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January 7, 2015 | by Justin Fundalinski, MBA
Changes to Social Security for 2015

When you're done reading, be sure to listen to our audio blog below!

A new year is upon us!  We have all aged a bit more and hopefully grown exponentially wiser.  As we all know, the new year brings changes and adjustments that will become integrated into our lives… at least until these change once again.  With that said, even Social Security is not immune and there will be some changes to Social Security for 2015 as well.

  1. You are going to get paid more:   The Social Security Administration announced a cost of living adjustment (COLA) for 2015 of 1.7%.  This COLA adjustment will increase the average retirement benefit from $1,306 to $1,328.  While it’s nice to get paid more, this pay raise may not keep up with the inflation rate that retirees experience. For our take on the COLA adjustment visit our post on the 2015 Cost of Living Adjustment.
  1. Your earnings limits have been increased: If you are claiming Social Security Retirement benefits prior to your Full Retirement Age you are subject to an earnings test that can reduce your benefits. The limits for this earnings test have been increased under these circumstances:
    • If you are under the age of 66 you will continue to have $1 of benefits withheld for every $2 of earnings above the earning test limit.  The earnings test (or exempt amount from this rule) increased from $15,480/year to $15,720/year in 2015.
    • In the year you turn your Full Retirement Age you will continue to have $1 of benefits withheld for every $3 of earning above the earning test limit.  The earnings test (or exempt amount) for this age bracket increased from $41,400/year to $41,880/year in 2015.
    • And, there continues to be no limit on earnings beginning the month that you reach your Full Retirement Age.

To learn more on how this works visit our post on the Social Security Earnings Test, and keep in mind the changes for 2015 listed above.

  1. The maximum Social Security Retirement benefit has been increased:  The highest benefit that you can receive when claiming at Full Retirement Age has been increased from $2,642/month to $2,663/month for 2015. This probably won’t affect the majority of claims considering the average benefit for 2015 is expected to be $1,328.

There are lots of nuances when it comes to calculating how much your Social Security benefit will be, however if you are interested in these details visit our Benefit Calculation page.

  1. Your maximum taxable earnings have been increased:  You will continue to pay the Social Security tax (OASDI) of 6.2%. However, the maximum earnings subject to this tax has been increased from $117,000 to $118,500.
  1. Your Social Security Statements: If you don’t have an online account with the Social Security Administration, you can expect to get a paper statement when you turn age 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, 50, 55, 60, and each year after 60. This statement will give you an overview of your earnings history, what you have paid in Social Security taxes, and an estimate of your expected benefits.  If you have created an online account you can check your statement any time at www.ssa.gov/myaccount/.

It is important to note that this is not a comprehensive list of all the changes being implemented for 2015. If you would like to see a more detailed list visit the Social Security Administrations Fact Sheet on 2015 Changes.

For more information on this topic be sure to use the play button below to listen to our audio post.

 

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