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Ring in the new year with a COLA

Happy new year from Social Security! Put down the champagne and ring in the new year with a COLA! And we don’t mean the soda. In 2015, nearly 64 million Americans who receive Social Security or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) will receive a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) increase to their monthly benefit payments of 1.7 percent.

The average monthly Social Security benefit for a retired worker in 2015 is $1,328 (up from $1,306 in 2014). The average monthly Social Security benefit for a disabled worker in 2015 is $1,165 (up from $1,146 in 2014).

For people who receive SSI, the maximum federal payment amount increased to $733 (up from $721 in 2014).

Other Social Security changes in 2015 are also worth noting. For example, the maximum amount of earnings subject to the Social Security payroll tax will increase to $118,500 (up from $117,000 in 2014). A worker will earn one credit toward Social Security coverage after paying taxes on $1,220 in earnings in 2015 (up from $1,200 in 2014). As a reminder, eligibility for retirement benefits still requires 40 credits (usually about 10 years of work).

Information about Medicare changes for 2015 is available at www.medicare.gov.

The Social Security Act outlines how the COLA is calculated. To read more about the COLA, please visit www.socialsecurity.gov/cola.

To learn more about other changes in 2015, read our fact sheet at www.socialsecurity.gov/news/press/factsheets/colafacts2015.html.

Kylle’ McKinney, Alabama Social Security Public Affairs Specialist, can be reached in Montgomery at 866-593-0914, ext. 26265, or at kylle.mckinney@ssa.gov.