The Social Security Administration has just announced cost-of-living increases for 2012. There will be a 3.6 percent cost-of-living increase in Social Security benefits effective December 2011.  This occurs after no increases since 2009.

As a result of this increase,  other benefit rates, values and costs will increase for 2012:

1.    The maximum  Supplemental Security Income (SSI) monthly benefit amounts for 2012 will be $698 for an eligible individual, $1,048 for an eligible individual with an eligible spouse, and $350 for an essential person;

2.    The monthly exempt amounts a retiree can earn for taxable years ending in calendar year 2012 will be $1,220, for years prior to the year in which a person attains his or her Normal Retirement Age (NRA) and $3,240, for the year in which a person attains his or her NRA;

3.   The amount of taxable earnings a person must have to be credited with a quarter of coverage in 2012 will be $1,130;

4.   The monthly amount deemed to constitute substantial gainful activity for statutorily blind individuals in 2012 will be $1,690, and the corresponding amount for non-blind disabled persons will be $1,010. Earnings close to or above this amount precludes disability.

5.   The earnings threshold establishing a month as a part of a trial work period will be $720 for 2012.  Earnings close to or above this amount can cause the receipt of disability to be reviewed and potentially terminated;

6.    The dollar fee limit for services performed as a representative payee will be $38 per month ($75 per month in the case of a beneficiary who is disabled and has an alcoholism or drug addiction condition that leaves him or her incapable of managing benefits) in 2012; and

6.    The monthly medicare rate for most people will be $115.

This information can be found in the Federal Register Volume 76, Number 206 (Tuesday, October 25, 2011) [Notices] [Pages 66111-66117] via the Government Printing Office [].  Different factors can affect benefit amounts and earning limits, therefore each person’s individual circumstances must be accounted for.