Social Security 2019 Cost of Living Increase

By Katherine L on December 5, 2018 | In Social Security Disability

Social Security 2019 Cost of Living Increase

More than 67 million Americans will enjoy a 2.8% cost of living increase in their Social Security Disability (SSDI) benefits, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Veterans Disability Compensation in 2019.

The increase is the largest since 2012. By law the cost of living, as measured by the Department of Labor’s Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers, dictates an annual increase in federal benefits. Generally, when the prices for goods and services that we purchase and use go up, the monthly benefit levels increase to help consumers keep pace with the cost of living.

Similarly to last year’s cost of living increase, which was driven in part by higher gas prices due to hurricanes Harvey and Irma, the east coast hurricane Florence is influencing this year’s increase. The damage and disruption caused by Florence may push oil and gas prices higher.

In addition to the 2.8% cost of living increase, other Social Security Administration annual changes due to the cost of living adjustments include:

  • Medicare costs. Medicare premiums and Part B deductibles are increasing slightly, which may eat into the benefit payment increases.
  • Earnings while receiving disability benefits. Those who are receiving disability benefits can now earn up to $1,220 per month beginning January 1 without affecting their SSDI benefits. Blind beneficiaries may earn up to $2,040 monthly.
  • Maximum earnings cap. The maximum taxable earnings cap, or the wages on which Social Security taxes are paid, is increasing to $132,900. This also means that the maximum earnings used in benefit calculations will rise to $132,900. The FICA tax rate including Social Security and Medicare taxes remains unchanged at 7.65% or 15.3% for those who are self-employed.
  • Maximum retirement benefit. For those retiring at their full retirement ages, the maximum monthly benefit increases from $2,788 to $2,861.
  • Full retirement age. The full retirement age for anyone who turns 62 in 2019 is increasing to age 66 and 6 months.
  • Retirement earnings limit. If you are collecting Social Security retirement benefits and working, and are not yet at your full retirement age, you will be able to earn up to $17,640 annually beginning in 2019 before your benefit has to be reduced. This represents an increase of $600 over 2018. Note that once you reach your full retirement age, there is no limit to the amount that you can earn and still receive full Social Security retirement benefits.

The Department of Veterans Affairs uses the same cost of living determination for disability benefits, so those will also increase by 2.8% in 2019.

We Can Help With Your Social Security Disability Application or Appeal

If you or a loved one has been denied Worker’s Compensation or Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits, it’s important to get an attorney experienced in these types of cases involved immediately.  Call 800.438.7734 for your initial free consultation, either in our office or in the comfort of your own home.  The Kenton Koszdin Law Office, Social Security attorney in Van Nuys, can help you navigate the application process for the best possible outcome for you and your family.

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