Social Security payments are set to grow next year, although for some recipients the extra payments will be slightly offset by an increase in Medicare premiums and deductibles.
Announced by the Social Security Administration (SSA) on October 11, 2018, and effective December 31, Social Security payments for 2019 will rise 2.8 percent, an increase from a 2 percent rise in 2018 and the largest gain since benefits rose 3.6 percent in 2012. This means that the more than 8 million recipients of Supplemental Security Income (SSI) will see their average monthly benefit go from $750 to $771 for individuals, and from $1,125 to $1,157 for couples. Some states provide an additional supplement on top of this amount. For Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) beneficiaries, the average monthly benefit will increase from $1,180 to $1,220.
As previously discussed, the SSA is mandated by statute to calculate a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) each year, based on the rate of inflation pursuant to the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W). Monthly benefits rise in tandem with the annual COLA. The day after the COLA was announced, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced increases to certain Medicare payments for 2019. SSDI beneficiaries are automatically Medicare eligible after two years. Next year’s Medicare increase will affect most SSDI beneficiaries, as well as the elderly covered by Medicare.
Most beneficiaries receiving Medicare Part A, which covers most hospital stays, do not pay a premium. However, if admitted to the hospital, they will have to pay a deductible. For 2019, the deductible will increase from $1,340 to $1,364.
Medicare Part B covers most regular doctor’s visit, and beneficiaries are required to pay both a premium and a deductible. In 2019, the standard monthly premium will inch up from $134 to $135.50. About two million Social Security recipients pay lower Part B premiums due to what is known as the “hold harmless rule,” which prevents increases in years when Social Security benefits do not rise. Part B’s annual deductible will go from $183 to $185.
Click here for a fact sheet about this year’s SSA COLA increases.