The Social Security Administration (SSA) announced in mid-October that beneficiaries will receive a 5.9% boost in their checks. This increase represents the annual cost of living adjustment (COLA) and is larger than in recent years due to price increases for many consumer goods across the economy.
The Seniors League reported just before COLA’s announcement that they had heard reports from seniors that they forced to cut back on meals and forgo prescription refills because their Social Security benefits didn’t last them long by the month.
Since the implementation of the Social Security program, the number of seniors living in poverty has fallen from about 30 to 8.9 percent. However, still in 2019, the Congressional Research Service found that more than 4.9 million seniors lived below the poverty line.
Ways to Increase the Amount of Social Security Benefits for Retirees
For those who are retired, there aren’t there many ways to increase their Social Security benefits amount of. However, other federal programs may be able to support seniors who are struggling to make ends meet fixed income.
Additional Nutritional Utility (SNAP) benefits are available to Social Security beneficiaries living in households with a gross income or resources below a certain level. Income limits vary by state, but total resources, defined as all “things you own (such as cash or money in a bank account)” cannot surpass “possible households” $2,250 in resources or $3,500 if at least one person is 60 years of age or older, or is disabled.”
The amount that is distributed depends on the number of people in the household and is determined during the registration procedure. Beneficiaries can apply for benefits at their local Social Security Service or online.
Additional security income
Seniors who do and do not receive Social Security benefits but have an income below a certain level may be eligible for a Additional security income (SSI). Unlike Social Security benefits, there are: no work requirements to receive SSI.
What counts as income when applying for Supplementary Security Income?
- earned income: wages, net self-employment income and other benefits related to work.
- Unearned Income: other income, such as Social Security, veteran’s benefits, periodic annuity or pension payments, and cash from others.
- Support and maintenance in kind: food or shelter provided by others
Source: Congressional Research Service, 2021
In terms of resources, an applicant must have less than $2,000 for an individual and $3,000 for a couple. Additionally, blind and disabled regardless of age can apply to receive SSI benefits. Each year, the value of SSI benefits increases in line with the COLA that affects Social Security benefits.
Ways to increase Social Security benefits for people who are still working
For those who are still working, there are several ways to ensure that you receive the highest possible benefit.
A person can start receiving Social Security benefits at: sixty-two years old. However, if an employee waits until sixty-five or sixty-seven, depending on the year they were born, they can receive a higher benefit amount.
In 1983, Congress passed a bill that slowly raised the retirement age for employees after 1960. eighty percent of their Social Security benefits. Now, those born after 1960 will only claim seventy percent of their total benefit amount if they choose to retire early.
Retirement age based on year of birth
- 1937 and earlier: 65
- 1938: 65 and 2 months
- 1939: 65 and 4 months
- 1940: 65 and 6 months
- 1941: 65 and 8 months
- 1942: 65 and 10 months
- 1943-1954: 66
- 1955: 66 and 2 months
- 1956: 66 and 4 months
- 1957: 66 and 6 months
- 1958: 66 and 8 months
- 1959: 66 and 10 months
- 1960 and later: 67
Source: Social Security Administration
worked for years
To be eligible for the highest possible benefit based on your average income throughout your career, a retiree must have worked for at least thirty-five years. If someone chooses to retire before thirty-five years of employment, the Social Security Administration will use “a zero” for every year without income when we calculate the number of pension benefits that you owe. years with no income reduces your pension benefit.”
The SSA stresses that even if you report low income for years early in your career, it’s better than: do not report income as the average benefit will be reduced quite substantially in some cases.
Allowance increases for each month/year worked after retirement age
|year of birth||12 month increase rate||Monthly rate of increase|
|1933-1934||5.5%||11/24 of 1%|
|1935-1936||6.0%||1/2 of 1%|
13/24 of 1%
7/12 of 1%
|1941-1942||7.5%||5/8 of 1%|
|1943 or later||8.0%||2/3 of 1%|
Source: Social Security Administration
If you work for more than thirty-five years before your seventieth birthday, your benefit will be increase every month that you postpone applying for social security.