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The Social Security Administration recently announced several changes to the program for 2013, including:

Larger monthly checks – Social Security payments will increase by 1.7 percent in 2013, increasing the average monthly check by $21.

Expiration of payroll tax cut — Workers face a two percent increase in payroll taxes in 2013, which will go from 4.2 percent to 6.2 percent.

Higher Social Security tax cap – The maximum amount of earnings subject to Social Security taxes will go up by $3,600 in 2013 – from $110,100 this year to $113,700 next year. As a result, it is estimated that approximately 10 million Americans will pay higher taxes.

Increase in earnings limit – For retirees who collect Social Security and work at the same time, an increase in the earnings limit means they will be able to earn $480 more before any portion of their benefits will be withheld. If you are under full retirement age and are receiving benefits and working, you can earn up to $15,120 in 2013 – once you reach that limit, $1 of every $2 earned will be temporarily withheld from your benefits payments. For retirees turning 66 in 2013, the limit will be $40,080, after which $1 of every $3 earned will be withheld. If you have already reached full retirement age, there is no limit on the extra income you can earn and still receive your Social Security benefits.

Increase in maximum potential benefit — The maximum possible Social Security benefit will go up by $20 in 2013, to $2,533 from $2,513 in 2012.

No more paper checks – On March 1, 2013, the U.S Treasury will stop mailing paper checks. All Social Security benefit recipients must receive payments via direct deposit or loaded onto a debit card. If you do not select an electronic payment option by March 1, you will receive your benefits on a pre-paid debit card.

The Flanigan Law Group provides Southern California residents with personal attention for estate planning, administration and litigation legal services. When disputes between families, arise, they are very successful in resolving legal estate issues quickly and efficiently while preserving financial and emotional resources. Contact the Flanigan Law Group at 949-450-0042.