If you receive monthly Social Security and Supplemental Security Income benefits your benefits will increase 1.7% beginning in January 2013.
Cost of Living Adjustment
The cost of living adjustment (COLA) is made annually. Sometimes there is no increase as we saw in 2010 and 2011, and sometimes it is as high as 14.3% which we saw in the 1980’s during the high inflation years. The COLA for 2012 was 3.6%.
No More Paper Checks
Another change for 2013, for those receiving Social Security benefits, is that paper checks are being phased out by March 1, 2013. In my first job out of college I worked at a bank, while I did not work in the lobby, I walked past the lobby to get to the elevators on the way to my office. I remember that the lobby was always packed on the third day of the month, because Social Security checks were hitting mailboxes and customers would bringing them in to deposit them. That was many years ago, I’m sure that isn’t the case anymore. However, the estimate is that the government is going to save $120 million dollars per year when they stop mailing paper checks. So there are many people that still get paper checks, and there will be a cost savings to moving people to direct deposit. If you get paper checks, be aware that you must sign up for direct deposit very soon.
Maximum Earnings Subject to Social Security Tax
For those of you still working, the maximum amount of earnings subject to the Social Security tax has been increased from $110,100 to $113,700.