Social Security Benefits to Increase 1.7% Next Year

Monthly benefits for nearly 62 million recipients of Social Security and Supplemental Security Income will increase 1.7 percent in 2013, the Social Security Administration said Tuesday.

The 1.7 percent cost-of-living adjustment will begin with benefits that more than 56 million Social Security beneficiaries receive in January 2013. That is only about half of the 3.6 percent COLA increase in 2012, but better than the lack of an increase in 2010 and 2011. Increased COLA payments for more than 8 million SSI beneficiaries will begin on Dec. 31, 2012.

Some other changes that take effect in January of each year are based on the increase in average wages. Based on that increase, the maximum amount of earnings subject to the Social Security tax (taxable maximum) will increase to $113,700 from $110,100.

Of the estimated 163 million workers who will pay Social Security taxes in 2013, nearly 10 million will pay higher taxes as a result of the increase in the taxable maximum.

Information about Medicare changes for 2013, when announced, will be available at

For some beneficiaries, their Social Security increase may be partially or completely offset by increases in Medicare premiums.

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Social Security Statements Posted Online


The Social Security Administration is providing an online version of taxpayers’ Social Security statements.

The online version is now available at, the SSA announced Tuesday. The new online statement provides eligible workers with secure and convenient access to their Social Security earnings and benefit information.

In addition to helping with financial planning, the online statement also provides workers a convenient way to determine whether their earnings are accurately posted to their Social Security records. This feature is important because Social Security benefits are based on average earnings over a person’s lifetime. If the earnings information is not accurate, the person may not receive all the benefits to which he or she is entitled.

The online statement also provides the opportunity to save or print the personalized Statement for financial planning discussions with family or a financial planner.

To get a personalized online Statement, people age 18 and older must be able to provide information about themselves that matches the information already on file with Social Security.  In addition, Social Security uses Experian, an external authentication service provider, for additional verification. People must be able to provide their identifying information and answer security questions in order to pass this verification. Social Security will not share a person’s Social Security number with Experian, but the identity check is an important part of this new, robust verification process.

Once verified, people will create a “My Social Security” account with a unique user name and password to access their online statement.  In addition, the portal also includes links to information about other online services, such as applications for retirement, disability and Medicare. 

The Social Security Administration said it anticipates that some members of the public will not be able to be verified through this process. Some people may not correctly answer the security questions based on information on file with Experian, and others may supply identifying information that does not match their Social Security records. In instances where this occurs, people will have the option to request a paper Social Security Statement be mailed to them.

People who cannot verify online initially also may visit their local Social Security office and present an identity document in order to create an account and gain access to the online version of the Statement.

In February 2012, Social Security resumed mailing paper statements to workers age 60 and older if they are not already receiving Social Security benefits.  Later this year, the agency plans to mail paper statements to workers in the year they reach age 25.

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