New Changes To Social Security
As of 2013, several changes have been implemented by the Social Security Administration that are designed to help streamline operations, reduce costs, and create user friendly applications for retirees and other Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid recipients.
The changes include:
- Paper checks are ending because the Treasury department will stop mailing them to Social Security recipients. Recipients will be given a choice to have their Social Security payments either directly deposited into a bank or credit union account or loaded onto a prepaid Direct Express Debit MasterCard.
- There will be reduced hours for Social Security offices. In order to reduce overtime hours and save money, Social Security Administration locations will be closing thirty minutes early each day.
- More services and resources have been moved online. People can go online to access their Social Security statements and their earnings history from the comfort of their own homes which will make trips to their local Social Security Administration offices unnecessary in many cases.
- The two year payroll tax cut has officially come to an end. Workers will resume making contributions of 6.2 percent of their earnings up from the reduced amount of 4.2 percent in 2011 and 2012.
- A higher payroll tax cap has been increased from $110,100 in 2011 and 2012 to $113,700. This is an increase of $3,600. Workers who earn more may not have to pay Social Security taxes on that income.
- There will be a higher earnings limit on people between 62 and 66 years of age who work and collect Social Security benefits at the same time. Part or all of their Social Security benefit may be temporarily withheld. Workers between the ages of 62 and 65 can earn up to $15,120. After that, $1 in benefits will be withheld for every $2 of income above the earnings limit. Those who turn 66 in 2013 can earn up to 40,080 and then $1 of benefits will be withheld for every $3 earned above the limit. Once you turn your full retirement age, you can earn any amount without penalty and collect Social Security benefits at the same time. Your monthly payments will also be adjusted to reflect any benefits that were withheld.
- Social Security benefits will increase by 1.7 percent in 2013 as a result of a cost of living adjustment. The average monthly Social Security benefit will rise from $1,240 to $1,261.
For more information about the changes to Social Security benefits, visit www.socialsecurity.gov or contact your local Social Security Administration Office.