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Ask Kim

How Much Social Security Benefits Will Rise in 2015

Payouts go up 1.7%, pushing up the average monthly check from $1,306 to $1,328.

Are Social Security benefits going up next year?

Yes, slightly. Social Security beneficiaries will receive a 1.7% cost-of-living increase in 2015, boosting the average monthly benefit for retired workers from $1,306 to $1,328. The maximum Social Security benefit for a worker retiring at full retirement age is increasing from $2,642 per month in 2014 to $2,663 per month in 2015. Full retirement age is 66 if you were born from 1943 to 1954 and gradually rises to 67 if you were born after that (see Social Security’s Full Retirement Age chart).

SEE ALSO: 10 Things You Must Know About Social Security

If you elected to take Social Security before reaching full retirement age and you’re still working, you can earn a bit more in 2015 before your benefits are affected -- the limit rises from $15,480 per year in 2014 to $15,720 in 2015. If you earn more than that, one dollar in benefits will be withheld for every $2 in earnings above the limit. If you reach full retirement age in 2015, you can earn up to $41,880 (up from $41,400 in 2014) before your benefits are affected. One dollar in benefits will be withheld for every $3 in earnings above that amount. But that limit applies only until the month you reach full retirement age. See The Social Security Catch-22 for more information about this calculation and how the law is designed to compensate you for the reduction by paying you higher benefits later.

Despite the hike in Social Security benefits, Medicare Part B premiums are not rising. See What You’ll Pay for Medicare in 2015 for more information about Medicare premiums. For workers of any age, the maximum taxable earnings subject to Social Security taxes rises from $117,000 to $118,500 in 2015 (there’s no limit on the amount of income subject to Medicare taxes).

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