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Social Security benefits increase for some in new year

By Kirk Larson, Social Security Western Washington Public Affairs Specialist

As we ring in a new year, we can expect to see a number of changes. Social Security is no exception: in 2013, people who receive Social Security or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments will see their benefits increase.

Beginning in 2013, a 1.7 percent cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) was applied to all Social Security and SSI payments. The average monthly Social Security benefit for a retired worker in 2013 is $1,261 (up from $1,240 in 2012) and the average monthly Social Security benefit for a disabled worker in 2013 is $1,132 (up from $1,113 in 2012). These changes were reflected in SSI payments dated December 31, 2012 and Social Security payments dated in January 2013.

For people who receive SSI, the maximum federal payment amount has risen to $710 (up from $698).

Other Social Security changes in 2013 are worth noting. For example, a worker now pays Social Security tax on up to $113,700 of annual income (up from $110,100 in 2012).  A worker earns one credit after paying taxes on $1,160 in earnings in 2013 (up from $1,130). As always, a worker may earn a maximum of four credits each year and a person generally needs forty credits (or ten years of work) to be eligible for retirement benefits.

To learn more about these and other changes for 2013, visit the Social Security website at www.socialsecurity.gov, and read our fact sheet about the changes at www.socialsecurity.gov/pressoffice/factsheets/colafacts2013.htm.

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