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Fixed Income Strategies

Online notices can show you how much your Social Security benefits will be in 2019

Key Points
  • The Social Security Administration has announced a 2.8 percent increase to benefits in 2019.
  • Though Medicare Part B premiums will also increase, many retirees will still see bigger checks starting in January.
  • There are two ways to find out just how much you will receive: through your online Social Security account or paper statements you receive in the mail.
Zinkevych | iStock | Getty Images

If you're like other retirees, you're eager to see just how big your Social Security check will be next year.

The Social Security Administration has released its cost-of-living adjustment, or COLA, notices online.

To find out what your payment will be, log on to your My Social Security account. Your cost-of-living adjustment will be found in the message center.

Be warned: It may take more than one try in order to access your notice.

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"While thousands and thousands of our beneficiaries are accessing their notices online, our online portal is experiencing higher than normal volumes of log in attempts," a Social Security spokeswoman said. "Some of our customers are not receiving their one-time pass code.

"If they experience this problem, we ask them to please try again later."

Social Security recipients will get a 2.8 percent increase in 2019, following a cost-of-living adjustment announced by the agency in October.

That marks the biggest hike since 2012, when the cost-of-living adjustment was 3.6 percent.

The Social Security Administration is also scheduled to send cost-of-living adjustment notices by mail this month.

Current beneficiaries, including those who receive online notices, will receive paper notices.

Online notices will not be available to individuals with foreign addresses or those who pay higher Medicare premiums because of their income.

The Social Security Administration previously released a fact sheet that shows how the 2019 cost-of-living adjustment could change monthly benefits for beneficiaries.

Estimated average monthly Social Security benefits payable in January 2019

Beneficiaries Before 2.8% COLA After 2.8% COLA
All retired workers"$1,422 ""$1,461 "
"Aged couple both receiving benefits""$2,381 ""$2,448 "
Widowed mother and two children"$2,797 ""$2,876 "
Aged widow(er) alone"$1,348 ""$1,386 "
"Disabled worker spouse and one or more children""$2,072 ""$2,130 "
All disabled workers"$1,200 ""$1,234 "

Medicare changes

Medicare Part B premiums are also slated to increase in 2019, but not enough to wipe away the Social Security COLA for many beneficiaries.

Most people will be subject to the standard Medicare Part B premium rate of $135.50 in 2019.

But if your modified adjusted gross income exceeds a certain amount — $85,000 or more and you file as an individual — you will pay more.

What you pay in premiums in 2019 is determined by your 2017 tax return.

Medicare 2019 table

File individual tax return File joint tax return File married & separate tax return You pay each month (in 2019)
"$85,000 or less""$170,000 or less""$85,000 or less"$135.50 
"Above $85,000 up to $107,000""Above $170,000 up to $214,000"Not applicable$189.60 
"Above $107,000 up to $133,500""Above $214,000 up to $267,000"Not applicable$270.90 
"Above $133,500 up to $160,000""Above $267,000 up to $320,000"Not applicable$352.20 
" $160,000 and less than $500,000""Above $320,000 and less than $750,000""Above $85,000 and less than $415,000"$433.40 
"$500,000 or above""$750,000 and above""$415,000 and above"$460.50

About 2 million Medicare beneficiaries will actually pay less than $135.50 next year due to the "hold harmless" provision that protects certain beneficiaries from paying more for their Part B premiums.

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