What you don't know about Social Security in 2018

Social Security is a vital part of the financial planning strategy for tens of millions of Americans, and between the retirement and disability benefits it pays to workers and the host of family benefits available to spouses and children, it's important to keep up with what's happening with the program. Although many see Social Security as being under a long-term threat, the program is currently slated to stay the course in 2018, with only modest changes that reflect regular annual adjustments to its provisions. Below, we'll look at several key aspects of Social Security and how they'll potentially change in 2018.

How much will typical Americans get in benefits?

Social Security is giving Americans a 2% cost-of-living increase in January, and that will raise what beneficiaries get from the program. The Social Security Administration estimates that the average monthly benefit for retired workers in January 2018 will be $1,404, and for couples who receive two benefits, the average total family benefits will be $2,340 per month.

Survivors of workers will also be entitled to significant benefits. A widowed parent with two children will see average total family benefits of $2,771 per month, while a surviving spouse without qualifying children will get an average of $1,336 monthly.

What's the new full retirement age for those retiring in 2018?

The SSA pays benefits based on a formula that starts with the assumption that you'll retire at your full retirement age. That number in turn depends on when you were born.

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