October 12, 2018 — The Social Security COLA (cost of living adjustment) will be 2.8 percent. The average 2018 benefit of $1,422 a month thus will rise to $1,461 in 2019. This is up from 2 percent last year and is the largest adjustment since 2011.
Medicare announced that the 2019 standard monthly premium for Part B of Medicare will increase by only $1.50 to $135.50 from $134 in 2018.
By law, Part B premiums must be deducted from Social Security benefits for Medicare-eligible enrollees who also have claimed Social Security. The announcements from the two agencies means that nearly all of next year’s COLA will wind up in the pockets of beneficiaries.
Here are other key 2019 changes.
Earnings ceiling for payroll taxes: $132,900, up from $128,400.
Earnings test thresholds applied to wage earnings for beneficiaries: $17,640 a year ($1,470 a month), up from $17,040 ($1,420 a month) for those under full retirement age; $46,920 ($3,910 a month), up from $45,360 ($3,780 a month) in the year an individual reaches full retirement age.
Disability thresholds: $1,220 a month, up from $1,180 a month for non-blind individuals; $2,040 a month, up from $1,970 a month, for blind individuals.
Supplemental Security Income federal payment standards: $771 a month, up from $750 a month, for individuals; $1,157 a month, up from $1,125 a month, for couples.
Part B annual deductible: $185, up from $183.
Part A hospital inpatient deductible, for up to 60 days: $1,364, up from $1,340.
Part A hospital inpatient coinsurance, for days 61-90: $341 per day, up from $335.
Part A skilled nursing facility coinsurance, for days 21-100: $170.50 per day, up from $167.50.
Part A monthly premium for those with insufficient Social Security earnings to qualify for premium-free Part A: $437, up from $422.