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Social Security Announces 3.6 Percent Benefit Increase for 2012

Cost-of-Living Adjustment is First Since 2009

Monthly Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits for more than 60 million Americans will increase 3.6 percent in 2012, the Social Security Administration announced today.

The increase will be 3.6%, or about $516 year for the average recipient.. Cost-of-living adjustments (COLA) will begin in January 2012. 

Some other changes 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 $110,100 from $106,800.  Of the estimated 161 million workers who will pay Social Security taxes in 2012, about 10 million will pay higher taxes as a result of the increase in the taxable maximum.

Information about Medicare changes for 2012, when announced, will be available at www.Medicare.gov.  For some beneficiaries, their Social Security increase may be partially or completely offset by increases in Medicare premiums. That’s because Part B premiums are also tied to inflation.  Many people’s premiums will rise, although Medicare has not announced what the raises will be. One prediction is that Part B premiums will rise by about 1/3rd, or from about $96 a month to $110 (for individuals with incomes below $85,000 and had their premiums deducted from SS prior to Dec. 2009 – other participants pay slightly more). So if the average benefit goes up $43 a month, the Part B premium would take $14 of that increase.

To read more, please visit www.socialsecurity.gov/cola.

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