Critter Corner: What Can I Expect from Social Security in 2022? 

Dear Oakley, 

Happy New Year! I remember reading that the Social Security Cost of Living Adjustment was at a record high for 2022. Are there any other important things I should know about Social Security this year? Thanks for your help! 

Cole Ahh

Dear Cole,

You are correct that in 2022, seniors will experience the big jump in payouts (a 5.9% increase) due to the annual cost-of-living adjustment (COLA). This will be the largest COLA in 40 years, since the 11.2% increase in 1981. Here are some other changes to the program that you should be aware of for 2022:

– Adjustment in Full Retirement Age: 

Full retirement age has varied over the years, depending on the date of birth of the recipient. Currently, the earliest any retiree can claim their Social Security benefits is at age 62. As of 2022, those born in 1960 are able to claim Social Security for the first time, if they choose to do so, as they turn 62. According to the Social Security Administration (SSA), full retirement age becomes 67 for those born in 1960 or later. This is an increase from the full retirement age of 66 years and 10 months for those born in 1959, who were first able to claim Social Security in 2021.

– Raise in Social Security Wage Base: Similar to the annual COLA, the Social Security wage base is also subject to annual changes. For 2022, the wage base is $147,000, up from 2021’s $142,800. This means that workers will pay Old Age, Survivors and Disability Insurance tax of 6.2% on the first $147,000 of their wages only. Earnings above that are tax-free for Social Security purposes.

– Earnings Limit Increased After Claiming Benefits: You can continue to work after you claim your Social Security benefits, but if you earn over certain limits, your payout will be temporarily reduced. For 2021, benefits were reduced by $1 for every $2 a worker earned above $18,960, if they were still under full retirement age. In 2022, that limit increases to $19,560. If you reach full retirement age in 2022, your earnings limit jumps to $51,960, up from $50,520 in 2021. Benefits for these workers are reduced by $1 for every $3 above this limit. Once you reach full retirement age, there are no reductions to your Social Security benefits, regardless of how much you earn. Workers are made whole for any benefit reductions due to excess earnings once they reach retirement age in the form of increased payments.

– Maximum Social Security Payout Increases:

When it comes to Social Security, the more you earn, and the later you wait to file, the higher your payout will be. For 2022, the maximum possible Social Security payout for a recipient filing at full retirement age is $3,345, up from $3,148 in 2021.

You can find your current Social Security information by creating a “my Social Security” account at SSA.gov.

Hope this helps!

Oakley

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About Renee Eder

Renee Eder is the Director of Public Relations for the Farr Law Firm, and gives the voice to the Critters of Critter Corner. Renee’s poodle, Penny, is an official comfort dog who she and her children bring to visit with seniors who are in the early stages of dementia at a local senior home once a month.

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