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Social Security Benefits to Rise 4.1 Percent

  • October 14th, 2005

The nation's 48 million Social Security recipients will get a 4.1 percent cost of living increase in payments in 2006. This is expected to raise the monthly payment for the typical beneficiary by $39. While this is the largest increase in more than a decade, more than a quarter of it will go to pay the increase in the Medicare Part B premium.

The average monthly Social Security payment in 2006 will rise from $963 to $1,002 a month for an individual and from $1,583 to $1,648 for a couple. But most seniors will also be paying an extra $10.30 a month in their Medicare Part B premium starting in January. Most elderly and disabled people have their Medicare Part B premiums deducted from their monthly Social Security checks.

The Social Security cost of living adjustment also raises the maximum amount of earnings subject to taxation to $94,200, as well as the benefit-reduction thresholds for those who retire early.

The Normal Retirement Age (NRA) is age 65 and six months for those born in 1940 and 65 and 8 months for those born in 1941. Although there is no limit on earnings beginning the month an individual attains full retirement, those who choose to begin receiving Social Security benefits before their NRA may have their benefits reduced, depending on how much other income they earn. Those early beneficiaries whose NRA is after 2006 may now earn $12,480 a year before Social Security payments are reduced by $1 for every $2 earned above the limit. Those early beneficiaries who attain their NRA in 2006 will have their benefits reduced $1 for every $3 earned if their income exceeds $33,240 in the months prior to the month they reach their NRA.

For 2006, the monthly federal Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payment standard for an individual will be $603, and $904 for a couple.

For a complete list of the 2006 Social Security changes, go to: http://www.ssa.gov/pressoffice/factsheets/colafacts2006.htm

For more ElderLawAnswers information on Social Security, click here.

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Last Modified: 10/14/2005

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