Only a Small Increase in Social Security Benefits Expected Next Year

Millions of Social Security beneficiaries can expect only a very small increase in monthly payments next year, the trustees who oversee the  retirement and disability program said Wednesday.

The projected 0.2 percent increase in Social Security payments would come a year after beneficiaries received no increase.

By law, increases are based on a government measure of inflation, which has been low.

More than 60 million retirees, disabled workers, spouses and surviving children receive Social Security benefits. The average monthly payment is about $1,232, so the average increase would be a little less than $2.50 a month.

In more bad news, the trustees say that some Medicare beneficiaries will face much higher Part B premiums for outpatient care.   By law, the premium increase for most Medicare recipients cannot exceed their increase in Social Security payments.However, about 30 percent of Medicare recipients are exempt from that provision. They are mainly new recipients and those with higher incomes. The trustees project that their base monthly premiums will increase by about $27, to $149 a month. Upper-income recipients pay more.

More than 55 million people receive Medicare.

Posted by Sheri R. Abrams, Fairfax Virginia Social Security Disability Attorney, www.sheriabrams.com