The Social Security Administration announced that there would be no increase in the amount of wages subject to Social Security taxes (old age, survivor, and disability insurance) for 2016. There is no limit on the amount of wages subject to the Medicare tax.  Because the consumer price index did not increase from the third quarter of 2014 to the third quarter of 2015, there will be no cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) in the amount of Social Security benefits paid next year. When there is no COLA in Social Security benefits, an increase in the amount of wages subject to Social Security taxes is prohibited by law. So the current $118,500 maximum amount of earnings subject to Social Security taxes will also apply in 2016. Among the other unchanged limits is the amount a worker under full retirement age can earn before he or she has Social Security benefits reduced. The limit remains at $15,720 a year, after which $1 in benefits is withheld for every $2 earned above the limit.

2016 Social Security Fact Sheet

Tax Rate:
2015 2016
Employee 7.65% 7.65%
Self-Employed 15.30% 15.30%
NOTE:  The 7.65% tax rate is the combined rate for Social Security and Medicare.  The Social Security portion (OASDI) is 6.20% on earnings up to the applicable taxable maximum amount (see below).  The Medicare portion (HI) is 1.45% on all earnings. Also, as of January 2013, individuals with earned income of more than $200,000 ($250,000 for married couples filing jointly) pay an additional 0.9 percent in Medicare taxes. The tax rates shown above do not include the 0.9 percent.
Maximum Taxable Earnings:
2015 2016
Social Security (OASDI only) $118,500 $118,500*
Medicare (HI only) N o   L i m i t
Quarter of Coverage:
2015 2016
  $1,220 $1,260
Retirement Earnings Test Exempt Amounts:
2015 2016
Under full retirement age

NOTE: One dollar in benefits will be withheld for every $2 in earnings above the limit.

The year an individual reaches full retirement age

NOTE: Applies only to earnings for months prior to attaining full retirement age. One dollar in benefits will be withheld for every $3 in earnings above the limit.

There is no limit on earnings beginning the month an individual attains full retirement age.

Social Security Disability Thresholds:
2015 2016
Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA)
Trial Work Period (TWP) $780/mo. $   810/mo.
Maximum Social Security Benefit:
2015 2016
Worker Retiring at Full Retirement Age $2,663/mo. $2,639/mo.**
SSI Federal Payment Standard:
2015 2016
Individual $733/mo. $  733/mo.*
Couple $1,100/mo. $1,100/mo.*
SSI Resources Limits:
2015 2016
Individual $2,000 $2,000
Couple $3,000 $3,000
SSI Student Exclusion:
2015 2016
Monthly limit $1,780 $1,780*
Annual limit $7,180 $7,180*
Estimated Average Monthly Social Security Benefits Payable in January 2016:
All Retired Workers $1,341
Aged Couple, Both Receiving Benefits $2,212
Widowed Mother and Two Children $2,680
Aged Widow(er) Alone $1,285
Disabled Worker, Spouse and One or More Children $1,983
All Disabled Workers $1,166
*  Because there is no COLA, by law these amounts remain unchanged in 2016.

** A decrease in full maximum benefits occurs when there is no COLA, but there is an increase in the national average wage index.


SSA – January 2016 –