There Are Other Changes in 2014 for Social Security
Beneficiaries Along with COLA Increase
do you get your COLA for 2014?; what else changes next year
Dec. 23, 1013 Senior citizens in Social Security
do get a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) increase in 2014 but there are
other changes in the program, too, that are detailed by Oscar Garcia,
Informational Specialist with the Social Security Administration, in
this week's Q&A on Social Security. He also explains when you can
receive spousal benefits, while spouse receives benefits, too.
Do I receive the cost of living increase for my
retirement benefit with the payment in December?
The 1.5 percent COLA begins with increased benefits
for Social Security beneficiaries in January 2014, and payments to SSI
recipients in late December 2013.
The estimated average monthly Social Security
payment to a retired worker is $1,294 (in 2014), up from $1,275 (in
2013). The average monthly Social Security disability payment for an
individual is $1,148 (in 2014), up from $1,131 (in 2013). The basic
monthly federal payment for SSI is $721 (in 2014), up from $710 (in
Some other changes that take effect in January of
each year are based on the increase in average wages. For example, the
maximum amount of earnings subject to the Social Security payroll tax
(taxable maximum) will increase to $117,000, up from $113,700. Of the
estimated 165 million workers who will pay Social Security taxes in
2014, about 10 million will pay higher taxes as a result of the increase
in the taxable maximum.
The amount of earnings needed for one credit of
Social Security coverage has gone up as well, but all workers can still
earn up to four credits in a year. In 2014, a worker earns a credit
after earning $1,200. In 2013, one credit of coverage was $1,160. It
takes forty credits to be fully insured for retirement benefits. Visit
to learn more about the COLA and other Social Security changes in 2014.
I am 63 years old and my spouse is 64 years old.
He receives Social Security, but I do not. Do I have the option right
now of receiving spousal benefits from him in order to preserve my
benefits until I am 66 or even 70, or does that only apply if I am full
You would have to wait until you are full
retirement age in order to receive the spousal benefit and still be able
to preserve your own benefit. If you apply for Social Security benefits
before you reach full retirement age, you have to receive the highest
benefit possible. This means we would check your entitlement on your
own record as well as the spousal benefit.
You would not have the choice of taking the lesser
benefit as a spouse and delaying your own retirement benefit until up to
age 70. You only have that option if you are at full retirement age
when you apply for benefits. If you wait until full retirement age, then
you can receive 50% of your spouses full benefit amount.
You can wait on your own retirement anytime between
full retirement age and age 70. This would allow you to earn the delayed
retirement credits on top of your full benefit amount. It is always a
good idea to contact Social Security to learn about your benefit
Oscar Garcia is a Public Affairs Specialist with
the Social Security Administration. You can direct your questions to him
at: SSA, 411 Richland Hills Drive, San Antonio, Texas, 78245. You can
also email him at Oscar.firstname.lastname@example.org.
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