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Social Security COLA for 2019 May Not Help Many Americans: AARP

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The Social Security Administration last week announced a 2.8% cost-of-living increase for Social Security beneficiaries starting in January and for Supplemental Security Income beneficiaries beginning Dec. 31.

More than 67 million Americans receive Social Security and SSI benefits.

Responding to the announcement, AARP’s chief Jo Ann Jenkins said in a statement, “The 2.8% COLA announced today brings needed income security to those Social Security beneficiaries and their families who depend on their earned, modest benefits.”

She noted that the COLA was particularly important for millions of families who depend on Social Security for all or most of their retirement income. This is especially the case for older women and minorities, according to an AARP.

“Unfortunately, the cost-of-living increase may not adequately cover their expenses that rise faster than inflation including health, prescription drug, utility and housing costs,” Jenkins said.

Along with Jenkins’s remarks, AARP announced the opening of the Social Security Resource Center, a one-stop site for consumers seeking answers to their Social Security and retirement questions, including when to claim.

AARP said research it recently conducted found that 43% of beneficiaries reported that they had started exploring their Social Security options less than a year before making their first claim.

Another study AARP conducted with the Association of Young Americans earlier this year found that 86% of respondents across generations said it was very or somewhat important that Social Security be available to them when they retire.

A fact sheet from the SSA showed that the maximum amount of earnings subject to the Social Security tax will increase to $132,900.

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. ($1 is deducted from benefits for each $2 earned over $17,640.)

For people who turn 66 in 2019, the earnings limit will increase to $46,920. ($1 is deducted 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 full retirement age or older for the entire year.

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