Thursday, February 1, 2018

Social Security Changes Worth Knowing About

In 2017, some 45,497,828 retired workers and dependents collected Social Security benefits. During the same time, 10,411,252 disabled workers and dependents received benefits. So, you can see that the vast majority of beneficiaries receiving benefits are retired Americans.

Each year, millions of older adults in the U.S. heavily rely on the Social Security Administration (SSA) to help cover the costs of living. Without SSA programs it’s probably fair to say that many of those same people would find it extremely difficult to manage. It is essential that such people keep themselves apprised of the changes that occur at the agency, as they may affect one’s benefits, and thus, individuals' way of life.

Most changes to Social Security are small, but now and then a drastic change is made that can impact your life. This year, there are seven changes that beneficiaries might have an interest in, The Week reports. Some of the alterations may affect your benefits, useful information to have when you are trying to plan your retirement strategy.

SSA Changes 2018


One change of note is that most workers will no longer receive paper statements in the mail showing past annual earnings and estimate Social Security benefits. You must sign up for a my Social Security account to retrieve info; only people, over 60, currently collecting benefits will continue getting paper statements. 

Full Retirement Age (FRA) is age (66), that is the age at which you can claim full benefits without a monthly reduction. Americans can begin collecting retirement at age 62. However, the administration is transitioning FRA to 67, according to the article. The cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) is raised to 2 percent in 2018 (although, premium increases for Medicare Part B may cancel out the rise). 

There is a higher taxable earnings cap, which means people who make more money have a new taxable earnings threshold of $128,700. A higher earnings limits affects people who collect benefits before reaching the FRA, they can receive income up to a certain threshold without reducing their benefits.

There are also higher beneficiary payments in 2018, with average paychecks increasing by $27 per month, the article reports. While people collecting Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) understand their payments are scaled to work records, the threshold for monthly income that can be earned without impacting benefits will rise to $1,970 for the blind and disabled, and $1,180 for the non-blind disabled. Those receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) are getting a bump too: $750 for individuals and $1,125 for couples.

The final change this year involves a Social Security credit increase. As of 2018, individuals must accrue 40 credits for Social Security eligibility, each credit requires $1,320 in earnings.


SSDI and SSI Attorney


Attorney Stephanie Driscoll can help you and your loved ones with applying and qualifying for disability benefits. If your claim was denied, we can assist you to appeal the decision. Please contact us today.