There are changes to the way Social Security operates every year, and the Social Security Administration (SSA) released what some of those changes will be for 2018 to help people be aware of what will be different.
Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA)
First up is a change to COLA, which is an adjustment to benefits to meet the new cost of living that’s figured out from the Consumer Price Index in the third quarter of last year and the year before. For 2018 the rise should be an increase of 2.0 percent.
Tax Rates Remaining Unchanged
For those that are having Social Security taxes deducted from their income, which is where the program gets its funding from, the rates will be the same.
Change in Thresholds
Depending on what type of benefit a person is qualified for, it changes how much income a person can be earning so they can be eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI). For those that are non-blind the amount rises to $1,180 a month, a change of $10. Likewise for the Trial Work Period (TWP) it rose $10 and is now up to $850. The biggest change comes to those that are blind, as that rises to $1,970 a month.
This information comes from the SSA’s press release that came out November 27, 2017. While it should be the final draft for the changes, it’s still important to check with the SSA to see how benefits may have changed for individual recipients.
Changes to Old Age Benefit
Along with changes to disability insurance policies, there are also changes to retiree and old age benefits as well. As well as those on the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and SSI programs, the change to COLA should also be applied to retiree benefits.
The full retirement age will also go up by two months, taking it a bit longer to be fully qualified for the maximum benefit. This was built into the Social Security program under President Reagan when a bill was passed and signed into law creating a mandatory staggered increase to the full retirement age.
Also, the maximum taxable earnings cap is rising, as it’s tied to the National Average Wage Index. This change helps add more funds to the SSA by being able to tax higher earnings than the years prior. Generally this is a good sign for the economy as it shows that wages are going up across the nation.