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Key numbers for 2014 retirees

By Jennie L. Phipps ·
Monday, December 30, 2013
Posted: 4 pm ET

Are you getting ready for retirement in 2014? Here are some official retirement planning numbers that every 2014 retiree should know:

Limits on earnings from employment. If you plan to retire before Social Security full retirement age, which is 66 for people born between 1943 and 1954, you can't earn more than $15,480 a year from employment without losing $1 in benefits for every $2 you earn. The year you reach full retirement age, the limit on earnings before your actual birth date rises to $41,400. After the month you reach full retirement age, there is no limit on how much you can make while collecting Social Security checks.

Average Social Security earnings. The average retired worker in 2014 will get $1,294 and the average couple will receive $2,111. The maximum that a worker retiring at full retirement age can get from Social Security is $2,642, but workers who postpone retirement past full retirement age get an 8 percent bonus for every year they delay. That means a worker reaching age 70 in 2014 who had steady earnings at the maximum level since age 22 can get a monthly maximum of $3,425, according to the Social Security website.

The price of Medicare. Medicare Part A hospitalization doesn't cost anything for most people, but there are fees for Part B, which covers doctor bills and other services. What you pay depends on how much money you earn.

  • Single persons earning $85,000 or less, and married couples filing jointly earning $170,000 or less, each pay $104.90 per month. Usually this gets deducted directly from your Social Security check.
  • A single person earning from $85,000 up to $107,000, and married couples making frm $170,000 up to $214,000 will pay $146.90 per person per month.
  • Single earners making from $107,000 up to $160,000 and couples making $214,000 up to $320,000 each pay $209.80 per month.
  • Single earners making above $160,000 up to $214,000 and joint filers earning above $320,000 up to $428,000 each pay $272.70.
  • Single filers making more than $214,000 and couples earning above $428,000 each pay $335.70.

There also are fees for Part D prescription drug coverage and penalties for people earning more than $85,000 or $170,000 as a couple. Here's the breakdown:

  • Single people earning $85,000 or less and married spouses filing jointly who earn $170,000 or less pay only the Part D plan premium, which varies based on the plan they choose.
  • Single people earning from $85,000 up to $107,000 and couples making from $170,000 up to $214,000 will each pay $12.10 per month plus the plan premiums.
  • Single earners above $107,000 up to $160,000 and couples making $214,000 up to $320,000 pay $31.10 per month each plus their plan premiums.
  • Single earners making above $160,000 up to $214,000 and joint filers earning above $320,000 up to $428,000 each pay $50.20 plus the plan premiums.
  • Single filers making more than $214,000 and couples earning above $428,000 each pay $69.30 plus their plan premiums.

Lots of people are shocked when their first Social Security check arrives and they see that it doesn't go nearly as far as they had hoped. If you earn less than the federal poverty level -- about $958 a month for an individual or $1,293 for a couple -- you'll be eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid. The government calls these people "dual eligibles." You can make more than this and still be eligible for Medicaid or other help in some states. If you think you might qualify, use to find out where to turn for assistance.

Retiring and signing up for these programs isn't simple. Make sure you start three months before your retirement date and be prepared to spend plenty of time getting it right.

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K. Ezelle
December 31, 2013 at 10:08 pm

Can I still retire early at 62 & draw the reduced Social Security Benefits & still be able to draw under what my husband paid in instead of my own since his would give me a larger amount than drawing on my own S.S.? He is also drawing on his own already. If I waited until I'm 66 & draw on his Social Security paid in would I draw the same amount per month that he draws?

December 31, 2013 at 7:48 pm

I already have a retirement check coming in at this time. when I become 66 will I still be able to collect SS? and if so how much can I collect.

ronald andrews
December 31, 2013 at 7:41 pm

why is it that i started drawing SS at age 62 but kept on working part time till i was 69 and paid in more SS but i never got a raise on my SS check

December 31, 2013 at 7:07 pm

Does the $41,400. Net or gross?

C. Sharon
December 31, 2013 at 6:52 pm

I am retired military, does my retirement check count against the $15,480 a year I can earn, if I retire at age 62

L Hoffman
December 31, 2013 at 6:50 pm

I am planning to retire at my maximum retirement age at 66.
However, I have applied for SS benefits as of 1/1/14 at age 65 1/2. After July 1, 2014 I will be 66. Can I make the $41,400 without a limit mid-year? Or, because I chose to collect SS benefits before my 66th birthday (7/1) is my max. income going to be $15,480 forever?

C. Morrison
December 31, 2013 at 6:34 pm

I am retiring in 2 years and during this time I can collect social security. Will I lose my benefits if I get married and my spouse collects social security also?

Joan Suess
December 31, 2013 at 6:33 pm

When my husband died I was told I had to be 60 to collect the widow's entitlement. He worked over 46 years and I worked 36 years. He never received a check. I turned 60 and found that I only receive his and nothing in what I paid out. Also, I am not eligible for Medicare until I'm 65. When both couples work, why is the survivor entitled to only one check. What happens to the money from the other check. Why doesn't the widow automatically qualify for Medicare?

tony b
December 31, 2013 at 5:59 pm

Why is it that my mother never worked in her life and she collects based upon what my father made. My wife and I both work but I do not pay SS because the type of pension plan I have. As I understand I will not be able to collect based on my wife's payment into SS. IS this correct?

J. Antonio
December 31, 2013 at 5:51 pm

J.Goodwin, that refers to EARNED income.
u do not lose benefits when receiving unearned income like pensions, interest, dividends; that type of thing.