For retirees, every penny counts, so you undoubtedly are concerned about the COLA for 2019. In some years, there is little adjustment to your benefits simply because the Consumer Price Index (CPI) has not risen significantly. This year, that was not the case.  You will see slightly larger checks in the new year to help you keep abreast of the higher cost of living.

2019 SSI and Social Security Increase

The Social Security Administration(SSA) announced in October that this year’s COLA for Social Security(SS) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits will increase 2.8 percent in 2019. That increase begins in January for SS recipients and December 31, 2018, for those receiving SSI benefits.

Someone receiving the average SS monthly benefit of $1422 in December 2018 will get an additional $39 per month in 2019, the highest increase in seven years. This increase is not meant to improve your check’s buying power but to keep it the same as the previous year. Because the CPI rose in the previous year, you will see that amount in your check.

Medicare Increase

The size of your check may also be affected by a small increase in Medicare Part B premiums, which are deducted from SS payments. Medicare Part B is an essential benefit since it covers physician visits, some home health care and diagnostic testing. Other rising health care costs may also adversely affect your monthly budget. Remember to consider these factors before counting on your SS COLA increase.

My Social Security

You should receive a mailed notice in early December that explains the changes in your benefits, but beginning this year, you can also check your benefit amount by accessing My Social Security account. If you haven’t already done so, you can quickly sign up and view all of your SS information as well as check the status of applications and request replacement Social Security cards.

Other Changes

The SSA has also made some changes to earnings limits. For instance, in 2019, the taxable maximum is increasing to $132,900 from $128,400, which is meant to help finance Social Security for American workers.

If you began drawing Social Security before your full retirement age, your earnings limit has increased to $17,640. The SSA will deduct $1 from your benefits for each $2 earned over $17,640.

If you are turning 66 in 2019, your earning limits will increase to $46,920. The SSA deducts $1 for each $3 earned over $46,920 until the month you turn 66. These changes will help you retain more of your earnings if you decide to draw Social Security benefits early.

Legal Experts

If you need legal advice about your Social Security benefits, particularly SSDI and SSI, the legal experts at The Good Law Group can help. The changing rules and application process can be confusing. You need someone to guide you through the government bureaucracy, particularly when it comes to applying for disability benefits that are often rejected at least once.

As a Social Security recipient, you do have some good news to celebrate. In 2019, you will receive a bit more in your monthly Social Security payment. Other changes are also taking effect that may change your decision about when to retire. Carefully study your options and consult the experts for help when necessary.