2 Social Security Changes That Could Hurt You Financially in 2023

2 Social Security Changes That Could Hurt You Financially In 2023

Although Social Security has been around for many decades, the program tends to undergo certain changes every year. And those changes can be a mixed bag.

Now let’s talk about some good news first. In 2023, seniors on Social Security will get to enjoy their largest raise in decades — an 8.7% cost-of-living adjustment (COLA). The hope is that a raise that large will help seniors regain some buying power in the face of inflation and avoid some of the struggles they may have faced this year.

Another positive Social Security change coming down the pike? The earnings-test limit is rising. This means that early Social Security filers who opt to continue working will get the option to earn more money without having it impact their benefits.

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But while it’s easy to argue that Social Security is changing for the better in 2023, there are some changes that may not sit as well. Here are a couple that could have a negative impact on you.

1. A higher wage cap

Social Security’s primary source of revenue is payroll taxes. But workers don’t necessarily pay those taxes on all of their income.

Each year, there’s a wage cap put into place that determines how much income gets taxed. Right now, the wage cap sits at $147,000, which means earnings above that point aren’t subject to Social Security taxes. (Earnings above that point also aren’t factored in when calculating monthly retirement benefits.)

Next year, the wage cap is rising — substantially. Social Security taxes will apply to earnings of up to $160,200. That’s a big jump from this year, and it means that higher earners will lose more of their money.

Of course, on the one hand, it may be hard to feel bad for people whose paychecks are generous enough to be impacted by this change. But in some parts of the country, $160,200 isn’t a ton of money — especially not for people with multiple dependents. So all told, this change isn’t going to sit well with a lot of people.

2. A higher income requirement to earn work credits

Social Security doesn’t automatically pay benefits to seniors once they reach a certain age. To qualify for benefits, you need to accrue 40 work credits in your lifetime at a maximum of four credits per year.

The value of a work credit can change over time. Right now, it takes $1,510 of earnings to snag a single work credit. In 2023, it’ll take $1,640 to earn a work credit.

This change is apt to not be an issue for full-time workers. But part-timers may need to increase their hours or fight for higher wages if they want to make sure they’re getting the maximum number of credits in 2023.

Pay attention to Social Security changes

When the rules surrounding Social Security evolve, it can work to people’s benefit — or not. Make sure to pay attention to the changes Social Security undergoes once a year. Even if you’re not at an age where you’re able to collect benefits, you might still end up impacted in a very significant way.

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