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U.S. Social Security 0.3% Benefit Increase for 2017

Outline: Monthly Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits for more than 65 million Americans will increase 0.3 percent in 2017.

Main Digest

The 0.3 percent cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) will begin with benefits payable to more than 60 million Social Security beneficiaries in January 2017. Increased payments to more than 8 million SSI beneficiaries will begin on December 30, 2016. The Social Security Act ties the annual COLA to the increase in the Consumer Price Index as determined by the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Some other adjustments that take effect in January of each year are based on the increase in average wages. Based on that increase, the maximum amount of earnings subject to the Social Security tax (taxable maximum) will increase to $127,200 from $118,500. Of the estimated 173 million workers who will pay Social Security taxes in 2017, about 12 million will pay more because of the increase in the taxable maximum.

 

Tax Rate:

2016

2017

 

 

 

Employee

7.65%

7.65%

 

Self-Employed

15.30%

15.30%

NOTE: The 7.65% tax rate is the combined rate for Social Security and Medicare. The Social Security portion (OASDI) is 6.20% on earnings up to the applicable taxable maximum amount (see below). The Medicare portion (HI) is 1.45% on all earnings. Also, as of January 2013, individuals with earned income of more than $200,000 ($250,000 for married couples filing jointly) pay an additional 0.9 percent in Medicare taxes. The tax rates shown above do not include the 0.9 percent.

Maximum Taxable Earnings:

 

Social Security (OASDI only)

$118,500

$127,200

 

Medicare (HI only)

N o

L i m i t

 

Quarter of Coverage:

 

 

 

 

$1,260

$1,300

Retirement Earnings Test Exempt Amounts:

Under full retirement age

$15,720/yr.

$16,920/yr.

 

($1,310/mo.)

($1,410/mo.)

NOTE: One dollar in benefits will be withheld for every $2 in earnings above the limit.

The year an individual reaches full retirement age

$41,880/yr.

$44,880/yr.

 

($3,490/mo.)

($3,740/mo.)

NOTE: Applies only to earnings for months prior to attaining full retirement age. One dollar in benefits will be withheld for every $3 in earnings above the limit. There is no limit on earnings beginning the month an individual attains full retirement age.

Social Security Disability Thresholds:

Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA)

 

 

 

 

Non-Blind

$

1,130/mo.

$

1,170/mo.

Blind

$

1,820/mo.

$

1,950/mo.

Trial Work Period (TWP)

$

810/mo.

$

840/mo.

Maximum Social Security Benefit: Worker Retiring at Full Retirement Age:

$2,639/mo. $2,687/mo.

SSI Federal Payment Standard:

Individual

$

733/mo.

$

735/mo.

Couple

$

1,100/mo.

$

1,103/mo.

SSI Resources Limits:

Individual

$2,000

$2,000

Couple

$3,000

$3,000

SSI Student Exclusion:

Monthly limit

$1,780

$1,790

Annual limit

$7,180

$7,200

Estimated Average Monthly Social Security Benefits Payable in January 2017:

 

Before

After

 

0.3% COLA

0.3% COLA

All Retired Workers

$1,355

$1,360

Aged Couple, Both Receiving Benefits

$2,254

$2,260

Widowed Mother and Two Children

$2,686

$2,695

Aged Widow(er) Alone

$1,296

$1,300

Disabled Worker, Spouse and One or More Children

$1,990

$1,996

All Disabled Workers

$1,167

$1,171

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