Treasury checks If you're receiving Social Security benefits, your check will rise by 1.7% in 2013, thanks to that program's most recent annual cost-of-living adjustment. The average monthly benefit check to a retiree will increase from around $1,240 to $1,261 -- an increase of $21 per month, or $0.70 per day.

If, on the other hand, you're still working and paying into Social Security, your taxes are going up next year. For all workers who pay into the system, the temporary 2% payroll tax holiday is expected to expire, so Social Security taxes will eat an additional 2% of much, if not all, of your income. The amount of income that the payroll tax reaches is rising, as well -- to $113,700 from $110,100.

Higher Taxes, Lower Real Benefits

That 1.7% benefit increase is based on the official CPI-W inflation number, the version of the Consumer Price Index that measures inflation on "urban wage earners and clerical workers." While it's a decent proxy for the costs those working folks face, it doesn't completely cover the increases in health care costs that seniors typically see. Not only that, but once Medicare and supplemental insurance programs adjust their premiums later this year, even that modest increase could partially or completely vanish to cover those premium hikes.

Or in other words, if you're relying on Social Security, your benefits are falling behind your cost increases in very real terms, even if the check you receive winds up a tiny bit larger. And unfortunately, even the increase in the tax rate people pay will do little toward stopping the pending collapse of Social Security's Trust Fund.

That's because the money from the 2% payroll tax rollback that would have otherwise gone "missing" was made up through transfers from the Treasury's General Fund. So all that the end of the 2% rollback means is that the Treasury's other debt won't grow quite as fast.


What Can You Do About It?

If you're completely dependent on Social Security, there's little you can do aside from tightening your belt by looking for more aggressive ways to cut your costs. If you're not yet retired, though, or if you've retired recently enough so that you're still able to work, drawing a paycheck can help make up that real gap in several ways.

For one thing, Social Security takes your 35 highest earning years into account when determining your benefits. Add another year or two worth of earnings, especially if they replace years when you earned little or nothing, and your benefits will increase accordingly. For another, the later you wait before tapping Social Security -- up until age 70 -- the larger your benefit check will be. And finally, you can invest some of your paycheck now in order to have a larger buffer to cover your retirement expenses later.

And of course, there's also the very real fact that every year you delay retiring is one fewer year that both Social Security and your personal portfolio need to support you in retirement. Being able to work to cover that program's gaps in real payments will very likely be a critical part of your future income plan. That's especially true if, like most of us, your nest egg hasn't reached the point where you're able to retire comfortably no matter what happens to Social Security.

Regardless of how you choose to prepare yourself for both the short- and long-term pain from Social Security, making the right financial decisions today makes a world of difference in your golden years. Don't make the same mistakes as the masses who mistakenly believe that their Social Security check will be all they need. Learn more by reading "The Shocking Can't-Miss Truth about Your Retirement" free report.


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83 Comments

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gmydogbud

Senior Citizens get Screwed & Tatooed Yet Again By Those They Pay To Work For Them!!!

October 24 2012 at 8:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
jdykbpl45

The increase won't buy 10 gallons of gas!

October 24 2012 at 11:11 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
muz65

TICK, TICK, TICK...............

October 24 2012 at 9:39 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Linda

What is The Donald's HUGE announcement today going to be? HE said it is huge. IT's about Obama.
Of course, he is all about attention.

October 24 2012 at 9:12 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Winnie

A SS raise? nice. Medicare goes up. Gee, thanks. And the illegals get more too?
Isn't this country great !!!!!

October 24 2012 at 8:51 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
gedfeth

It's too bad that LBJ choose the path that he did as I'm sure SS could have remained solvent.It was never meant to be a cure all for everyone in our society! I would bet that a lot of people who are on disability,could work in some capacity if they were hungary enough.Also,the Income tax system needs changing.We should be taxed on our purchases rather than our income.Imagine how that would play out for the underground economy! Our current tax system is flawed in many ways.Besides being very burdensome for business,it is also used as a political tool Just ask "Joe The Plummer"

October 24 2012 at 7:38 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
Darrell

Free Spend Democrats have been taking from the System to pay for their Social Programs the past 50 yrs and not putting the money back.

October 24 2012 at 7:29 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Darrell's comment
kay

Thank you Darrell...everyone was so in awe of Slick willie...."balanced the budget" when he robbed SS to balance that budget!!!! Of course he doesn't have to depend on SS !

October 24 2012 at 8:14 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
WABDXN

sad ....all the deabeats that have never worked a day in their life that collect benefits.

October 24 2012 at 1:21 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
flagag

with inflation eating us up 1.7% doesn't cover much
gas is way up
produce is way up
meat is way up
milk (organic) sky high
fruit
how do t hey figure thie cpi anyway?

October 23 2012 at 11:15 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to flagag's comment
Dennis

THE GOV DOES NOT COUNT FOOD OR ENGERY IF THEY DID IT WOULD BE LOTS HIGHER.

October 24 2012 at 12:55 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Dennis's comment
kay

What ? How do you think the cost of living is calculated?

October 24 2012 at 8:15 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down
ebeebb

Wow....doubt that extra $21 a month will cover the higher fuel costs or grocery costs for those living on social security. I bet they'll just be thrilled with his puny increase that does not begin to cover the increasing costs of simply living.

October 23 2012 at 10:55 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply