No Railroad Retirement benefit increase in 2016
Railroad retirement annuities, like social security benefits, will not increase in January 2016 as there was no increase in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) from the third quarter of last year to the corresponding period of the current year.
Also, because there is no cost-of-living adjustment (COLA), social security law prohibits an increase in the amounts social security and railroad retirement beneficiaries subject to earnings restrictions can earn in 2016 without having their benefits reduced.
For those under full retirement age throughout 2016, the exempt earnings amount remains at $15,720. For beneficiaries attaining full retirement age in 2016, the exempt earnings amount, for the months before the month full retirement age is attained, remains at $41,880 in 2016.
For employee and spouse annuitants, full retirement age ranges from age 65 for those born before 1938 to age 67 for those born in 1960 or later. For survivor annuitants, full retirement age ranges from age 65 for those born before 1940 to age 67 for those born in 1962 or later.
Special work restrictions continue to be applicable to disability annuitants. In 2016, the monthly disability earnings limit will increase to $880, up from $850 in 2015.
Regardless of age and/or earnings, no railroad retirement annuity is payable for any month in which an annuitant (retired employee, spouse or survivor) works for a railroad employer or railroad union.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has not yet announced Medicare Part B premium changes for 2016. The law includes a “hold harmless” provision that provides the Medicare Part B premium will not increase for most current enrollees if there is no cost-of-living adjustment to social security benefits. However, this does not apply to new Medicare enrollees or certain high-income Medicare beneficiaries.
Information about Medicare premiums for 2016, when available, will be found at www.medicare.gov.