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The Impact of 2024 Social Security Benefit Changes on Retirees

Posted On: April 1, 2024

By: Todd Villarrubia

Todd M. Villarrubia, an authority in wealth planning and preservation, brings over 30 years of in-depth, experience to the complex challenges of safeguarding familial and individual wealth. Based in New Orleans, Louisiana, his expertise is not only recognized in the local community but also reverberates within the legal industry.
The Social Security Administration will introduce six major changes to benefits in 2024 that will impact seniors receiving Social Security retirement benefits. Working with an elder law attorney allows retirees to navigate these adjustments and take advantage of strategies to protect assets.

With over 71 million Americans poised to see a 3.2% increase in their Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments, according to Nasdaq’s article, “6 Changes Coming to Social Security in 2024 and Who Could Be Affected Most,” the ripple effect on personal finances could be substantial. For seniors, these benefits form the backbone of their retirement income, shaping their capacity to handle daily expenses and unexpected costs.

This article explains both the changes in Social Security benefits and the planning strategies an elder lawyer uses to help seniors protect available income and assets and plan for potential long-term care costs.

How Will the New Social Security Benefits Affect Seniors?

Six main changes have been announced by the Social Security Administration, each with potential implications for those depending on these benefits. Here is an overview of the alterations that will be implemented:

Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA) Increase

Social Security retirement beneficiaries will see a 3.2% increase in their Social Security payments due to the COLA. This hike aims to help recipients keep up with inflation and maintain their purchasing power.

Taxable Maximum Earnings Increase

The ceiling for the maximum earnings subject to Social Security payroll tax will climb to $168,600 in 2024. This change primarily affects high earners, ensuring that a larger portion of their income is taxed for Social Security.

Increase in Maximum Social Security Benefit

In 2024, the maximum possible Social Security benefit for a worker retiring at full retirement age (FRA) will be raised to $3,822 from $3,627. This increase impacts beneficiaries who have consistently earned high wages and decide to claim benefits at their FRA (full retirement age).

Changes to the Retirement Earnings Test Exempt Amount

The earnings limit for retirees who continue to work while collecting Social Security benefits will rise. The new earnings exempt limit will be $22,320 for those who have not reached FRA.

Improvements in Spousal and Disability Benefits

The 3.2% COLA increase will also affect monthly benefits for widowers. The amount differs depending on whether they live with children or alone.  Disabled workers with a spouse and children will see an average increase to $2,720 per month.

Increased Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Payment Standards

For individuals receiving SSI in addition to Social Security, the SSI Federal Payment Standard will increase to $943 per month for individuals and $1,415 for couples.

The Role of Elder Law Attorneys in Financial Planning for Retirees

Legal Strategies to Shield Savings and Retirement Benefits

Navigating the complexities of financial planning as a retiree can be daunting; Social Security retirement benefits change annually. An elder law attorney addresses these concerns with clients, offering strategies tailored to safeguard your life's earnings. They help you understand the intricacies of estate planning, ensuring that your assets are managed according to your wishes and protected from potential future liabilities. Whether setting up trusts, advising on asset distribution, or ensuring that your estate plan complies with current laws, an elder law attorney is your guide to securing your financial legacy for your loved ones.

How Can You Shield Your Savings from Long-Term and Medical Care Costs?

The costs associated with long-term and medical care can quickly deplete your savings, leaving many seniors worried about their financial security. From navigating the complex Medicaid eligibility requirements to implementing asset protection strategies, elder law attorneys work to ensure that you can access the care you need without sacrificing your financial security. Through careful planning and legal expertise, an elder law attorney helps guard your money against the high costs of long-term and medical care, ensuring that you and your family are financially prepared for the future.

If you have questions about managing the changes in Social Security retirement benefits and taking advantage of legal and financial strategies to protect your income and assets, contact our firm today.

Key Takeaways

  • Social Security retirement beneficiaries will see a 3.2% COLA increase, impacting the financial planning landscape for seniors.
  • Elder law attorneys are crucial in protecting assets and ensuring that estates are managed according to seniors' wishes.
  • They provide strategic advice on the best timing for seniors to start taking Social Security benefits to maximize their financial advantage.
  • Legal strategies recommended by elder law attorneys can shield savings from the high costs associated with long-term and medical care, making Medicaid planning a key aspect of financial health in retirement.

Reference: Nasdaq (March 10, 2024) “6 Changes Coming to Social Security in 2024 and Who Could Be Affected Most,

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