October 23, 2023 | Posted in:

Hike in Social Security Benefits Announced for 2024

The Social Security Administration announced a 3.2% boost to monthly Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits for 2024, a big drop from last year’s increase of 8.7%. The increase is based on the rise in the Consumer Price Index over the past 12 months ending in September 2023.

For those contributing to Social Security through wages, the potential maximum income subject to Social Security taxes is increasing to $168,600. This represents a 5% increase in your Social Security taxes. Here’s a recap of the key dollar amounts:

2024 Social Security Benefits

2024 Social Security Benefits – Key Information

What it means for you

  • Up to $168,600 in wages will be subject to Social Security taxes, an increase of $8,400 from 2023. This amounts to $10,453.20 in maximum annual employee Social Security payments (an increase of $520!), so plan accordingly. Any excess Social Security taxes paid because of having multiple employers can be returned to you as a credit on your tax return.
  • For all retired workers receiving Social Security retirement benefits, the estimated average monthly benefit will be $1,907 per month in 2024, an average increase of $80 per month.
  • SSI is the standard payment for people in need. To qualify for this payment, you must have little income and few resources ($2,000 if single, $3,000 if married).
  • A full-time student who is blind or disabled can still receive SSI benefits as long as earned income does not exceed the monthly and annual student exclusion amounts listed above.

Social Security & Medicare Rates

The Social Security and Medicare tax rates do not change from 2023 to 2024. The rates are 6.20 percent for Social Security and 1.45 percent for Medicare. There is also a 0.9 percent Medicare wages surtax for single taxpayers with wages above $200,000 ($250,000 for joint filers) that is not reflected in these figures. Please note that your employer also pays a 6.2 percent Social Security tax and a 1.45 percent Medicare tax on your behalf. These amounts are reflected in the self-employment tax rate of 15.3%, as self-employed individuals pay both halves of the tax rate.

How to Maximize Your Social Security

You can begin receiving your Social Security retirement benefit as early as age 62. But by putting off your benefit start date you can receive a check that is approximately 8 percent higher for each year you delay receiving your benefit.

Social Security Benefits: The basics

Full retirement age. Those born between 1943 and 1954 reach their full Social Security benefit payment at age 66*. This is called your full retirement age.

Early benefit penalty. Those same retirees can begin receiving their benefit at age 62. But if you start your benefits before reaching your full retirement age, the amount paid to you is permanently reduced.

Bonus payment amounts. But there is also a bonus for each year you delay receiving benefits past your full retirement age. Your Social Security benefit is increased by 8 percent per year.

The maximum cap amount. After age 70, the Social Security benefit is maximized. Further delay in starting your benefits adds no additional payments.

Is a delay worth the wait?

Here are reasons to delay receiving your Social Security benefits until you reach age 70:

You expect to live longer. If your parents and grandparents lived long lives, you may wish to delay receipt of your initial Social Security benefits. The opposite is true if you have a shorter life expectancy.

You do not need the income. If you are still working or have alternative income sources, it may be better to delay receiving your benefits. An 8 percent increase in monthly payments is a good increase versus other investment alternatives.

Your spouse has died. You will need to review the possibility of receiving survivor benefits based on your spouse’s earnings. Later, you could then start collecting your own Social Security retirement benefits based on your earnings.

Your benefits are taxed. If you have other income, your Social Security retirement benefits could be subject to income tax if you are not yet at the full retirement age.

Should you delay receiving your Social Security benefits? There often is not one answer that fits all situations. Consider reviewing your situation prior to making a decision.

* Full retirement age increases by two months each year after 1954 until reaching full retirement age of 67 for those born in 1960 or later.


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