I've just looked back on my columns for the past several weeks and noticed I went off on some esoteric subjects. I write those kinds of columns because I dread going over the same Social Security topics over and over again. But I know from readers' emails that people don't mind repetition. In fact, they often write something similar to this ...Read more
Poor Lyndon Johnson. When it comes to Social Security, he gets blamed for something he never did. Our 36th president is often accused of being the first chief executive to tamper with Social Security financing. Well, he did tamper with it. But not in the way conventional wisdom would have you believe.
And I was reminded of this in the reactions...Read more
There is no question that as the tens of millions of working and tax-paying baby boomers retire and turn into senior boomers collecting Social Security benefits, some adjustments will be needed to keep the program viable for future generations.
As I pointed out in last week's column, the system doesn't need a massive overhaul. Just a few ...Read more
I could probably write a column, or more appropriately, a book, called "The Top-100 Myths About Social Security." There is just so darn much misinformation out there, mostly online, about our nation's bedrock social insurance system.
Those myths can be divided into two broad categories: political and practical. In a recent column, I dealt with ...Read more
Coincidentally, I received two questions on the same day dealing with the same topic. Each had a relative die and each asked, "What do I do about his Social Security?"
The answer to this depends on many factors. So I thought I would use this column to provide a sort of laundry list of advice about dealing with Social Security when a friend or ...Read more
Q: I think there are far too many people getting Social Security benefits. So I have a plan. I believe that in order to save the program, we need to take Social Security back to its original intentions. If we went back to the very first Social Security law, can you tell me who would no longer qualify for Social Security benefits?
A: Well if you...Read more
If you are doing any kind of research into Social Security issues, the Social Security Administration's office of Research, Statistics, and Policy Analysis produces a plethora of publications covering almost every conceivable Social Security-related topic. Admittedly, some of them are only for serious scholars or historians. Here are a couple of...Read more
I recently got an email from a reader that made me think about my mom. She died about 15 years ago. And sadly, she went to her grave with a huge Social Security chip on her shoulder. Despite my constant reassurances to the contrary, she was convinced that the government was short-changing her -- cheating her out of Social Security benefits she ...Read more
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
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
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
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
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