On the first day of 2020, several tweaks to Social Security will affect both beneficiaries and some workers paying into the system.  Here’s what you need to know.  

  • Monthly benefits will increase.  Checks will be slightly larger beginning in January, as a 1.6 percent cost-of-living adjustment kicks in.  The average beneficiary will see a jump of roughly $24 per month or $288 for the year.
  • The maximum monthly benefit will rise.  A single recipient can get as much as $3,011 per month in 2020, up from $2,861
  • If you have begun receiving benefits but you won’t reach the full retirement age of 66 until 2021 or later, you will be able to earn more in 2020 before one dollar is deducted for every two you earn.  The new limit if $18,240. If you’ll turn 66 in 2020, you’ll be able to earn $48,600 before the agency deducts $1 for every $3 you earn until you reach full retirement age.
  • Some of those paying into the system will pay more.  Workers pay 6.2 percent of their earnings to fund Social Security.  In 2019, that was capped at the first $132,900 earned. That cap will rise to $137,700.
  • How much you have to earn to gain a Social Security “credit” edges up from $1,360 per three-month quarter, to $1,410.  In most cases, to qualify for benefits you’ll need a minimum of 40 credits, or 10 years’ worth.
  • Those on Supplemental Security Income, a federal program that aids the aged, blind and people with disabilities who have little or no income, will see a rise in their benefit, from $771 a month to $783.  The amount for couples rises from $1,157 to $1,175.

To check the amount of your 2020 Social Security monthly benefit, sign in or create a My Social Security account at socialsecurity.gov/myaccount.

(from the AARP Bulletin, December 2019)