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Wednesday October 17, 2018

Washington News

Washington Hotline

Social Security Benefits Increase by 2.8% in 2019

The Social Security Administration recently announced the cost-of-living increase for Social Security benefits in 2019. The 2.8% increase is the largest boost in six years. The cost-of-living increase was 0% in 2016, 0.3% in 2017 and 2% in 2018. Over 67 million Americans receive Social Security and will enjoy an increased check in January of 2019.

The average 2018 Social Security payment of $1,400 per month will increase by about $39. Social Security recipients with larger payouts will appreciate a greater increase in the value of their benefits.

Military retirees will also receive a 2.8% cost-of-living increase. Veterans benefits for disability pay and dependents' compensation will also benefit from the 2.8% increase.

House Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Phil Roe (R-TN) was clearly pleased with the decision by Congress to pass legislation to give military retirees and veterans the 2.8% increase. Because the increases in military benefits are not automatic like the Social Security changes, they require an act of Congress. Roe stated, "So many veterans rely on disability compensation payments to make ends meet, and this cost-of-living adjustment means they will be able to continue to do so."

The Center for Medicare and Medicaid announced increased Medicare Part B premiums for 2019 this week. The basic Medicare premium will increase by $1.50 from $134 to $135.50 per month.

Low-income Social Security recipients (about 4% or 2 million individuals) will pay less than $135.50. Their Medicare premium is limited to the increase in Social Security.

Upper-income recipients of Social Security (about 5% or 3 million individuals) will pay higher Medicare premiums. The Medicare premium surcharge is based on modified adjusted gross income (MAGI).

Single filers with MAGI over $85,000 and married couples filing jointly over $170,000 will pay a Medicare surcharge. For single taxpayers, the Medicare premium increases to $189.60 with MAGI over $85,000. The single filer surcharge tops out with a total monthly cost of $460.50 if MAGI is over $500,000.

For married couples with MAGI over $750,000, the Medicare surcharge is $460.50 per month. The annual Medicare premium for these couples is $11,052.


Published October 12, 2018
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