This is an archival or historical document and may not reflect current policies or procedures

Social Security Online

Fact Sheet
Social Security

2004 SOCIAL SECURITY CHANGES

(aquí en Español)
Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA):
Based on the increase in the Consumer Price Index (CPI-W) from the third quarter of 2002 through the third quarter of 2003, Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) beneficiaries will receive a 2.1 percent COLA for 2004. Other important 2004 Social Security information is as follows:

Tax Rate
2003
2004
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.

Maximum Earnings Taxable:
2003
2004
Social Security (OASDI only)
$87,000
$87,900
Medicare (HI only)
No Limit

Quarter of Coverage:
2003
2004
Earnings required
$890
$900

Retirement Earnings Test Exempt Amounts:
2003
2004
Under full retirement age
NOTE: One dollar in benefits will be withheld for every $2 in earnings above the limit.
$11,520/yr.
($960/mo.)

$11,640/yr..
($970/mo.)

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.
$30,720/yr.
($2,560/mo.)
$31,080/yr.
($2,590/mo.)
There is no limit on earnings beginning the month an individual attains full retirement age (65 and 2 months for retirees born in 1938; 65 and 4 months for those born in 1939).

Social Security Disability Thresholds:
2003
2004
Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA)
Non-Blind
$  800/mo.
$  810/mo.
Blind
$1,330/mo.
$1,350/mo.
Trial Work Period (TWP)
$  570/mo.
$  580/mo.

Maximum Social Security Benefit:
Worker Retiring at Full Retirement Age in
2003
2004
NOTE: For retirees born in 1938, full retirement age is 65 and 2 months; for those born in 1939, it is 65 and 4 months. Full retirement age will gradually increase to age 67 for those born in 1960 or later.
$1,741/mo.
(Age 65 and 2 months)
$1,825/mo.
(Age 65 and 4 months)

SSI Federal Payment Standard:
2003
2004
Individual
$  552/mo.
$  564/mo.
Couple
$  829/mo
$  846/mo.

SSI Resources Limits:
2003
2004
Individual
$2,000
$2,000
Couple
$3,000
$3,000

SSI Student Exclusion Limits:
2003
2004
Monthly Limit
$1,340
$1,370
Annual Limit
$5,410
$5,520

Estimated Average Monthly Social Security Benefits
Payable in January 2004:
Before
2.1% COLA
After
2.1% COLA
All Retired Workers
$  903
$  922
Aged Couple, Both Receiving Benefits
$1,492
$1,523
Widowed Mother and Two Children
$1,865
$1,904
Aged Widow(er) Alone
$  870
$  888
Disabled Worker, Spouse and
One or More Children
$1,412
$1,442
All Disabled Workers
$  844
$  862

SSA Press Office  449 Altmeyer Bldg.  6401 Security Blvd. 
Baltimore, MD 21235 
410-965-8904  FAX 410-966-9973