Each year, Social Security and Disability benefits go through some changes, including the cost of living adjustments (COLA), changes to how much you can earn and still get benefits, how much in Social Security benefits are subject to taxes, SSI benefit amounts, and in recent years, changes to the full retirement age. In this post, we will look at the 5 changes to Social Security in 2022 that you should know about.
The 5 Changes to Social Security in 2022
Here are the five ways Social Security will be changing in 2022.
1. Biggest COLA Increase
The 2022 COLA payments will include a 5.9% increase, the biggest in 39 years.
The cost-of-living adjustment will mean an increase of about $92 a month for most retired workers.
This brings the average benefit to $1,657 per month.
However, for some recipients, this increase, will be reduced by higher Medicare Part B premiums, which are rising from $140.50 to $170.10.
2. The Full Retirement Age is Going up
The Full retirement age (FRA) — the age at which you are eligible to claim 100 percent of your Social Security benefits is going up.
Congress passed legislation in 1983 that gradually increased the full retirement age to 67, from 65, over 22 years.
The last phase of that increase takes effect in 2022.
For adults turning 62 in 2022, their FRA is 67. This is two months higher than the FRA for adults who turned 62 in 2021 (at 66 years and 10 months).
Current Social Security rules allow workers to claim retirement benefits starting at age 62 (which is known as the early eligibility age)
Those that claim benefits at the early retirement age receive reduced benefits in exchange for claiming early.
However, workers get their full benefits if they wait until their full retirement age – which for 2022 is 67 years.
By waiting to claim benefits up until age 70, retirees can get the biggest monthly benefit checks available to them.
The CNBC chart below, from 2019, shows a breakdown of the age at which workers claim Social Security benefits.
3. The Social Security Taxable Wage Limit will go up
The Social Security program is a pay-as-you-go system. Social Security recipients receive benefits from the workers who pay into the system through the payroll tax (FICA or SECA).
Social Security is financed by a 12.4 percent payroll tax on wages up to the taxable earnings cap, with half (6.2 percent) paid by workers and the other half paid by employers. Self-employed workers pay the entire 12.4 percent.
However, unlike the Medicare payroll tax, not all earnings are subject to the Social Security payroll tax.
Starting Jan. 1, 2022, the maximum earnings subject to the Social Security payroll tax will increase by $4,200 to $147,000.
This is up from the $142,800 for 2021.
However, the $4,200 increase for 2022, is smaller than the 2021 increase of $5,100, up from the $137,700 maximum for 2020.
Each year, the SSA makes adjustments to the taxable wage cap based on the national average wage index (not the inflation rate).
Payroll Taxes: Cap on Maximum Earnings
Type of Payroll Tax
2022 Maximum Earnings
2021 Maximum Earnings
4. The Maximum Monthly Social Security Benefit Increase
If someone filed for Social Security benefits at their Full Retirement Age (FRA) in 2021, the maximum monthly benefit possible to receive was $3,148.
However, in 2022, that maximum monthly payout has been increased to $3,345.
This means that the maximum annual income an individual can get in Social Security benefits at full retirement age is $40,140 in 2022.
Additionally, if you wait to file past your FRA up until age 70, you can receive even more money each month and therefore, annually as well.
See details on the Minimum Social Security benefit for 2022.
5. Disabled beneficiaries can earn more income and still receive benefits
In 2021, non-blind disabled workers could only earn up to $1,310 each month before becoming ineligible to receive benefits.
However, in 2022, non-blind disabled workers will be able to earn up to $1,350 each month.
Also, blind disabled workers will be able to earn up to $2,260 each month in 2022 compared to the $2,190 limit in 2021.
The 5 Changes to Social Security in 2022 Summary
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Finally, be sure to check out our other articles about Social Security and Disability Benefits, including: