Social Security is one of these programs that has a lot of rules. But you know what they say about rules -- they aren't always set in stone.

This is definitely the case for Social Security. In fact, the program tends to change yearly based on inflation levels. And here are some big changes to gear up for in 2023.

Social Security cards.

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1. The largest cost-of-living adjustment in decades

In case you didn't notice, inflation levels surged this year, leaving consumers to pay up at the pump, supermarket, and just about everywhere else. Since Social Security cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) are pegged to inflation, it's not surprising that come 2023, recipients will be in for their largest raise in decades.

Social Security benefits will increase by 8.7% in 2023. That will raise the average monthly benefit of $1,681 to $1,827.

2. A higher earnings-test limit

Some people opt to continue working even once they begin collecting Social Security benefits, and that's allowed. But if you're receiving benefits before reaching your full retirement age (FRA), then you could risk having some of your Social Security income withheld if your wages exceed a certain threshold known as the earnings-test limit.

In 2022, you could earn up to $19,560 without impacting your benefits. From there, you'd have $1 in Social Security withheld per $2 of income. Come 2023, you can earn up to $21,240 without affecting your benefits. And from there, that same $1 in withheld benefits per $2 of earnings will apply.

The rules are different for seniors reaching FRA. In 2022, anyone working but reaching FRA within the year could earn up to $51,960 without having their benefits affected. In 2023, that limit rises to $56,520. From there, you'll have $1 in Social Security benefits withheld per $3 of earnings.

3. A higher income requirement for work credits

Collecting Social Security in retirement isn't automatically a given. To be eligible for benefits, you need to accrue 40 work credits in your lifetime, and you can only rack up four of those credits each year.

The value of a work credit in 2022 was $1,510. In 2023, it's rising to $1,640. This means a part-time worker will need to be mindful if their goal is to accrue four work credits.

4. A higher wage cap

Social Security gets most of its revenue from payroll taxes. But workers don't necessarily pay Social Security taxes on all of their income. Rather, there's a cap that's set each year, and earnings beyond that point don't get taxed for Social Security purposes.

In 2022, the wage cap was $147,000. In 2023, it's rising to $160,200, so higher earners will be taxed on an additional $13,200 of income. If you're a salaried worker, you'll split that additional tax burden with your employer, but if you're self-employed, you'll have to cover that increase yourself.

Stay in the know

It's easy to let Social Security changes like these slip under your radar. But whether you're collecting benefits or not, it's important to know about them, as they could affect you for better or for worse.