By Jim Donovan: More than 56 million Social Security recipients will see their monthly payments go up by 1.7 percent next year.
The increase, which starts in January, is tied to a measure of inflation released Tuesday. It shows that inflation has been relatively low over the past year, resulting in one of the smallest increases in Social Security payments since automatic adjustments were adopted in 1975.
This year, Social Security recipients received a 3.6 percent increase in benefits after getting none the previous two years.
About 8 million people who receive Supplemental Security Income will also receive a cost-of-living adjustment, or COLA.
Social Security payments for retired workers average $1,237 a month, or about $14,800 a year. A 1.7 percent increase will amount to about $21 a month, or $252 a year, on average.
Some of next year’s COLA could be wiped out by higher Medicare premiums, which are deducted from Social Security payments. The Medicare Part B premium, which covers doctor visits, is expected to rise by about $7 per month for 2013, according to government projections.
The premium is currently $99.90 a month for most seniors. Medicare is expected to announce the premium for 2013 in the coming weeks.
The amount of wages subjected to Social Security taxes is going up, too. Social Security is supported by a 12.4 percent tax on wages up to $110,100. That threshold will increase to $113,700 next year, resulting in higher taxes for nearly 10 million workers and their employers, according to the Social Security Administration.