Most Americans likely envision Social Security as an essential source of financial support as they think ahead of retirement. That said, most retirees do end up depending on the program’s benefits to give a considerable part of their take-home earnings.
Nonetheless, while one counts on Social Security to be there for them throughout their retirement years, one should not look forward to solely living on such benefits from the U.S. federal government.
COLA is not keeping up
One of the reasons you shouldn’t rely on Social Security benefits alone is that the cost-of-living adjustments are not keeping pace with inflation.
Attempting to live by Social Security alone will most likely struggle in late retirement. This is because the benefits’ value is somewhat chipped away every year. This occurs because the COLA seems to be slacking off from what is intended to do, The Motley Fool writes.
COLAs are devised to make sure that benefits like the ones in Social Security keep up with inflation, though this is not felt by beneficiaries, not to mention that around 30 percent of the benefits’ purchasing power has been lost since 2000.
Americans are well-aware by now about the largest COLA bump in forty years – 5.9 percent. However, even this may well seem to be below the actual rate of inflation the retirees’ experience. This would result in them falling further behind, albeit receiving the biggest COLA in decades.
Only 40 percent
Another one is that these benefits are intended to fill in 40 percent of the preretirement income. This has been deemed the main reason folks cannot live on Social Security alone – retirees aren’t meant to.
For the uninitiated, Social Security benefits are calculated using a formula that decides the recipient’s amount. It will depend on the average earnings in a person’s 35-highest earning years. That said, a recipient receives benefits equivalent to a percentage of those earnings. Depending on the manner the said formula is designed, a person is expected to receive about 40 percent of what they’re earning prior to their retirement.
This translates that if a person relies solely on Social Security, he/she will end up taking a 60 percent pay cut upon retiring. Further, even in retirement, most people cannot live on just 40 percent of what they usually get paid for due to the reality that the necessities outweigh the said amount.
Retiring before claiming
Lastly, an individual may need to retire prior to claiming their benefits. Sure, the checks from Social Security are accessible by the time a beneficiary reaches 62. It’s worth noting, however, that employees could be forced out of their jobs due to the scarcity of work opportunities available to aging Americans or due to family or health issues.
Even if folks reach the age as mentioned above, they may still want to claim their benefits immediately when they leave the workforce. That’s because benefits increase for every year an individual begins to wait until their 70 to receive their first Social Security check.
Only 28% Of Americans View Economic Conditions Of Their Country As Excellent
The American economy has experienced much turmoil during the COVID-19 pandemic. Indeed, according to the Motley Fool, the United States of America’s economy has come a long way since the beginning of the pandemic.
Of course, the pandemic sore the unemployment level in the year 2020 reaching a record high. In addition to this, finding work during this period has been extremely difficult. As such, the federal government issued various stimulus and COVID relief payments and credits and unemployment benefits to combat the effects of the pandemic.
The State Of U.S. Economy
Currently, the American economy is has a 7.5% inflation rate or consumer price index. This has surpassed the 40-year record high since 1982, that is, since last month. However, besides this – the unemployment rate has decreased, and it seems the United States of America is ‘getting back to work,’ and their country’s economy is starting to recover. However – a recent survey conducted by the Pew Research Center showed that 28% of participants viewed the country’s economic conditions as good or excellent.
Why Such Economic Pessimism
It seems the supper high inflation rate leads most Americans to have such a negative view of their economy. Indeed close to 90% of participants viewed food and gas prices as higher than last year, 89 and 88 82 percent respectively.
Is Inflation Always Bad?
However, some economists argue that inflation, is at times, a sign of a healthy economy and does not always have to be viewed in a negative light. This is easier said than done though, with living costs increasing – consumers can feel the pinch in their budgets.
The argument, however, is that supply and demand determine the unit price. So if there is an increased demand – and supply does not necessarily change – unit price must increase. This means consumer price index increases or inflation. So an increase in demand could show people are buying more, and this might at least be the signs of a recovering – or active economy.
When supply chain issues are fixed – inflation should decrease. Furthermore, since December last year, unemployment is the lowest it has been since the start of the pandemic. So perhaps such an opposing economic viewpoint – can be replaced, which is realistic, in this light.
Experts Predict Long Payment Delays From IRS This Season, Provide Few Tips To Speed Up The Process
The IRS faces an enormous backlog due to staff shortages amidst the pandemic, it has recruited new officials, but the challenge remains tough. IRS is yet to process millions of tax returns of last season. The IRS officials are crushed under a ton of paperwork; millions of taxpayers will file their returns this year. The authorities will need to devise a compact strategy to overcome the backlog. CNBC reports that IRS had 6 million unprocessed returns by December 31, this is large numbers, and 2021’s tax returns might take some time.
IRS Workers Are Sparse
Experts suggest various ways to slim the time lag between filing the returns and receiving the payments. CNBC reports that the IRS only had 15,000 workers to answer around 24 million customer calls during the first six months of 2021, one person for 16,000 customers. Experts suggest taxpayers avoid the paperwork to the maximum extent; filers can switch electronic modes to fast forward the documentation. Taxpayers need to use advanced features to process tax refunds and other pending payments quickly. The electronic method will ease the burden on IRS officials during data verification.
Taxpayers Should File Electronic Tax Returns
IRS quoted Erin Collins, the National Taxpayer Advocate; she said, “Paper is the IRS’s kryptonite, and the agency is buried in it. The IRS still transcribes paper returns line by line, number by number, they received around 17 million original paper returns last year, and the processing delays have run as long as 10 months.” The taxpayers need to recheck their tax returns thoroughly; the wrong information might lead to payment abortion and several lengthy delays. The officials, too, will have to go through the same twice or thrice, which makes the process more complicated.
The families who receive enhanced Child Tax Credit or Stimulus payments or both need to exercise extra caution while filing their returns; the IRS issued letters to provide data for the amount allocated. The beneficiaries for the remaining half of the Child Tax Credit payments or extra credit should give complete information in their tax returns. IRS has announced April 18 as the deadline; individuals need to complete the filing process before the date.
Taxpayers Receive Notice CP80 From The IRS: Know Why
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has started processing 2021 tax returns. Taxpayers need to file their tax returns before April 18. IRS faces an enormous backlog of 2020 tax returns; several individuals have received CP80 notices despite submitting their tax returns.
Market Realist reports that IRS has 6 million unprocessed returns at present. The issuance of CP80 notes has created chaos amongst taxpayers, and they are worried about their refunds. IRS professionals will face severe difficulties due to the increased workload; taxpayers will likely witness a payment delay this year.
Several Taxpayers Will Have To Refile Their Tax Returns
Market Realist quoted an IRS statement; it said, “6 million unprocessed original individual returns (Forms 1040), 2.3 million unprocessed amended individual returns (Forms 1040-X), more than 2 million unprocessed employer’s quarterly tax returns (Forms 941 and 941-X), and about 5 million pieces of taxpayer correspondence.” The reports suggest a delay in 77 percent of the filed returns this year. The CP80 recipients will need to refile their tax returns. However, individuals with accurate tax returns need not worry as IRS will nullify those notices.
IRS Has A Long List Of Unprocessed Returns
Market Realist quoted IRS, “We credited payments and credits to your tax account for the tax period shown on your notice. However, we haven’t received your return.” The taxpayers need to check with IRS authorities to receive personal details and seek assistance. Most individuals with accurate tax returns will not need to refile but expect payment delays.
The IRS faces severe staff shortages amidst the pandemic. The situation worsened after winter’s Omicron wave. The taxpayers will need to provide accurate and updated tax information to receive eligible benefits without any unprecedented halt. Millions of families received stimulus checks and enhanced Child Tax Credit payments in 2021.
The remaining half of the enhanced CTC payments are due when beneficiaries file their tax returns. The IRS will verify personal information before processing the payments. Several eligible individuals missed out on eligible payments due to old or inaccurate data. Taxpayers need to read the letters carefully to know the complete details. The government officials will provide ample support to the US citizens amidst the difficult circumstances.
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