7 New Social Security Rules for 2013

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Social SecurityThe Social Security Administration has implemented a variety of new rules and features for 2013. The two-year payroll tax cut has officially ended, and paper Social Security checks will soon cease to be printed. A growing number of Social Security services will also be online this year. Here's a look at some of the recent Social Security changes that go into effect this year:

1. Payroll tax cut ends. The temporary payroll tax cut was allowed to expire at the end of 2012. Workers who paid 4.2 percent of their income into the Social Security system in 2011 and 2012 will now resume contributing 6.2 percent of their earnings in 2013, up to the payroll tax cap of $113,700.

2. Higher payroll tax cap. The payroll tax cap increased by $3,600, from $110,100 in 2012 to $113,700 in 2013. Workers who earn more than this threshold don't need to pay Social Security taxes on that income.

3. More online services. A trip to the Social Security office is no longer necessary to start your Social Security payments. A growing number of retirees are claiming Social Security payments online, largely thanks to an advertising campaign starring actors Patty Duke and George Takei. For the first time in 2012, workers could access their Social Security statements online, including their complete earnings history and expected payments, and about 3 million people have already done so.

In early 2013, Social Security added online services including the ability to access a benefit verification letter and payment history. Retirees can also change their address and start or change direct-deposit information online. "The ability to do this online, it will be a real convenience for the people who are required to have these benefit verification letters," says Social Security Commissioner Michael Astrue. "It is going to allow us to focus on the kind of conversations that we really do need to have face to face."

4. Reduced office hours. Social Security offices are reducing the hours they are open to the public to save money and avoid paying overtime to workers. Social Security locations nationwide have been closing 30 minutes early each day since Nov. 19, 2012, and they began closing to the public at noon every Wednesday on Jan. 2.

5. Paper checks will end. On March 1, the Treasury department will stop mailing paper checks to Social Security recipients. Retirees will be required to choose to have their Social Security payments either directly deposited into a bank or credit union account or loaded onto a prepaid Direct Express Debit MasterCard. "If you already have a bank account or credit union account, we encourage you and it's our preference that you sign up for direct deposit," says Walt Henderson, director of the electronic fund transfer strategy division at the Treasury Department. "The debit card is primarily for unbanked benefit recipients. We don't want people who already have a bank account to feel that they have to get the debit card." New Social Security beneficiaries have been required to choose an electronic payment option since May 2011, and approximately 93 percent of Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments are already being made electronically.

6. Higher earnings limit. People between ages 62 and 66 who work and collect Social Security benefits at the same time might have part or all of their Social Security benefit temporarily withheld. Workers between ages 62 and 65 can earn up to $15,120 in 2013, after which $1 in benefits will be withheld for every $2 of income above the earnings limit. People who turn 66 this year can earn up to $40,080, and then $1 of benefits will be withheld for every $3 earned above the limit. However, once you turn age 66, the earnings limit no longer applies. And benefits may be recalculated at age 66 to reflect the withheld benefits and continued earnings.

7. Bigger payments. Social Security beneficiaries began receiving payments that were 1.7 percent larger in January. The average monthly Social Security benefit in January increased from $1,240 to $1,261 as a result of the cost-of-living adjustment.

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334 Comments

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jgesselberty

Wrong year. About as efficient at the SS Admin.

December 22 2013 at 8:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
clyogi

New rules for 2013. Thanks HP, 2013 ends in ten days.

December 22 2013 at 7:59 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
randerson1or

I think the new social security laws sound good, but what do I know?

December 22 2013 at 6:59 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
xanadutu

WOW - Reduced Office Hours --- It\'s about time!!!m The \'things\' that answered the phones couldn\'t even tell you what day it was!!!

December 22 2013 at 5:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
santos8888

This article is dated January 28, 2013 and the rules are supposed to be for year 2013. How about getting rid of this article and replace it with an article with rules that are supposed to be for 2014.

December 22 2013 at 4:56 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
paddleman1928

if social security was paid only to retirees(who paid into the system for decades) and no one else there would probably be enough to keep the system solvent

December 22 2013 at 4:37 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to paddleman1928's comment
larry

Millions of people have died (that paid into Social Security) before ever collecting one dime of Social Security. Social Security would be solvent if Bill Clinton kept his hands out of Social Security to balance the budget during his presidency. Recently, Obama took millions out of Social Security and Medicare to fund his white elephant---Obamacare. Government needs to keep their hands off Social Security and Medicare so it can continue to be self-funding.

December 22 2013 at 4:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
frankc1932

WOW a $21.00 dollar increase..Wonder where I can spend that. Cant even go to the movies for that little amount..

December 22 2013 at 2:01 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
Dr. Cal Harris

I wonder how the Social Security System ran off of the tracks? Like Affordable Healthcare, SS began as a noble idea intended to ensure the elderly had a little food money coming in. Certain groups were not included nor contributed since they had existing retirement programs (at that time: Teachers and military and perhaps others I am not aware of). By the time the D.C. gang got done attaching riders, earmarks and the other corrupt mechanisms that are used to bribe votes out of our "servants" Social Security retirement funds and the taxation have taken on a life of it's own and grew into a mega agency called DHS.
I am 70 and still working indefinitely, or at least as long as my health allows it. I don't want a free anything from the government nor would accept it if offered. The only sense of entitlement that I have is that I feel as if I am entitled to my Constitutional rights as written and expect to be served by those that draw wages from my taxes. If a natural disaster strikes that affects our community, I expect the government to respond by providing services that I have paid for but not support my family; that is my job as well as my job to help my neighbors.
We live in a wonderful country where a child from any background can thrive and grow into whatever their wits allow and whatever their motivation empowers.
My hope is that everyone will reflect on the past and learn from all of the lessons they have learned. Love and tolerance are great sources of power.

December 22 2013 at 12:38 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Dr. Cal Harris's comment
jpdyer13

I don't know how you got around it, but I have been payaing into the Social Security system since I was 16 years old, there is nothing free about it. I am entitled to MY money. Had I been able to put that money into an account of my choice, it probably would have done much better. I am 64 years old and have never taken any handouts from the government except the GI bill when I bought my first home and the government garanteed that loan, I paid it. Companies no longer offer pension plans so the only way the younger workers have any chance to retire is by saving their own money. They will likely pay into a system that they will get nothing out of, they are the ones that should be upset, not you.

December 22 2013 at 4:59 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Iselin007

After their done handing out your SSI to the foreign nationals under special programs you'll likely have to prove you still need SSI checks or they'll hand them out to those that aren't supposed to recieve it!

December 22 2013 at 11:58 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
Iselin007

What about all the time lost in the fund from age discrimination keeping people out of the workforce.

December 22 2013 at 11:51 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply