from $2,788 in 2018.

The earnings limit that a retiree is allowed has also changed in 2019. If social security benefits are collected before the current full retirement age of 66, the earnings limit increased to $17,640.00 from $17,040.00 in 2018. Social Security deducts $1 from benefits for each $2 earned over $17,640.00.

The earnings limit for workers turning 66 in 2019 (full retirement age) will increase to $46,920.00 from $45,360.00 in 2018. $1 will be deducted for every $3 earned over $46,920.00 until the month the worker turns 66 years old. There is no earnings limit for people who have reached their full retirement age or are older for the entire year. They may keep all their social security benefits.

Social Security benefits may increase if earnings are higher after retirement than one of the 35 years used to compute benefit amounts. It is important to report any changes in marital status, children or stepchildren receiving benefits, or death of a spouse. Changes may increase Federal benefits. There is a Benefit Eligibility Tool at www.ssabest.benefits.gov to find out more.

Create a “my Social Security account” online to check individual benefits. This account also can be used to change contact information, start or change direct deposit of benefits, get a replacement Medicare card, and much more. It is easy and a secure way to stay up to date on Social Security.

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