October is a significant month for Social Security beneficiaries: it’s the month the Social Security Administration announces its yearly changes to Social Security benefits, rules, and calculations. Perhaps most importantly, it’s also when the SSA releases the new Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA), determining the raise each beneficiary will see in their Social Security benefits in the next year.
Last Thursday, the SSA made its annual announcement, detailing changes to several aspects of Social Security, including the retirement age, the taxable earnings cap, and the earnings limit for beneficiaries.
But first thing’s first…
What’s the 2019 COLA?
Social Security beneficiaries can expect a 2.8% increase in their checks next year. This is the biggest COLA increase since 2011 (3.6%). The average beneficiary will see around $39 extra per month and married couples will see an average increase of about $67.
The earnings limit for beneficiaries increases
Working beneficiaries age 65 and younger will be able to earn $600 more this year before hitting the maximum earnings limit and having part of their benefit withheld. In 2019, the maximum earnings limit for those under their full retirement age (FRA) will be $17,640.
If you’ve reached your FRA, your earnings limit will increase by $1,560 to a total of $46,920.
The taxable income cap is going up
This year, only the first $128,400 a person makes is subject to the Social Security payroll tax. Next year, that cap raises to $132,900, making $4,500 more of an individual’s earnings taxable.
A raise in retirement age for those turning 62
If you’re turning 62 next year, you’ll have to wait two more months to reach your FRA. Currently, the FRA is 66 and six months for those born in 1957 (those born in 1956 turning 62 this year have a FRA of 66 and four months).
For more information about your new COLA and changes to Social Security for 2019, visit the Social Security Administration’s website right here.