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Social Security in 2024: What you need to know

Alicia Colombo

By Mary Anna Rodabaugh

Social Security pays more than $8.5 billion in benefits every month to more than 6.8 million people in the Philadelphia region through the Social Security retirement, disability and survivors programs and Supplemental Security Income (SSI), according to the Social Security Administration.

April is Social Security month, and this year brings some new Social Security changes. Here is a rundown of what you need to know for 2024.

Payment schedule
• The Social Security Administration distributes monthly checks depending on a beneficiary’s birthdate:
• 1st through 10th – second Wednesday of each month.
• 11th through 20th – third Wednesday of each month.
• 21st through 31st of the month – fourth Wednesday of each month.

Cost-of-Living Adjustment
Perhaps, the most notable change to Social Security this year is the Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA). Based on the increase of the Consumer Price Index from the third quarter of 2022 through the third quarter of 2023, Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) beneficiaries will receive a 3.2% COLA for 2024. More than 71 million Americans will receive this increase. According to the Social Security Administration, “on average, Social Security retirement benefits will increase by more than $50 per month.”

In 2024, the maximum monthly Social Security benefit ranges from $2,710 for a worker retiring at 62 to $3,822 for full retirement age. If retiring at age 70, the maximum benefit is $4,873.

Substantial Gainful Activity
To be eligible for disability benefits, a person must be unable to engage in Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA). A person earning more than a certain monthly amount (net of impairment-related work expenses) is engaging in SGA. The SGA amount for people living with disabilities other than blindness is $1,550 per month in 2024. For individuals living with blindness, the amount of earnings that indicate SGA is $2,590 per month in 2024. You must earn less than these amounts to be eligible for disability benefits.

Trial work period
Let’s say you’re eligible for Social Security disability benefits, but you want to return to work. The Social Security Administration provides a trial work period where you can earn wages and still collect benefits. This does not apply to SSI. The amount of earnings that trigger a trial work period are lower than the monthly SGA. For more information on this, call 1-800-772-1213 or visit

Federal Benefit Rate for SSI
For 2024, the Federal Benefit Rate (FBR) for SSI recipients only is $943 per month for an eligible individual or $1,415 per month for an eligible couple.

Medicare Part A: Hospital insurance
For 2024, the monthly Medicare Part A (hospital insurance) base premium is $505, and the 45% reduced premium is $278.

Medicare Part B: Medical insurance
The Medicare Part B (medical insurance) monthly base premium is a minimum of $174.70. (This amount could be higher, depending on income.) Medicare beneficiaries will be informed by the Social Security Administration of the exact cost of their Part B premium for this year.

Retirement Earnings Test
The monthly and annual Retirement Earnings Test (RET) exemptions are the amounts of wages and self-employment income which you, as a Social Security beneficiary, may earn in any month or year without part or all your monthly benefit being deducted because of excess earnings.

In 2023, the RET exemption was $21,240 a year or $1,770 a month and applies only to people below normal retirement age.

Social Security online
“Plan for the future, and manage the present,” says Jessie Silvent, public affairs specialist for the Social Security Administration in Philadelphia. “With your free and secure ‘my Social Security’ online account, you can receive personal estimates of future benefits based on your real earnings, see your latest Social Security statement, and review your earnings history. (The online portal) makes it easy to request a replacement Social Security card, check the status of an application, and much more, from anywhere. Simply go to”

If you have questions, need information or want to apply for benefits, call 1-800-772-1213, visit your local Social Security office or go online to

Mary Anna Rodabaugh is a writer, editor and writing coach.

Categories: Finances Milestones eNews


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