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Social Security COLA in January


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U.S. Embassy Panama

Consular Section

Federal Benefits Unit

Important Information for Federal Benefits Recipients

2017 Cost of Living Allowance (COLA)

We are pleased to announce that there will be a 0.3 percent benefit increase in 2017 for Social Security Administration (SSA), Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and US Office of Personnel Management (OPM) benefit recipients, effective December 1, 2016.  The increase will be reflected on payments made in January 2017.

SSA information:

  •             Medicare changes for 2017, when announced, will be available at www.Medicare.gov. 
  •              If you are over age 65 and are not enrolled in Medicare Part B and wish to do so, the general enrollment period is from January 1st through March 31st.  The coverage will begin on July 1st.    You will need to complete the enrollment form, which you can download at: https://www.cms.gov/Medicare/CMS-Forms/CMS-Forms/Downloads/CMS40B-E.pdf.

OPM Information:

  •            OPM has announced that the Federal Employees Health Benefit (FEHB) Open Season will begin on November 14th and runs through December 12th , 2016.    During Open Season, anyone eligible to participate in the FEHB Program may enroll, change health plans or options, or cancel their FEHB enrollment.  For instructions for making open season changes, please visit the following link https://www.opm.gov/healthcare-insurance/healthcare/enrollment/
  •            For the 2017 health benefits open season information and premiums, please visit the following link: www.opm.gov/healthcare-insurance/healthcare/plan-information/premiums/2017/nonpostal-ffs.pdf.   The effective date of the open season changes and new premiums will be January 1st , 2017.  The changes will be reflected in the paymentdated February 1st, 2017.

Please note that an appointment will be required for all services at the Federal Benefits Unit.  You can schedule an appointment by sending an e-mail to Panama-FBU@State.Gov.

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We are pleased to announce that there will be a 0.3 percent benefit increase in 2017 for Social Security Administration (SSA), Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and US Office of Personnel Management (OPM) benefit recipients, effective December 1, 2016.  The increase will be reflected on payments made in January 2017.

Jeeze..... do you think they can afford that 0.3% increase? 

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And what will the increase in the Medicare deduction be?  My SS pension net payment has gone down the past couple of years.

However, according to this October 4,2016 Money Magazine article:

"The majority of Medicare beneficiaries have nothing to worry about. Most people who have their premiums deducted from their Social Security checks are protected by what’s called the “hold harmless” rule: Their Medicare charges can’t increase by any more than their Social Security income goes up."

Bottom line, I don't expect to see any increase in my SS retirement benefit payments in 2017.

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