Security Commissioner Kenneth S. Apfel Announces
2.4 Percent Social Security Increase
Social Security and Supplemental Security
Income (SSI) benefits will increase 2.4 percent in 2000, Kenneth
S. Apfel, Commissioner of Social Security announced today.
"This year's cost-of-living allowance reflects
another year of very low inflation," Commissioner Apfel said. "Inflation
is the greatest fear and worst enemy of elderly and disabled Americans
living on fixed incomes."
"The cost of living adjustment is a centrally
important feature of Social Security that insures that beneficiaries,
no matter how long they live, will retain their purchasing power
as costs rise," Commissioner Apfel said.
The 2.4 increase will begin with benefits
that Social Security beneficiaries receive in January 2000. Increased
payments to SSI recipients will begin on December 30.
For Social Security beneficiaries, the average
monthly benefit amount for all retired workers will rise from $785
to $804. The maximum federal SSI monthly payments to an individual
will rise from $500 to $512. For a couple, the maximum federal SSI
payment will rise from $751 to $769.
Social Security and SSI benefits increase
automatically each year based on the rise in the Consumer Price
Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) from the
third quarter of one year through the corresponding period of the
next. This year's increase in the CPI-W was 2.4 percent.
Automatic COLAs became effective in 1975.
Commissioner Apfel also announced a number
of changes today determined by another automatic provision of the
law tied to the average increase in wages. They include:
· The maximum amount of earnings subject
to the payroll tax will increase to $76,200 from $72,600;
· The maximum amount of earnings that
a beneficiary under age 65 may earn without losing any Social Security
benefits will increase from $9,600 this year to $10,080 in 2000
(Although established by law and not tied to average wage increases,
the maximum amount of earnings a beneficiary age 65 to 69 may earn
without losing any Social Security benefits will increase from $15,500
this year to $17,000 in 2000);
· The amount of earnings required to
earn a quarter of coverage will increase to $780, up from $740 this
As a result of the increase in the wage base
in 2000, the maximum yearly Social Security tax paid by employees
and employers will increase by $223.20 each. For self-employed workers,
it will rise by $446.40. About 10.9 million workers are affected
by the higher wage base in 2000.
NOTE TO CORRESPONDENTS: A fact sheet showing
the effect of the various automatic adjustments
is available by clicking here.
For further information
on the COLA by the Office of the Actuary, click here.
For the detailed Federal Register article
on the increase, please click here.
(A copy of the Federal Register article is no longer available on
Social Security Online.)
disponible en Español aquí
# # #
Copies of most SSA press releases, as well as other Social Security
information and statistics,
are available at SSAs Internet site, Social Security
Online, at http://www.socialsecurity.gov.
Also look there for information on subscribing to SSAs
free electronic newsletter, Social Security eNews.
SSA Press Office 449
Altmeyer Bldg. 6401 Security Blvd. Baltimore, MD 21235
410-965-8904 FAX 410-966-9973