Social Security recipients will get a 1.6 percent cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) in their monthly benefits starting in January. The average individual retired Social Security beneficiary is expected to see a monthly benefit jump from $1,479 to $1,503, an increase of roughly $24 per month or $288 for the year.
According to an article in Forbes magazine in September, there are several changes to Social Security coming in 2020.
Here are six ways that Social Security will be changing in 2020:
Dipping into the Social Security Trust Fund
Without some major action from Congress, the current excess trust fund revenue will be depleted by the year 2034. If this occurs, it is estimated that Social Security would only be able to pay less than 80% of the promised benefits from ongoing payroll taxes.
If the government throws out lowering the payroll tax to spur the economy, the Social Security trust fund would likely be depleted faster.
Full Retirement Age Has Increased
For those still a few years away from retirement, those born in 1960 or later, the full retirement age has increased to 67. You will still be able to start taking Social Security Retirement Benefits at age 62, but with reduced monthly payments.
Cost of Living Adjustment
Low inflation is a good thing for consumers, as it means pricing isn’t going up that quickly. On the other hand, lower inflation numbers mean small cost of living increases for your Social Security benefits. In case you didn’t know, your Social Security benefits may be increased each year, partially depending on inflation numbers.
For 2020, the Social Security cost of living adjustment will be 1.6%. Not life-changing, but if you are living off Social Security alone, every penny counts. For the average retiree, this would likely amount to around $25 more per month. For the highest earners, this could come closer to $50 more per month in Social Security retirement benefits.
Maximum Social Security Benefits Will Increase
For workers near the top of the Social Security income scale, $132,900 or more for 2019, your maximum Social Security payout will likely increase slightly in 2020. No individual at full retirement age can take home more than $2,861 per month, regardless of their pre-retirement income. This number can be increased by delaying Social Security until the age of 70.
In case you were wondering, waiting till 70 could increase your Social Security benefit by 32% compared with the starting benefit at 66. This takes the maximum monthly benefit up to about $3,776 per month.
More of Your Social Security Will be Taxed
Yes, your Social Security benefits are taxable. The amount that is hit with taxes will depend on household income levels. Just fifty percent of your benefits will be taxed if your income is between $25,000 and $34,000 as an individual. That goes up to $32,000 to $44,000 for a married couple, still another example of the marriage penalty.
Hopefully, everyone reading this will have more income than that to live off in retirement. If so, 85% of your Social Security benefits will be taxable. That is assuming you have an income in retirement above $34,000 (individual) or $44,000 as a married couple.
End of Two Great Social Security Maximization Strategies
File and suspend was a great social security maximization strategy that is no longer available to younger Americans. The last few baby boomers who were grandfathered into eligibility will turn 70 in 2020. Seventy is the latest you can wait to start your Social Security benefits.
Whatever your age, take a moment and register for access to your Social Security Benefit estimates. Visit ssa.gov, just take a few minutes and you will be able to find more information about Social Security, and more importantly, what it will mean for your retirement.
Think about your Social Security benefits when you vote in 2020 as well. With record deficits and the skyrocketing national debt, there are often cuts to programs like Social Security and Medicare.
At Tacoma Elder Care, we are always working on ways to help you. If you are just beginning to think about your planning, we highly recommend attending one of our FREE workshops to learn more about how to start, and the most important documents everyone needs to have in place. Contact us today to register, or to schedule a FREE consultation.