In October 2014, the Social Security Administration announced several changes that it planned for the year 2015. Some of them were routine ones; others were a change of policy. Here are five of the most significant changes that you can expect to see to Social Security rules in the year 2015.
Bigger checks are coming
The Social Security Administration automatically tracks the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers to make sure that its benefit payments keep up with inflation. Social Security adjustments were non-existent in some years (2010 and 2011) and as high as 14% in others (1980, for instance). In the year 2015, Social Security recipients will see a 1.7% cost-of-living boost to their checks. While the average benefit to retired workers was $1,306 in 2014, it will rise to $1,328 in the new year. The average retired couple will make $2,176 a month (a rise of $36).
A higher maximum benefit level is planned
In 2014, the maximum Social Security benefit possible for any worker was $2,642. This limit has been raised by $21 for next year. In 2015, the maximum benefit possible for any worker will be $2,663.
A higher tax cap is planned
In most cases, workers contribute 6.2% of their paychecks to Social Security until their payments reach a set tax cap. Up until 2014, the maximum taxable earnings for the purpose of Social Security contributions was $117,000. This will rise by $1,500 in 2015. This change will have the effect of raising contributions for 10 million workers. Those who earn more than $180,500 will not pay Social Security taxes on the excess. They wil also not see these earnings factored into their Social Security benefits.
Bigger earnings limits are expected
Social Security recipients under the age of 66 may earn as much as $1,306 each month in the 2015. Over this amount, the SSA will withhold 50% of all benefits due. Beneficiaries who turn 66 in the year 2015 will have 33% of benefits received beyond $41,880. Past the age of 66, though, there is no limit to what can be learned.
The SSA is sending out paper statements
The SSA used to send out paper statements to all recipients each year. In 2011, though, the Administration suspended these mailings to conserve its resources. Beginning 2015, these mailings will start again. If you are over the age of 25 and haven’t signed up for an online Social Security account, the SSA will now send out paper statements once every five years until you turn 60. These paper statements will record your earnings history, information about taxes paid, the benefits you can expect to receive and so on. Typically, you will receive these paper statements about three months ahead of your birthday on the years that they are due. Past the age of 60, the SSA will send out yearly paper statements.