Social Security Check In

It seems like Social Security is a hot button issue every time there’s an election. But how much real news have you heard about our nation’s most successful social program in the past few months?

Here’s some real news about what’s going on with Social Security:

Millions will get more money in 2013 – The Social Security Administration announced in October that nearly 62 million Americans will get a 1.7 percent cost-of-living-adjustment (COLA) in their benefits this year. The increased payments began Dec. 31, 2012.

People with Huntington’s Disease will get benefits – Adults with this serious neurological disease will now be eligible for benefits under the SSA’s Compassionate Allowances program.

You can now access your statement online – In 2012, the SSA created a Web access program that allows you to view your Social Security benefits statement online at any time, as many times as you like throughout the year. You no longer have to wait for a paper statement to see what your benefits will be upon retirement.

Now for the not-so-great news:

According to AARP, additional changes of 2013 include:

An increase in maximum taxable earnings. In 2012, the government only took Social Security taxes out of earnings up to $110,100. In 2013, they’ll tax up to $113,700 – so higher wage earners will pay SS tax on an additional $3,600 in income.

You’ll need to earn an additional $30 in income this year to earn one Social Security credit. In 2012, workers earned one credit for each $1,130 of income with a maximum of up to four credits for the year. In 2013, you’ll get one credit for each $1,160 of earnings.

Finally, a temporary reduction in SS taxes passed by Congress as part of economic stimulus efforts will expire at the end of this year. In 2012, workers paid 4.2 percent up to the maximum amount of $110,100. On Jan. 1, 2013, that percentage was raised to 6.2 percent.

For those close to or already in retirement, this information will help you stay up to date on the latest regarding Social Security. For those still planning for retirement, there are also other tips to help with planning a debt free retirement.