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Social Security Q&A: What is the maximum benefit I can receive?

Q: I'm planning my retirement. What is the maximum Social Security benefit I might receive?

A: The maximum benefit depends on the age you retire and how much you earned in your lifetime. For example, if you retire at age 62 in 2015, your maximum benefit will be $2,025. If you retire at full retirement age in 2015, your maximum benefit will be $...Read more

Social Security and You: Widow Should Have Switched

I am going to share an email exchange I had with a reader that went on for the past couple of months. This woman's Social Security saga could be a lesson for other readers. It started a few months ago with this email.

Reader's first email: "I started taking Social Security when I was 62. I am now 79 years old. I don't get much money. My monthly...Read more

Social Security Q&A: How many credits do I need for benefits?

Q: I've only been working for a few years, and I'm wondering how I earn Social Security benefits. What are credits and how many do I need to qualify for benefits?

A: We use your total yearly earnings to calculate your Social Security credits. "Credits" are the units we use to measure whether you qualify for Social Security benefits. The amount ...Read more

Social Security and You: The Power of Delete

I've found the "delete" button on my keyboard, and I'm using it all the time now. And what a relief it is! Allow me to explain.

I worked for the Social Security Administration for 32 years, and I've been writing this column for 17 years. And over all those decades, I have encountered thousands of Social Security naysayers, liars and ...Read more

Can a robot handle your retirement?

Fledgling online investment advisory services, nicknamed robo-advisers in financial circles, are moving squarely into retirement planning.

Betterment, one of the largest such firms with about 80,000 users, is unveiling a new feature called RetireGuide that lets customers enter information about their spouses and non-Betterment accounts to get a...Read more

Researchers finally see hope for Alzheimer's treatment, prevention

PITTSBURGH -- Alzheimer's disease is one of the conditions that Americans are most afraid they will get, second only to cancer. Yet at least a generation of focused research has gone by without an effective treatment or sure advice on how to prevent it.

University of Pittsburgh Alzheimer's researchers are among those leading studies and while ...Read more

States try more tax breaks for seniors

About a half dozen states are considering giving new tax breaks to seniors over 65, although they already enjoy favorable treatment by the federal government and by most states on their income and property taxes.

For some of the states looking to cut taxes, it's an effort to stop older folks from decamping to more tax-friendly places when they ...Read more

Social Security Q&A: How do I get proof of receiving Medicare benefits?

Q: I need proof that I receive Medicare benefits. Where can I get a letter proving that?

A: If you need proof that you get Social Security benefits, Supplemental Security Income or Medicare, get an instant benefit verification letter online by using your personal my Social Security account. If you don't receive benefits, your letter will serve ...Read more

Sometimes Life, Not Social Security, Is Confusing

Almost every day, I get emails from readers that include a statement along these lines: "Social Security sure is confusing." Or, "Why did the government have to make Social Security laws so complex?"

To be sure, there are more than a few rules and regulations within the Social Security program that can bewilder folks from time to time. If there...Read more

Social Security Q&A: How to report address change for SSI benefits

Q: My father receives Supplemental Security Income. He recently moved, but he hasn't reported his new address to Social Security yet. What's the easiest way to do that?

A: You can check your address online by using your personal my Social Security account at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount. It is very important that Social Security has your ...Read more

At 73, David Crosby isn't slowing down

David Crosby -- who puts the cantankerous in Crosby, Stills & Nash -- was in a particularly good mood the other day.

"I'm in a very good space," said the outspoken, voluble Crosby. He's lost 40 pounds. The visits to the gym for weightlifting have stopped, but he swims and walks and -- get this -- stopped smoking pot. At least for now.

"I'm not...Read more

Social Security and You: Disability is 'Real' Social Security

Q: I am 62 years old and getting a very small reduced retirement benefit. My husband is 63 years old and getting a much higher Social Security disability benefit. His health has taken a turn for the worse, and he may not live much longer. I live in fear that he will die before he reaches age 66 and starts getting real Social Security. I ...Read more

Social Security Q&A: Can I return to work and keep disability benefits?

Q: I have been collecting disability benefits for a few years, but I'm getting healthy enough to work again. Can I return to work while getting Social Security disability benefits?

A: Yes, you can return to work while receiving Social Security disability benefits. We have special rules to help you get back to work without lowering your initial ...Read more

Often, elderly abused by relatives

In nearly 25 years of protecting the public, Union County sheriff's detective Mike Justice has never been as disturbed as he was when he saw the malnourished body of Evelyn Cox.

Cox, 73, of Richwood, weighed just 63 pounds -- the size of an average 9-year-old girl -- when she died in June 2003.

But there was nothing childlike about her hollow ...Read more

Volunteering brings happiness -- to the volunteers

Previous Senior Circles columns about volunteering have been from the standpoint of nonprofit organizations looking for volunteers. This time, the column is primarily from the vantage point of the volunteer.

I hope this column prompts you to volunteer in 2015, if you haven't already. Based on those I interviewed for this column, volunteering ...Read more

Social Security and You: You Always Have a Right to File a Claim

I've written columns similar to this before, but I must keep repeating the following message: whenever you are not sure if you are eligible for any kind of Social Security benefit, it never hurts to actually file a claim for that benefit. You have every right in the world to do so.

Today's column was prompted by several recent email exchanges I...Read more

Social Security Q&A: Will seasonal earnings boost retirement benefit?

Q: Although I stopped working a few years ago, I had additional seasonal earnings after my retirement. Will my monthly Social Security retirement benefit increase?

A: Possibly. And you can get Social Security retirement or survivors benefits and work at the same time. Each year we review the records for all working Social Security recipients to...Read more

Editorial: Building on experience: Strategies to keep older workers in the workforce

It is no secret that Maine's workforce is too small, and aging. That is all the more reason for the state and its employers to value older workers. They are here, have valuable skills and are ready to contribute.

BDN Maine Focus Editor Erin Rhoda recently wrote about businesses that were utilizing older workers to improve their workforce. One ...Read more

Social Security and You: Daughter Due Benefits Gives Retiree Options

Q: I am about to turn 62. I am trying to decide if I want to retire and take my Social Security now; or wait until age 66 to get higher benefits. I know everyone has to make a similar decision. But I have a bit of a twist. I have a 14-year-old daughter, and I know she is due benefits on my account until she is 18. I am wondering: Can I file for ...Read more

Social Security Q&A: Can I get a new number after ID theft?

Q: Someone stole my Social Security number, and it's being used repeatedly. Does Social Security issue new Social Security numbers to victims of repeated identity theft?

A: Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes in America, so you aren't alone. If you've done all you can to identify and fix the problem, including contacting the ...Read more