Most Americans on Social Security Will See Increase of $4 to $5 in 2017
Yes, you read that right. There will be a 0.3% cost of living adjustment (COLA) for those receiving Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits in 2017. That means most Americans will receive an increase of just $4 to $5 per month.
The COLA goes into effect in January 2017 for Social Security benefit recipients and on December 30, 2016 for those who receive SSI benefits. More than 60 million Americans receive Social Security benefits and another 8+ million receive SSI benefits.
For some recipients, this increase may be offset by an increase in Medicare premiums. The premiums for Medicare in 2017 have not been released yet, but we do know that Medicare costs have been going up dramatically. The June Medicare Trustees Report projected that a 22% increase in Medicare B premiums is needed to balance the Medicare Part B trust fund in 2017.
About 70% of Social Security beneficiaries will not see an increase in Medicare premiums because of the “hold harmless” provision. This basically says that Medicare premium increases cannot exceed a rise in Social Security benefits. With the low COLA of .03% for 2017, the hold harmless provision will apply.
But by law, all other Medicare recipients must absorb the majority of the Medicare Part B cost increase for 2017. Those who may see an increase in their Medicare premiums include high-income individuals, new Medicare enrollees, and people who are on Medicare but are not yet taking Social Security.
If you fall into this category, be sure to review the verification letter you receive in November that notifies you of surcharges for 2017. Social Security uses tax returns from 2015 to determine 2017 high-income surcharges. If your income has been reduced since 2015 due to a life-changing event, such as retirement or reduction in work hours, you may be eligible to apply for a lower bracket premium. Congress may also provide some relief as it did in 2015.
Another annual adjustment (effective in January each year) is the amount of earnings on which Social Security taxes are paid. Based on the increase in average wages, the maximum amount of earnings subject to the Social Security tax will increase in 2017 to $127,200 from $118,500. It is estimated that about 12 million of the 173 million workers who pay Social Security taxes in 2017 will pay more because of the increase.
Information about Medicare changes for 2017 will be available at www.Medicare.gov.
Recipe: Russian Tea
Most of you probably don’t know that I am a tea drinker. While I will have coffee once or twice a week, I will have tea 3-4 times a week. I get my love of tea from my mom. It was always in the house. Over the years, I graduated from tea bags to loose tea. I love all kinds of teas-variety is the spice of life. This recipe is one of my childhood favorites. My mom would make it during the holidays. She lost it for many years and just found it recently. As a kid, I created my own shortened version of this which will follow the main recipe. I have no idea where this recipe comes from. I hope you enjoy it as much as I have.
1 gal water
2 cinnamon sticks
3 whole cloves
2 c sugar
5 tsp tea or 3sml tea bags
1 16 oz frozen orange juice &
Boil: tea, cinnamon sticks, cloves n water- 2 min. Then remove. Add sugar & juices.
2 c sugar (or as much or little as you like)
1 c Tang
1/2 c instant tea
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 sml pkg lemonade mix
1tsp ground cloves & whole
Quick and Easy Kid Version
Since I was a kid, I didn’t do any measuring so the proportions are “to taste.”
Mix tang and instant tea (like Lipton’s instant tea mix)
Voila, done! You can add 2-3 cloves and let it steep for a few minutes