Social Security

2019 Social Security Increase!

Great news!  Social Security announced a 2.8% COLA increase for 2019!   Woah now…don’t go spending it all yet  :/  Because Social Security has a rule called the ‘hold harmless provision’, you may not see all of that raise on your monthly check.  Why?  This rule prevents Medicare premiums from increasing by more than your Social Security check and a couple of years ago, that happened.  Many recipients are still catching up to the Medicare increase from a few years ago.

More Social Security changes:


Social Security taxes earned income at 6.2% for employers and 6.2% for employees, up to a certain earned income threshold.  This is known as the Social Security ‘maximum taxable earnings’.  For 2019, the maximum taxable earnings will increase by $4,500 — from $128,400 to $132,900. 


There is a rule If you work before your ‘Full Retirement Age’ (FRA – 66 for most people in 2019), you can earn up to a certain amount without your benefits being affected.  If you earn more, your benefit is penalized:

-The years before you reach FRA:  You can earn up to $17,640/year

-You reach FRA age during 2019:  You can earn $46,920/year


It takes 40 ‘quarters of coverage’ (also known as credits) to qualify for Social Security (and Medicare) benefits.  In 2019, one credit = $1,360 in earnings.  You can only earn four (4) credits per year.  This becomes important for those that need more quarters to qualify for FREE Medicare Part A premiums!

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Social Security 2018 COLA increase. Will you see an increase in your check?

Hot dog!  We finally have a Social Security Cost of Living Adjustment increase!  Social Security announced that beneficiaries should receive a whopping 2% increase for 2018.  If you are receiving $1,500/mo, that equates to a $30 monthly increase.  But hold the phone…will you REALLY see that entire increase in your check?  Don’t spend all that money yet!

Many Social Security beneficiaries may not receive their raise!

About 70% of people who are receiving both Medicare and Social Security, have been protected from rising Medicare Part B increases by something called the “hold harmless” clause.  Basically, the ‘hold harmless’ clause ensures that existing Medicare members don’t see their Part B premiums increase more than their Social Security COLA raise.  Therefore, Social Security’s 2017 raise of 0.3%, kept Part B premiums from rising by more than 0.3% in 2017 for this group of beneficiaries.

2018 Part B premiums haven’t been announced yet but aren’t expected to increase much higher than 2017.  Those who’ve been protected by ‘hold harmless’ could see some, or all, of their raise gobbled up by Medicare Part B in order to “catch them up” for the lower premiums they’ve paid in recent years.