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A “Real” Raise in the Works for Most Social Security Recipients in 2019

With all important cost of living adjustment (COLA) for 2019 due to be announced for Social Security recipients on October 11th, many are wondering if they will actually see their monthly benefit payment go up after Medicare premiums are taken into account.  For most, according to Dan Kaplinger of The Motley Fool, the answer appears to be “yes”.  Estimates call for a 2.7% increase, among the highest in a decade, and 3% COLA is not out of the question.  For those on Medicare, monthly premiums paid for Part B coverage are generally withheld directly from Social Security benefits.  When Medicare costs go up, more money gets taken out of their Social Security, which reduces the positive impact from any COLA.  But when Medicare premium increases exceed Social Security increases, benefits do not go down due to the “hold harmless” provision.  But the increased medical costs must get paid, and so it may take one or more years for that to happen.  The majority of Social Security recipients have “repaid” the Medicare premiums for which they are responsible.  While Medicare premiums for 2019 have not yet been announced, the projections used in the 2019 Medicare Trustees Report suggest any increase in Part B monthly premiums would be small.  Note that hasn’t been enough to save every Social Security recipient in the past.  Medicare premiums were flat in 2018 compared to 2017, yet many people once again had to deal with little or no net increase in their Social Security payments.  Read Kaplinger’s full piece here.

The AMAC Foundation offers a free-to-the-public advisory service to those ageing into–or already in–Social Security. This service provides guidance in understanding the complexities of Social Security and the myriad rules and regulations associated with the process for claiming benefits, with NSSA-Certified Social Security Advisors available via email or telephone to discuss options. Learn more about this service via the Foundation’s website.


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