Social Security Checks Up Modest 1.7 Percent for 2013

Seniors will get a 1.7 percent increase in their monthly Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, one of the smallest cost-of-living jumps since upward adjustments became automatic 37 years ago.
The Social Security Administration today announced the increase for nearly 62 million Americans.
The cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) will begin with benefits that more than 56 million Social Security beneficiaries receive in January 2013. Increased payments to more than 8 million SSI beneficiaries will begin on December 31, 2012.
Other adjustments that take effect in January of each year affect taxpayers, some of whom will pay higher taxes.
The maximum amount of earnings subject to the Social Security tax (taxable maximum) will increase to $113,700 from $110,100.  Of the estimated 163 million workers who will pay Social Security taxes in 2013, nearly 10 million will pay higher taxes as a result of the increase in the taxable maximum.
Seniors get an average of $1,237 a month. The increase will add about $21 a month to their checks, according to the agency. But for some beneficiaries, the Social Security increase may be partially or completely offset by increases in Medicare premiums.
Information about Medicare changes for 2013, when announced, will be available at www.Medicare.gov.
The Medicare Part B premium is now about $100 a month and the government is projecting an expected increase of about $7 a month when new rate schedules are announced soon. The Part B premium covers doctor’s visits.
Social Security benefits are currently funded by a 6.2 percent tax on employee wages, with a similar amount collected from employers. Workers have paid two percentage points less during the economic downturn as part of a payroll tax holiday, which is set to expire at year’s end.

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