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SSA and IRS 2015 COLA Numbers

By Christina T. Vidoli

Below are some important cost-of-living-adjusted figures for 2015, as issued by the Social Security Administration and the Internal Revenue Service:

Social Security

  • Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) beneficiaries will receive a 1.7% COLA for 2015
  • The maximum Social Security wage base is $118,500
  • Amount of earnings required for a Quarter of Coverage is $1,22
  • The maximum Social Security benefit for a single individual retiring at full retirement age is $2,663 per month
  • The maximum annual SSI benefit for an Individual is $8,804, or $733/month
  • The maximum annual SSI benefit for a Couple is $13,205, or $1,100/month
  • The maximum annual SSI benefit for an Essential Person is $4,412, or $367/month
  • The Social Security Disability Thresholds are adjusted as follows:

-Substantial Gainful Activity (“SGA”) for the Non-Blind is set at $1,090/month

-SGA for the Blind is set at $1,820/month

-The Trial Work Period is set $780/month

  • The tax rate for the self-employed is 15.30%

For more information, see SSA 2015 COLA Fact Sheet.


  • The top marginal tax rate of 39.6 % affects singles whose income exceeds $413,200 ($464,850 for married taxpayers filing a joint return)1
  • The 20% maximum rate for trusts and estates on long-term capital gains and qualified dividends applies to amounts above $12,3002
  • The personal exemption rises to $4,000, but is subject to a phase-out that begins with adjusted gross incomes of $258,250 ($309,900 for married couples filing jointly)1
  • Estates of decedents who die during 2015 have a basic exclusion amount of $5,430,0001
  • The exclusion from tax on a gift to a spouse who is not a U.S. citizen is $147,0001
  • The annual gift tax exclusion remains at $14,0001
  • The limit on annual IRA contributions remains at $5,500 and the additional “catchup” IRA contribution limit for individuals age 50 and over remains at $1,0001
  • The AGI phase-out range for taxpayers making contributions to a Roth IRA is $116,000 to $131,000 for singles and heads of households3
  • For married couples filing jointly, the AGI phase-out range is $183,000 to 193,0003
  • Earned income over $200,000 (individuals) or $250,000 (married couples filing jointly) is subject to an Additional Medicare Tax of 0.9%2
  • Unearned income over $200,000 (individuals) or $250,000 (married couples filing jointly) is subject to a 3.8% Medicare Net Investment Income Tax3
  • Social security and Medicare taxes apply to the wages of household employees paid $1,900 or more4
  • The Federal Unemployment Tax Rate (FUTA) is 6% and applies to the first $7,000 an employer pays to each employee as wages during the year

    [1] In 2015, Various Tax Benefits Increase Due to Inflation Adjustments 

    [2]  2015 Form 1041-ES 

    [3] IRS Announces 2015 Pension Plan Limitations

    [4] Questions and Answers for the Additional Medicare Tax

    [5] Questions and Answers on the Net Investment Income Tax

    [6] Employer’s Tax Guide 2015

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