The Social Security program was started in 1935 to provide an income for older individuals who could no longer work. It has also provided an income for many disabled Americans. Since that time, the program has been changed and adapted to a growing demographic that is covered by its benefits. For 2018, a number of changes are helping to keep the program viable and effective for supporting the country’s aging population.
In 2018, Social Security beneficiaries will see a slight increase in their benefit checks. A two percent increase in the cost of living adjustment (COLA) will lift the average check from $1,377 to $1,404 next year. A scheduled rise in Medicare premiums will largely erase the increase for some enrollees.
No Paper Statements
Workers will no longer receive statements of their expected benefits in the mail in 2018. Instead, individuals will be expected to sign up on the Social Security website to create an account that will provide the amount of their benefit to date. This action will save money on administrative costs for the program, any will provide more opportunities to update personal information.
Changing Age Requirements for Some People
In 2018, certain changes regarding eligibility will come into effect. To comply with legislation that ensured financial viability for the program in the future, individuals born after 1956 will have to wait until they are 66 and 4 months old to receive their full Social Security benefits, up from 66 and 2 months for those born in 1955 and the 66 years for those born between 1943 and 1956. A social security disability attorney can help you if you have questions about this.
Bigger Incomes Pay More into the Program
Another change involves individuals who are at higher income levels. These individuals will have to pay more into the Social Security system in 2018. Previously, social security taxes were capped at $127,200. In 2018, the tax will be capped at $128,400.
Higher Earnings Limits
If you continue to work after beginning your Social Security benefits before full retirement age, you will be able to earn more in 2018 before your benefit it decreased. Early enrollees will be able to earn up to $17,040 before they begin to lose a benefit dollar for each $2 over the limit. Those who receive benefits and who are at full retirement age, are not penalized for the additional income.
The Social Security program has been of great benefit to millions of older Americans, but the growing number of people retiring has triggered a need to make changes that could affect you. If you are far from retirement age, save as much as possible to offset changes that are likely to come in the future. If you are close to retirement age, read the information on the Social Security website carefully to understand the current requirements.