Senior Living


Health & Spirit

Social Security and You: Retroactive Benefits

I've been saving up questions involving the payment of retroactive Social Security retirement benefits. Here they are.

Q: I will be age 70 in October. My plan was to start my retirement benefits at that time. But when I called Social Security in July, they gave me the option of taking six month's worth of retroactive benefits starting in ...Read more

Social Security and You: More Insights Into SSA Operations

About a month ago, I wrote a column that led to some insights into the way the Social Security Administration operates. That led to more questions from more readers, and my answers in today's column provide even more insight.

Q: When I need help filing my taxes, I can find a wide variety of tax preparation services, either via the computer (...Read more

Gullible Naysayers Will Believe Anything

There is a silly, dumb and totally misleading email about Social Security that is floating around online -- being passed around from one uniformed email recipient to the next. Not a day goes by that a copy of it doesn't land in my inbox, usually with a comment similar to the one I got today: "I knew the system was rigged, and this email proves ...Read more

Maximizing Strategy Sometimes Baffles SSA Clerks

I've received more than a few emails recently from folks who are trying to employ the one remaining Social Security maximizing strategy known as "file and restrict." These emails demonstrate to me something I've long suspected: Employees of the Social Security Administration do a bang up job when it comes to doing routine matters, such as filing...Read more

Social Security and You: Social Security and Welfare

Q: In a recent column, you said that disability benefits are not welfare. But you are simply wrong about that. They are. And so are benefits paid to widows and children. Only real Social Security, and by that I mean retirement benefits, should be paid from Social Security funds. All those other so-called Social Security "benefits" are undeserved...Read more

Social Security and You: Questions From Divorcees

Q: I am 62 years old. I had to stop working because of various medical problems I don't need to bore you with. I am thinking of signing up for my Social Security and wanted to ask you how to do that. By the way, I am divorced. We were married for 25 years. My ex died just last year.

A. You actually have quite a few Social Security filing ...Read more

Social Security and You: Some Insights Into SSA Operations

Q: I work for the Social Security Administration in the Dallas area. I enjoy reading your column and I have even learned a few things about the Social Security program. I like the way you explain the reasoning behind various laws to your readers. That is something that is lacking in the training we get from SSA. But I do have one gripe. I wish ...Read more

Social Security and You: Questions About Widow's Benefits

Q: I understand paying benefits to widows. But I don't understand paying benefits to divorcees. A woman who is divorced is not a widow. She is an ex-wife. So why does she have a claim to her ex-husband's Social Security?

A: When Social Security first started, the program did not pay benefits to divorced women. But that led to many unfair ...Read more

Social Security and You: Social Security Disability Is NOT Welfare

Q: I am 60 years old and have had to stop work because of various medical problems. I would like to apply for Social Security disability benefits. But my husband and I have a retirement nest egg worth about $250,000, so I guess we are not eligible. Do I just wait until I am 62 to sign up for retirement benefits?

A: I am constantly amazed by the...Read more

Questions from Teachers and Railroaders

Q: I read your recent column explaining the offset I will suffer because I get a small teacher's pension that will prevent me from getting full benefits on my husband's Social Security record. My husband gets $2,400 per month from Social Security. I only taught for a short while and get $400 from the Texas teacher's retirement system. If I drop ...Read more

Social Security and You: Questions About Disability Benefits

Q: I am 60 years old. I have had some major health issues and I have had to stop working. About 6 months ago, I applied for Social Security disability benefits and I just got my first check. But now I am concerned. A neighbor told me this will mess up my future retirement benefits from Social Security. He said I will get less money. Did I make a...Read more

Social Security and You: Maximizing Strategy Can Lead to Medicare Mess

Q: My wife signed up for Medicare when she was 65. But she didn't apply for Social Security benefits until she was 66 years old this past March. At that time, she filed a restricted claim, taking spousal benefits on my record. She plans to save her own retirement benefits until 70. She's had some medical problems recently and so she has had to ...Read more

Widow's Benefits Clarified

Q: I have been married three times. All three of my husbands are dead. I divorced my first husband when I was 38. He died several years ago. I was married to my second husband for 15 years. He died when I was 62, and I am getting divorced widow's benefits from him. I married my third husband when I was 66, and he died several months ago. I ...Read more


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