The following are a few of the updates you can expect for 2015
1.The Full Retirement Age (FRA) maximum 2015 benefit is more than the 2014 maximum benefit amount. The highest 2015 Social Security retirement amount is $2,663 per month (that’s $31,956 per year). In 2014 the maximum Social Security retirement amount was $2,642 ($31,704 per year).
The FRA is 66 for individuals born between 1943 and 1954. It does not include reductions for early retirement or increases, called Delayed Retirement Credits (DRCs) for individuals who apply for Social Security benefits after FRA. To estimate your own retirement benefit amount use, the Social Security Administration (SSA) calculator located at the Social Security Benefits Quick Calculator
2.This January 2015 Social Security retirement beneficiaries will enjoy a 1.7 percent Cost-of-Living increase, called a COLA increase. According to U.S. News (October 2014) the average Social Security claimant receives $1,306. This increase will result in an average increase of $22 more per month. This will make the new average Social Security payment $1,326 per month. The average increase for a couple will be $38 per month. This will result in a new average for couples of $2,178 per month.
3.As a general rule, the amount you can earn and still get benefits changes each year. If you are younger than full retirement age and make more than the yearly earnings limit, your earnings may reduce your benefit amount. (If you were born between 1/2/1943 and 1/1/1955, your full retirement age is 66 years.)
• If you are under full retirement age for the entire year, SSA will deduct $1 from your benefit payments for every $2 you earn above the annual limit. For 2015, that limit is $15,720.
• In the year you reach full retirement age, SSA will deduct $1 in benefits for every $3 you earn above a different limit. In 2015, the limit on your earnings is $41,880 but SSA will only count earnings before the month you reach your FRA.
To get a better hold of the impact of your decision of when you retire and start claiming your Social Security benefits go to Calcualate the Effect of Early or Late Retirement at http://www.ssa.gov/OACT/quickcalc/early_late.html.
4.The SSA in September 2014 announced that it will begin sending via the U.S. Postal Service individual Social Security statements The SSA plans to send benefit statements to workers every five-years. If you turn age 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, 50, 55, or 60 and do not have a Social Security online account, you can expect to receive a paper Social Security statement. After age 60 workers will receive paper Social Security statements on an annual basis. Statements include the amount of Social Security taxes paid and estimates of future retirement benefits.
SSA is quick to point out that you probably plan to receive Social Security benefits someday. Maybe you already do. Either way, you’ll want to create an individual online SSA account to:
• Keep track of your earnings and verify them every year;
• Get an estimate of your future benefits if you are still working;
• Get a letter with proof of your benefits if you currently receive them; and
• Manage your benefits:
• Change your address; and
• Start or change your direct deposit.
At this time there are over 14 million individuals who have personalized accounts with Social Security. Set-up your personalized online account go to My Account.
5.In 2015 the ceiling on earnings subject to Social Security payroll tax is $118,500. In 2014 the maximum was $117,000. According to the SSA of the estimated 168 million workers who will pay Social Security payroll taxes in 2015, about 10 million will pay higher taxes because of this increase. If you are earning above the annual maximum level you will stop paying Social Security taxes.
The Social Security payroll tax for employer and employee is 7.65 percent. The self-employed Social Security payroll tax is 15.30 percent. Medicare payroll taxes continues on all earnings. The Medicare tax rate is 1.45 percent on all earnings.