Senior Living


Health & Spirit

Social Security and You: When You Are Due Two Social Security Benefits

Just about anyone who has worked and who is married or who has ever been married is potentially due two Social Security benefits: his or her own Social Security benefit and possibly a dependent benefit on a spouse's Social Security record.

I've saved up some questions from people potentially due two benefits, and in today's column, I will use ...Read more

Social Security and You: Widow Should Switch to Her Own Retirement Benefits

Q: I started getting widow's benefits when I was 66 years old. At the time, the Social Security people checked and told me my widow's rate was higher than my own retirement benefit -- by several hundred dollars. I am now about to turn 70. I'm still working but some people have told me I should file for my own Social Security. I'd do this, but I'...Read more

Social Security and You: Full Retirement Age for Widows

About a month ago, I wrote a column in which I explained how "full retirement age" (the age at which a person can claim 100 percent of his or her Social Security retirement benefits) is going up.

To quickly recap, FRA is 66 for people born between 1943 and 1954. But if you were born in 1955, your FRA is 66 and 2 months. If you were born in 1956...Read more

Social Security and You: Strengthen the Government Pension Offset ... Don't Repeal It

I have written many past columns about provisions of Social Security law that impact people who spend the bulk of their careers working at jobs not covered by Social Security. (Since 94 percent of Americans work at jobs where they pay into Social Security, I sometimes think I devote way too much time to this topic that affects only a small ...Read more

Social Security and You: Legal Birthday Twist Impacts Some People

This column is being written on Sept. 2, a significant date to me because it happens to be my wife's birthday. I won't say how old she is, but let's just say she is 71. Gosh, I can't believe I'm married to a woman who is older than some of my socks and underwear!

But I'm not writing this column to poke fun at my wife or her age. I'm writing it ...Read more

Social Security and You: More About Maximizing Strategies

As I've said many times before, there is no single Social Security topic I hear about more often than the current craze to maximize one's Social Security benefits. Easily, 75 percent of the emails I get deal with this one issue alone.

And this week, I received a couple emails that distressed me. They came from folks who have gone to their local...Read more

Social Security and You: Thelma and Louise

Thelma Every single day, I get emails from readers asking me if they are being paid the correct amount in their Social Security benefits. I am often tempted to write back and say: "How in the world would I know? I don't have access to your Social Security records. And there are all sorts of variables that go into determining a Social Security ...Read more

Social Security and You: The Death Benefit

I've received several emails in the past week or so about Social Security's one-time $255 death benefit. As part of my response, I told each correspondent that I had addressed their issues in a recent column. But later, I checked and learned the last time I discussed the issue was 5 years ago. Gosh! Time flies when you're having fun writing ...Read more

Social Security and You: Benefits Outside the US

I've been saving up some questions from readers who either live, or plan to live, outside the United States. Of course, all of their questions have to do with their eligibility for Social Security benefits.

Before I go any further, I am going to point out that the rules regarding getting Social Security benefits overseas can be quite ...Read more

Social Security and You: Full Retirement Age

Q: You continually refer to people getting full benefits at age 66. But you should know that for lots of readers of your column, our full retirement age is greater than age 66. For example, I will have to be 66 and 6 months to get my full benefits. Can you please keep this in mind as you write future columns?

A: I have been dreading getting an ...Read more

Social Security and You: Avoiding Taxes Has Consequences

Nobody likes paying taxes, including Social Security self-employment taxes. And some people will go to great lengths to avoid paying them. But that can have consequences. This week's emails brought several examples.

I had one email exchange with a guy -- let's call him "Jack" -- that started with this. "I am 59 years old and have many health ...Read more

Social Security and You: Benefits for Divorcees pt. 1

My wife is starting to get suspicious. Every day, my inbox is crammed with emails from strange women around the country! I don't mean strange as in unusual, but rather as in unfamiliar to me. A good percentage of these women are asking about potential benefits they are due as a wife or widow on an ex-husband's Social Security record. So today, ...Read more

Social Security and You: Benefits for Divorcees pt. 2

Q: I am 66 years old. I've been married to my husband for only 5 years. He was married before for almost 30 years to a wonderful woman who is actually a friend of mine. Our accountant said I should file for wife's benefits from my husband's Social Security. But I don't want to do anything that will hurt his ex-wife who is already getting ...Read more

Social Security and You: Benefits for Divorcees pt. 3

Q: I am 69 years old, and I am getting my own Social Security benefit of $1,770 per month. My husband and I were married for 22 years, but we have been divorced for almost 20 years. I have essentially lost all touch with my ex. I do know where he lives. But that's about it. I have no idea if he has remarried. I never have. Friends tell me I ...Read more

Social Security and You: Benefits for Divorcees pt. 4

Q: I get a smallish Social Security check. My ex-husband, to whom I was married for 28 years, gets much more than I do. I think I am due some extra benefits on his account. When I ask the Social Security people how much he is getting, they won't tell me. But they do say I'm not due anything on his account. I'm convinced they are misleading me. ...Read more

Social Security and You: Half and Half

Half and Half

Q: I've noticed that when you are talking about reductions in Social Security benefits for early retirement, you always say the reduction will be about one-half percent. Why do you say "about?" Is it one half percent? Or is it something else?

A: It is "something else" all right! I will attempt to explain.

You are right that I ...Read more

Social Connections


Cathy Heathcliff Candorville Intelligent Life Wee Pals Steve Breen