Social Security benefits for nearly 58 million people will increase by 1.5 percent next year.

Social Security benefits for nearly 58 million people will
increase by 1.5 percent next year.

The COLA affects benefits for more than one-fifth of the
country. In addition to Social Security payments, it affects benefits for
millions of disabled veterans, federal retirees and people who get Supplemental
Security Income, the disability program for the poor.

The amount of wages subject to Social Security taxes is also
going up. Social Security is funded by a 12.4 percent tax on the first $113,700
in wages earned by a worker, with half paid by employers and the other half
withheld from workers' pay.

The wage threshold will increase to $117,000 next year, the
Social Security Administration said. Wages above the threshold are not subject
to Social Security taxes.

Social Security pays retired workers an average of $1,272 a
month. A 1.5 percent raise comes to about $19.

In some years, part of COLA has been erased by an increase
in Medicare Part B premiums, which are deducted automatically from Social
Security payments. But Medicare announced Monday that Part B premiums, which
cover doctor visits, will stay the same in 2014, at $104.90 a month for most
seniors.

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