1.  Most workers pay 6.2% of their payroll taxes into the Social Security system and employers match that amount.  Self employed individuals pay 12.4% of their income to Social Security.  Taxpayers can check the amounts they have paid online by setting up an account with Social Security.
  2. There is a $127,00 tax cap on Social Security taxes.  Income above this amount is not subject to Social Security taxes.
  3. Your Social Security benefits are calculated based upon the 35 years in which you earn the most money.  Working more than 35 years can increase your benefits because years with lower earnings will drop out.
  4. The average Social Security Retirement check is $1370.  Retired couples typically average $2260.  Payments are adjusted yearly based on the cost of living adjustment.
  5. Workers first become eligible for retirement at age 62, but monthly payments are reduced if you elect to take benefits at this age.
  6. The baby boomer full retirement age is 66.  If you are born after 55, the retirement age gradually increases.
  7. The full retirement age will be 67 for individuals born in 1967 or later.
  8. Social Security Retirement benefits will increase if an individual delays taking the benefit.  The benefit will increase each month after the full retirement age up to age 70.  Monthly payments can be 24-32% if an individual delays retirement until age 70.
  9. If you elect to draw benefits prior to age 65 and you continue working, your benefits may be reduced if you earn more than $16,920 (in 2017).  Beneficiaries who exceed the earnings limit will have $1 deducted from their checks for each $2 they earn over $16,920.  Those who turn 66 in 2017 will have a higher earnings limit of $44,880 and the penalty declines to $1 withheld for every $3 earned.  Once you turn 66, there is no benefit reduction for any amount of earnings and your payments may be increased to give you credit for ongoing income.
  10. If the sum of your adjusted gross income, nontaxable interest and one-half of your Social Security benefits exceeds $25,00 or $32,000 for couples, half of your Social Security benefits become subject to income tax.

This post is shamelessly stolen from my local paper, the Florida Times Union.  The article features Katrina Billings, who was born with significant mental and physical disabilities and discusses the impact she has had on others.

For the full story check out the article:

http://jacksonville.com/metro/2016-11-29/katrina-billings-doesn-t-let-sight-hearing-losses-hold-her-back

From a November 2016 OIG Report:

“The hearings and appeals process has experienced worsening timeliness and growing backlogs. For instance, the average processing time for a hearing increased 27 percent from 426 days at the end of FY 2010 to 543 days at the end of 2016. Moreover, during the same period, the pending hearings backlog grew 59 percent, from 705,367 cases at the end of FY 2010 to 1,122,014 at the end of FY 2016. In addition, the Appeals Council workload had grown 21 percent since FY 2010 to about 129,000 pending appeals at the end of FY 2016, and average processing time during the same period increased about 13 percent from 345 to 389 days.”

For the full audit report:

https://oig.ssa.gov/audits-and-investigations/audit-reports/A-02-17-50240

 

 

Expedited Reinstatement

December 7, 2016

SSA has published new rules on Expedited Reinstatement (EXR).  The final rule changes the policy effective April 17, 2017 and now allows beneficiaries to request expedited reinstatement of benefits in the month they stop performing substantial gainful activity (SGA).  The previous rule required beneficiaries to request EXR in the month in which they were unable to work at the SGA level.  This meant someone who earned SGA amounts in the first week of March and then stopped working due to their medical impairments had to wait until April to request EXR.  The new rule will allow the individual to apply for EXR as soon as they stop performing SGA.

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