January 12, 2015 at 9:29 a.m.

By Kirk Larson

Social Security Washington Public Affairs Specialist

Happy New Year from Social Security! Put down the champagne and ring in the New Year with a COLA! And we don’t mean the soda. In 2015, nearly 64 million Americans who receive Social Security or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) will receive a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) increase to their monthly benefit payments of 1.7 percent.

The average monthly Social Security benefit for a retired worker in 2015 is $1,328. The average monthly Social Security benefit for a disabled worker in 2015 is $1,165. The State of Washington the average payment is a little higher at $1,398 for a retired worker and $1.168 for a disabled worker.

For people who receive SSI, the maximum federal payment amount increased to $733 (up from $721 in 2014).

Other Social Security changes in 2015 are also worth noting. For example, the maximum amount of earnings subject to the Social Security payroll tax will increase to $118,500 (up from $117,000 in 2014). A worker will earn one credit toward Social Security coverage after paying taxes on $1,220 in earnings in 2015 (up from $1,200 in 2014). As a reminder, eligibility for retirement benefits still requires 40 credits (usually about10 years of work).

Information about Medicare changes for 2015 is available at www.medicare.gov.

The Social Security Act outlines how the COLA is calculated. To read more about the COLA, please visit www.socialsecurity.gov/cola.

To learn more about your own Social Security benefits visit www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount/ - Over 15 million people have already created their own online account.

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