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December 30, 2012

SOCIAL SECURITY: Expect Social Security changes in 2013

As we ring in a new year in a couple of days, we can expect to see a number of changes. Social Security is no exception: in 2013, people who receive Social Security or Supplemental Security Income payments will see their benefits increase.

Beginning in 2013, a 1.7 percent cost-of-living adjustment was applied to all Social Security and SSI payments. The average monthly Social Security benefit for a retired worker in 2013 is $1,261 (up from $1,240 in 2012) and the average monthly Social Security benefit for a disabled worker in 2013 is $1,132 (up from $1,113 in 2012). These changes were reflected in SSI payments dated Dec. 31, 2012, and Social Security payments dated in January 2013.

For people who receive SSI, the maximum federal payment amount has risen to $710 (up from $698).

Other Social Security changes in 2013 are worth noting. For example, a worker now pays Social Security tax on up to $113,700 of annual income (up from $110,100 in 2012). A worker earns one credit after paying taxes on $1,160 in earnings in 2013 (up from $1,130).

As always, a worker may earn a maximum of four credits each year, and a person generally needs forty credits (or 10 years of work) to be eligible for retirement benefits.

New office hours: one more important change has to do with the hours that we are open to the public. Beginning Jan. 2, 2013, Social Security offices will be open to the public from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday, with one major exception — Wednesdays. Effective 2013, offices will close to the public at noon every Wednesday.

In spite of these new office hours, please note that most Social Security services do not require a visit to a local office.

Many services, including applying for retirement, disability or Medicare benefits, signing up for direct deposit, replacing a Medicare card, obtaining a proof of income letter or informing us of a change of address or telephone number are conveniently available at www.social

security.gov or by dialing our toll-free number, 1-800-772-1213.

To learn more about these and other changes for 2013, visit the Social Security website at www.socialse

curity.gov, and read our fact sheet about the changes at www.socialsecurity.gov/pressoffice/factsheets/colafacts2013.htm.

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