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Social Security Announces 2.8% Benefit Increase for 2019

Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits for more than 67 million Americans will increase 2.8% in 2019, the Social Security Administration announced today.

The 2.8% cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) will begin with benefits payable to beneficiaries in January. For SSI beneficiaries, the increased payments will begin on Dec. 31, 2018.

A fact sheet further explains that the maximum amount of earnings subject to the Social Security tax will increase from $128,400 this year to $132,900 in 2019. This adjustment is based on the increase in average wages.

The IRS has not yet announced the official 2019 limits for retirement and other benefit-related purposes, but it should be doing so in the near future. Benefits consultant Mercer earlier projected that nearly all qualified plan limits will increase next year.

Meanwhile, the earnings limit for workers who are younger than “full” retirement age (age 66 for people born in 1943 through 1954) will increase to $17,640. SSA notes that it deducts $1 from benefits for each $2 earned over $17,640.

The earnings limit for people turning 66 in 2019 will increase to $46,920, up from $45,360 in 2018.Here, SSA says that it deducts $1 from benefits for each $3 earned over $46,920 until the month the worker turns age 66. There is no limit on earnings for workers who are in “full” retirement age or older for the entire year.

The estimated average monthly Social Security benefits payable in January 2019 after the 2.8% COLA will be $1,461 for all retired workers. For a couple who are both receiving benefits, the estimated average monthly amount will be $2,448.

The agency also announced that for the first time, most people who receive Social Security payments will be able to view their COLA notice online through their “my Social Security” account, which can be created online at