7 New Social Security Rules for 2013
The Social Security Administration has implemented a variety of new rules and features for 2013. The two-year payroll tax cut has officially ended, and paper Social Security checks will soon cease to be printed. A growing number of Social Security services will also be online this year. Here's a look at some of the recent Social Security changes that go into effect this year:
Payroll tax cut ends. The temporary payroll tax cut was allowed to expire at the end of 2012. Workers who paid 4.2 percent of their income into the Social Security system in 2011 and 2012 will now resume contributing 6.2 percent of their earnings in 2013, up to the payroll tax cap of $113,700.
Higher payroll tax cap. The payroll tax cap increased by $3,600, from $110,100 in 2012 to $113,700 in 2013. Workers who earn more than this threshold don't need to pay Social Security taxes on that income.
More online services. A trip to the Social Security office is no longer necessary to start your Social Security payments. A growing number of retirees are claiming Social Security payments online, largely thanks to an advertising campaign starring actors Patty Duke and George Takei. For the first time in 2012, workers could access their Social Security statements online, including their complete earnings history and expected payments, and about 3 million people have already done so. In early 2013, Social Security added online services including the ability to access a benefit verification letter and payment history. Retirees can also change their address and start or change direct-deposit information online. "The ability to do this online, it will be a real convenience for the people who are required to have these benefit verification letters," says Social Security Commissioner Michael Astrue. "It is going to allow us to focus on the kind of conversations that we really do need to have face to face."
Reduced office hours. Social Security offices are reducing the hours they are open to the public to save money and avoid paying overtime to workers. Social Security locations nationwide have been closing 30 minutes early each day since Nov. 19, 2012, and they began closing to the public at noon every Wednesday on Jan. 2, 2013.