COLA Social Security 2023 update — Americans to get $4,555 checks 11 more times this year – see full payment schedule
By Suzanne BlakeJennifer Korn,2023-01-12
MILLIONS of Americans are due to receive 11 more Social Security checks that reflect the COLA raise this year.
The cost-of-living adjustment has increased to 8.7 percent, which means Social Security payments on average will rise by $140 to $1,827, with the maximum benefit rising to $4,555.
Depending on your birthday, monthly payments go out on the second, third, and fourth Wednesday of the month.
For example, if your birth date is between the first and 10th, the payment will be deposited on the second Wednesday of each month.
If your birth date is on the 11th-20th, it will be deposited on the third Wednesday of each month, and if your birth date is on the 21st-31st, it will be deposited on the fourth Wednesday of each month.
There are 11 payments of up to $4,555 remaining in the year for each individual who receives Social Security benefits.
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States with the highest cost of living
Below are the top 10 most expensive states to live in and how their cost of living compares to the national average, according to Insure.com.
- Hawaii (+88.29%)
- District of Columbia (+56.87%)
- New York (+48.30%)
- California (+46.12%)
- Alaska (+26.07%)
- Maryland (+25.24%)
- Oregon (+24.02%)
- Massachusetts (+21.61%)
- New Hampshire (+19.91%)
- Washington (+19.11%)
Reasons behind inflation
There are many factors to consider about the reasons behind inflation.
Many things are responsible for the rise: the pandemic, labor shortages, wage increases, raw material cost hikes, government spending, and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Some experts say inflation will cool once demand slows, supply chain shortages level out, and largely depends on the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.
Additionally, the Federal Reserve has continued to raise rates hoping to cool demand and slow the economy.
- Help for recipients, continued
- Financial assistance not listed below may affect SSI eligibility or payment amount, according to the Social Security Administration.
- Find more information about the programs offered on the administration’s Emergency Assistance for Homeowners and Renters webpage.
Additional help for recipients
The Social Security Administration is informing recipients about help available for homeowners and renters during the coronavirus pandemic.
Financial help can affect eligibility for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or monthly SSI amounts.
However, emergency financial assistance received from the following programs and funds will not count against a recipient’s eligibility or payment amount, according to the Social Security Administration:
- Emergency Rental Assistance Fund
- Emergency Assistance for Rural Housing/Rural Rental Assistance
- Homeowner Assistance Fund
- Housing Assistance and Supportive Services Programs for Native Americans
Beneficiaries most and least reliant on SS, continued
Among the important findings, SmartAsset discovered that residents in cities with low total retirement rely on Social Security the most, GoBankingRates reported.
Furthermore, in every location studied, Social Security benefits account for more than a quarter of retirement income.
According to the study, Miami has the lowest percentage of Social Security making up overall retirement income, at 26.90 percent.
Although several communities in California have high populations of people aged 65 and over, they rely the least on Social Security between 30.1 and 36.6 percent of total retirement income.
Beneficiaries most and least reliant on SS
SmartAsset, a financial technology firm located in New York City, has evaluated Social Security incomes for the 100 US cities with the largest population of people aged 65 and above.
This was done to evaluate where Social Security makes up the highest and lowest percentage of total retirement income, according to GoBankingRates.
The study looked at two variables from the Census Bureau’s 2020 5-year American Community Survey: average retirement income and average Social Security income.
Delayed retirement credit explained, part two
You can begin to receive Social Security retirement benefits as early as age 62, but it will reduce your benefits by as much as 30 percent below what you would get if you waited to retire until your full retirement age.
If you wait until your full retirement age (66 for most people), you will be able to obtain your full benefits.
Delayed retirement credit explained
If you wait until age 70 to start achieving your benefits, the Social Security Administration will increase your benefit, since you gained delayed retirement credits.
The retirement benefits are then paid out until you die.
The age you begin receiving your retirement benefit affects how much your monthly benefits will be.
SS Benefit Eligibility Screening Tool, conclusion
While none of the questions are very tough, you should be prepared to provide some information before completing the questionnaire, such as:
- Work-related annual earnings.
- Other sources of annual income
- All of your assets’ total value.
- Date of beginning of disability
BEST, according to DisabilityBenefitsCenter.org, isn’t a Social Security Disability application. Your responses are kept fully private. You won’t be asked for your name, social security number, or contact information at all.
SS Benefit Eligibility Screening Tool, continued
To utilize the BEST, you must first complete a questionnaire regarding the advantages you may be eligible for.
The choices are as follows:
- Disability assistance
- Family benefits
- Spouse & widow(er)
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
- Veterans benefits
SS Benefit Eligibility Screening Tool
A Benefit Eligibility Screening Tool (BEST) is a collection of questions on the Social Security Administration’s website that might help you figure out if you’re eligible for Social Security Disability benefits.
It also assists you in determining the Social Security Disability benefits you are likely to be eligible for.
It takes around 10 minutes to complete the BEST survey, according to DisabilityBenefitsCenter.org.
Alternatives to COLA
Some have questioned the methodology used to determine the cost of living adjustment, according to TheBalance.com.
The SSA bases its COLA hikes on the CPI-W.
The spending habits of urban wage earners and clerical employees are used to create this index.
The index is made up of people who are employed and earning money. They aren’t retired people.
Social Security credits, continued
You can get a maximum of four Social Security credits each year, and you must earn $6,040 to get the maximum of four credits.
Therefore, to earn 40 credits you must work for at least 10 years.
You are able to earn more than 40 credits.
However, 40 credits is the minimum number you need to be eligible for Social Security benefits.
What are Social Security credits?
To collect Social Security benefits, you must have met the minimum requirement of performing “enough work.”
The Social Security Administration (SSA) defines “enough work” as earning 40 Social Security credits.
In 2022, an individual will earn one Social Security credit for every $1,510 in covered earnings.
Negative impacts of a high COLA
Boosts in benefits are not always welcomed, as some of them can push people out of the income threshold required for other assistance programs.
A study done by The Senior Citizens League from May to July showed that 14 percent of participants had their low-income assistance reduced due to their COLA.
Another 6 percent had lost access to one or more programs when the COLA boosted their income over the allowed limit.
How to access Social Security forms
Any forms that you may need to access, such as a Social Security card application, a child disability report, or a voluntary withholding request, are available on SSA.gov.
All of the forms are completely free.
You can call at 1-800-772-1213 or contact your local Social Security office if you can’t find the form you need or if you need assistance completing one.
You should send or deliver a paper form to your local Social Security office or the office that requested it if you downloaded, printed, and completed one.
How payment reductions work
The monthly Federal Supplemental Security Income amount is reduced by subtracting monthly countable income, according to the Social Security Administration’s website.
“In the case of an eligible individual with an eligible spouse, the amount payable is further divided equally between the two spouses. Some states supplement SSI benefits,” the site noted.
The relationship between PIA and COLA
When a COLA happens, the PIA is increased, and the processes to determine the new benefit amount based on the new, higher PIA are repeated, according to the Social Security Administration.
The rise in the new monthly benefit amount over the prior amount may fluctuate somewhat from the COLA due to rounding, potential offsets, and ultimate truncation in these processes.
Primary Insurance Amount, explained
In the United States, the Primary Insurance Amount is part of the Social Security Administration.
The beneficiary must have worked for at least 10 years and paid the Federal Insurance Contributions Act tax up to a maximum taxable earnings level to be eligible for Social Security payments, according to the SSA.
Women hit hardest by COLA increase, continued
The managing director of the forum, Saadia Zahidi, said the COLA disparity comes after women left the job market during the pandemic to care for kids and the elderly.
“In face of a weak recovery, government and business must make two sets of efforts: targeted policies to support women’s return to the workforce and women’s talent development in the industries of the future,” she said.
“Otherwise, we risk eroding the gains of the last decades permanently and losing out on the future economic returns of diversity.”
Dual eligible coverage
Dual health plans combine hospital, medical and prescription drug coverage while keeping all the Medicaid benefits.
Some may also be eligible for greater benefits than with original Medicare and for as low as a $0 plan premium.
Check your state’s health website to see if you qualify for Medicaid based on household size and income.
What it means to be dual eligible
Some people qualify for both Medicaid and Medicare because of age (they’re age 65 or older) or because of a disability.
They could also qualify for Medicaid because they meet their state requirements.
Those that qualify for both Medicare and Medicaid are considered “dual eligible.”
Dual eligible persons have a special type of Medicare Part C (Medicare Advantage) plan.
Unlike Medicare, Medicaid is a way to get health care at a lower cost or sometimes at no cost at all depending on income.
Medicaid is managed by each state, so the eligibility requirements vary.
Each state may have its own name for its Medicaid program and you have to re-certify for it each year.
Medicaid typically covers children, pregnant women, elderly adults and people with disabilities, and eligible low-income adults.
How to enroll in Medicare
For those looking to enroll in the program, there are a few ways to go about it.
There are paper enrollment forms that can printed out or mailed to users to fill out and send in.
Another way is by calling 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227).
The Medicare website urges users not to give personal information to plan callers as no one should call you without your permission.
Disadvantages of Medicare
Some of Medicare‘s disadvantages include:
- Medicare costs the federal government almost 18 percent of its overall budget
- Hospital stays can still cost users a lot of money
- The older you are, the more you might have to pay upon enrolling
- Medicare costs tax payers a lot of money
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