Social Security Administration announces large increase in 2017 wage base

by Ben Pena October 23, 2016, 1:16
Social Security Administration announces large increase in 2017 wage base

For the second year in a row, thousands of Lancaster County seniors are facing the possibility of steep Medicare Part B premium increases.

The Social Security Administration announced that cost-of-living adjustments for 2017 will only rise 0.3 percent - or about $5 on average to $1,360 a month. "Come on, if they're going to give us a raise, they have to give us a little more."For Carmen Ramos, a retired Reading laborer and tax collection employee, next year's increase won't keep up with her rising rent, which jumped more than 2 percent a month, from $586 to $600, beginning on October 1".

The was no Social Security cost of living adjustment announced in 2015 for 2016, meaning Social Security checks didn't increase.

Finally, it's important to note that even if the CPI-W decreases, Social Security can not have a negative COLA.

The average SSI recipient receives $540 per month, so the average SSI check will increase by a little more than $1.60.

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So next year's paltry 0.3% increase pales indeed.

There was no Social Security benefit increase this year, and next year's will be small because inflation is low, driven in part by cheaper fuel prices.

"When I go to the grocery store and I buy groceries, I don't get as much as I used to", said Lilac, a resident of Skyline View Apartments.

Consumer advocates have criticized the inflation measure in recent years, arguing it does not accurately reflect the expenses retirees face. The COLA also affects benefits for about 4 million disabled veterans, 2.5 million federal retirees and their survivors, and more than 8 million people who get Supplemental Security Income, the disability program for the poor.

Weade says options like 401-K or Roth IRA are retirement plans to consider. Because of this and the COLA, the maximum possible Social Security benefit at full retirement age is increasing from $2,639 to $2,687. About 12 million workers will pay more in taxes because of the change, the administration estimates.

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