How can I get details about my Social Security payment?

Dear Rusty: How do I find the actual breakdown of the Medicare insurance that I have auto deducted and my actual Social Security payment? I was just looking at a video which explained the 3 percent Cost of Living Adjustment we will be receiving this year, and it compared the current payout to the new payout. There seems to be a big difference in what I am getting and what they said in the video. Currently my Social Security payments are $1,431. My Medicare insurance is supposed to be $165, which means my total Social Security is about $1,596. On the video it said all retired workers are getting $1,848 with the new increase to take it to $1,938.00. There are a couple hundred dollars there that I seem to be missing out on. Can you help me understand that difference? Signed: Confused Senior

Dear Confused Senior: What you’re asking for is an itemized breakout of your gross Social Security benefit, any deductions being taken therefrom (e.g., your Medicare Part B premium), the amount of your COLA increase, and your net Social Security payment for 2024. If that is the case, the best way to get this detail is in your personal “my Social Security” online account, which provides all the information mentioned.

You can access your online account at www.ssa.gov/myaccount, and if you don’t already have that online account set up, you’ll need to first establish your online access credentials (instructions for how to do that will be at that website).

I’m not sure which video you watched, but “all retired workers” do not get $1,848 (or $1,938). Everyone’s Social Security benefit is different, based on their lifetime earnings record and the age at which they claimed benefits. The numbers you heard in the video were likely average Social Security payments, not the actual amount you should personally be receiving.

Here’s how it works:

  • Your personal benefit is based on your Primary Insurance Amount which is the amount you get if you claim for your benefits to start at your full retirement age, which is somewhere between 66 and 67 depending on the year you were born. Claim before your FRA your benefit is permanently reduced; claim after your FRA it is higher. Your personal maximum benefit is achieved if you claim at age 70.
  • The Medicare Part B premium (for outpatient healthcare services) is automatically deducted from your Social Security payment. Although the standard 2023 Part B premium was $164.90, the standard 2024 Part B premium is $174.70. You may also have other things (e.g., income tax) withheld from your monthly Social Security payment.
  • The annual Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) for 2024 is 3.2 percent. That means your gross Social Security benefit goes up by that percentage starting in 2024. But there was also a $9.80 increase in your Medicare Part B premium starting in 2024, which means that you won’t see all of the COLA increase in your Social Security payment. Since your Medicare premium is deducted from your Social Security, that Medicare increase will also be taken from your SS payment, so you won’t see the full 3.2 percent COLA increase in your 2024 Social Security payment.

To see all of this detail for you personally, I suggest you access your online “my Social Security” account as described above. As an alternative, you can also call Social Security at (800) 772.1213 and request a Benefit Verification Letter which will include all the information you seek about your Social Security payment.