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Social Security Q&A: How to check status of retirement benefits application

Q: How can I check the status of a pending application for retirement benefits?

A: If you applied for retirement or disability benefits online, you can check the status of your application at www.socialsecurity.gov by selecting "Benefits" and "Check Application Status" under "Apply." You will need to enter your Social Security number and the ...Read more

Social Security and You: Q&A Hodgepodge

This is going to be another "hodgepodge" column. Instead of providing detailed answers to just one or two questions, I'm going to give just brief answers to as many questions as I can squeeze into the space allotted to me.

Q: I am going to be 62 in September and plan to take my Social Security then. When should I file for benefits?

A: The ...Read more

Social Security Q&A: What can I do at the SS website?

Q: What can I do at www.socialsecurity.gov?

A: There are many things you can do on Social Security's website. You can conduct most of your Social Security business with us online at www.socialsecurity.gov/onlineservices . You can get an estimate of future benefits, find out if you qualify for benefits now and even apply for benefits. You can ...Read more

Social Security and You: Trying Too Hard

I've written columns before about people who, in my opinion anyway, are trying way too hard to squeeze every last nickel out of their Social Security benefits. They've gone to one too many of these "Maximize Your Social Security" seminars that are all the rage today. And they've gotten their heads full of phrases like "file and suspend" and "...Read more

Social Security Q&A: What are the different parts of Medicare?

Q: I will rely on Medicare when I retire. Can you explain the different parts of Medicare?

A: The different parts of Medicare cover your specific needs. There are four parts, all of which work in tandem to deliver healthcare services.

Part A (hospital insurance): Hospital insurance helps pay for inpatient care in a hospital or skilled nursing ...Read more

Social Security and You: Just Call Me 'Mud'

My name is getting to be "Mud" with employees at some local Social Security offices around the country. It's not because they have taken offense at something I wrote. (Although that does happen from time to time.) But in some recent cases, it's because readers have misunderstood something I wrote and then confronted someone at their local Social...Read more

Social Security Q&A: Will other support disqualify me for SSI?

Q: This summer, I'll turn 65 and, because of my financial situation, I thought I'd be eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI). But my neighbor told me I'd probably be turned down because I have a friend who said he might help support me. Is this true?

A: If your friend helps support you, it could have an effect on whether you get SSI ...Read more

Social Security and You: Marriage May or May Not Cut Benefits

I have written several columns lately describing how a bit of miscommunication on behalf of my readers can lead to misinformation from me. This week's mailbag brought another example of this. It involves Sam and his wife-to-be.

Sam sent an email asking me this question: "My friend and I each get SSI. If we get married, will our SSI benefits be ...Read more

Senior Center seeks financial help

ASHTABULA -- The burden of maintaining two buildings last year has put the Senior Center in a precarious financial situation, according to the Ashtabula County Council on Aging.

With an annual operating budget of $240,000, the Senior Center operates five days per week, serving dozens of area seniors with hot meals, help paying for ...Read more

Elder abuse a 'huge, expensive and lethal' problem for states

WASHINGTON - We know that victims of elder abuse tend to be socially isolated, physically weakened and struggling to maintain their independence. They are reliant on family, friends or caregivers who violate their trust.

What we don't know, because elder abuse is underreported, is how big the problem really is.

There are no official ...Read more

Detroit Free Press Susan Tompor column

Chicago street gangs, rap videos and guys who are skilled at "making paper" are all on the front edge of a scam that's already cost banks millions of dollars.

It's called "cracking cards."

What's weird about this scam is that con artists don't target and trick the elderly. Instead, millennials naively hand over PIN numbers for their ATM ...Read more

Ways to value-travel this summer

It's already baking hot and beads of perspiration are more due to weather than stress, but this is a good sign because it means summer holidays are coming. Children's examinations are over, and increment time is just round the corner--both good excuses to pack bags and fly away.

This year, Mint Money's holiday special's theme is ...Read more

Advocates seek more funds to fight elder abuse

Ramona Wilson tidied her house, parked both of her cars in her garage, shut all the doors and turned on the engines.

But before she could climb behind the wheel and asphyxiate herself, she was interrupted by a tap, tap, tap on her front door.

Two strangers stood on her porch. Wilson was angry at being interrupted and wanted to chase them away....Read more

Javier Moreno: Wrestling a dream

It's been said that "life is like a deck of cards and we each have to play the hand we're dealt." While somewhat funny and somewhat cynical, this statement is 100 percent true. As a kid, if I had a chance to start all over or to be the card dealer of life, I probably would have cheated or fought hard to deal myself a better hand.

Javier ...Read more

Medical alert scam shut down

Most people who got those annoying robocalls offering them free medical alerts knew the devices weren't really free. We now know how much they cost..

Authorities announced a settlement earlier this month with nine companies and four individuals they allege were behind the deceptive calls. The settlement imposed a judgment of about $23 ...Read more

The Morning Call (Allentown, Pa.) Paul Muschick column

Most people who got those annoying robocalls offering them free medical alerts knew the devices weren't really free. We now know how much they cost.

Authorities announced a settlement last week with nine companies and four individuals they allege were behind the deceptive calls. The settlement imposed a judgment of about $23 million, the ...Read more

Officer's killing is backdrop to Mendota Heights election

The killing this summer of a Mendota Heights police officer is proving to be a notable backdrop to the campaigns for mayor and council.

In a public forum this month, much of the discussion revolved around crime.

When it didn't, a key target for many was economic development: attracting more of the businesses so critical to a city's tax ...Read more

Should people eligible for food stamps take them? Poll

We published a story the other day about a survey that showed Oregon's economy would get an estimated $500 million if citizens eligible for food stamps but not presently taking them suddenly accepted the federal money.

One of the key points of the story was that a Portland-based nonprofit was reaching out to senior citizens, many of whom are ...Read more

Los Angeles Times Sandy Banks column

It began with a geriatric black-Lab mix who'd been picked up as a stray and locked in a cage at the South Los Angeles animal shelter. Hillary Rosen was trolling the shelter for dogs to save last summer when she spotted the woebegone mutt.

"She was horrible-looking and she barked at me from her kennel," Rosen recalled. "But there was ...Read more

Food stamp use keeps rising among Erie County's older population

Like thousands of other older people in Erie County, Davis Feaster signed up for the federal food stamp benefit since the recession triggered by the 2008 financial crisis. Most have not been as desperate as Feaster.

"Right now, I don't have food," the 78-year-old Feaster said one day last week outside an East Side supermarket. "I'm cashing ...Read more