By law, there is a "hold harmless" provision to protect most Medicare recipients. People who contributed to the Social Security program all of their careers no longer have the security that the program will be able to meet their future financial needs. Send your questions to Phil.
In the previous two years, the inflation rate and gasoline prices were so low that the government granted no cost-of-living adjustments, even as many seniors largely dependent on Social Security struggled to pay their rent or mortgage, buy groceries and cover their out-of-pocket medical costs. "Social Security is the bedrock of retirement security in our nation, and if we want to make sure that the value of Social Security benefits doesn't become dangerously eroded over time, we need to act now to put in place a consumer price index that reflects the true costs seniors face", the senator said.
For employers and employees, the Medicare payroll tax rate is a matching 1.45 percent on all earnings, bringing the total Social Security and Medicare payroll withholding rate for employers and employees to 7.65 percent each-with only the Social Security portion (6.2 percent) limited to the $127,200 taxable-maximum amount. Part B deductibles are also expected to rise, to $204 in 2017, up from $166 this year. "But if you're getting a bigger COLA and prices are rising faster, you're not necessarily better off". The average monthly Social Security check received by retirees is $1,305.
The average increase since 2000 has been about 2.3 percent, which would have added about $28 a month based on current benefit levels according to the American Institute for Economic Research. That translates into a monthly increase of less than $4. Since the CPI-W did rise, the law increases benefits to help offset inflation.
The annual COLA is created to prevent inflation from eroding Social Security recipients' purchasing power. The income cap is indexed to match wage growth but was not increased this year because it can not be raised in years in which there is no cost-of-living adjustment. Again, this is normally not a problem.
Social Security benefits are going up slightly. The remaining 70 percent of Medicare beneficiaries could see small increase in their Part B premiums. These premiums are $104.90 a month this year for most people and $121.80 for another large group of Medicare beneficiaries.
The average Social Security retiree will get a $5 per month raise in 2017, says Social Security today, but the Associated Press reports it to be more like $4.
According to a recent report, Congress's decision to cut the Social Security Administration's operating budget by 10 percent since 2010 has resulted in the closure of two CT field offices and a decrease of 10 percent of staff in the state.