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Howard Kossover: Monthly Social Security, SSI payments to go up for 63 million people

Q: When will the new Social Security amounts for 2014 be received?

A: The Social Security Administration announced in October that monthly Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits for nearly 63 million Americans will increase 1.5 percent in 2014.

Different from Social Security, SSI is a low-income program for people over age 65 or at any age if disabled or blind.

This 1.5 percent cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) will begin with benefits that more than 57 million Social Security beneficiaries receive in January 2014.

Increased payments to more than 8 million SSI beneficiaries will begin on December 31, 2013.

Overall, benefits will increase by the COLA amount but some individual variation can occur.

Q: What is the Social Security cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) based on?

A: Using Department of Labor data, the COLA is based on the percentage of increase in the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) from the third quarter of the last year a COLA was determined to the third quarter of the current year. If there is no increase in the CPI-W Consumer Price Index, there can be no COLA.

Q: What will the 2014 Medicare Part B (Medical) premium be?

A: The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), announced that the standard Medicare Part B monthly premium will remain $104.90 in 2014, the same as in 2013.

The income-based Part B premiums paid by people with higher incomes since 2007 will also remain the same as they were in 2013.

Unlike the Social Security COLA, the CPI-W plays no part in computing the Medicare Part B premium.

Instead, the Part B premium changes each year, if needed, so that it can fund approximately 25 percent of the projected cost of the Part B program.

Go to for 2014 Medicare cost details.

Did You Know? Other Social Security changes will automatically take place in January, including annual retirement earnings test levels and the amount of employment gross wage and net self-employment earnings subject to Social Security payroll tax (FICA).

Learn about them at

Based in Grand Forks, Howard I. Kossover is the Social Security Public Affairs Specialist for North Dakota and western Minnesota. Send general interest questions to him at Read his online articles at