My wife and I recently decided to leave the dark ages and join the rest of the always-connected and always-online world. We got smartphones! Oh, we've been using computers ever since they became popular and we've had a series of iPads almost since the time they first came out. So we are not complete Neanderthals when it comes to the world of ...Read more
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
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
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
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
OK, teachers, firefighters, police officers and other government workers who will get a pension from a job not covered by Social Security, this column is for you. It explains the rules that may require a reduction to any Social Security benefits you might have earned while working at jobs where you did pay into Social Security. And it also ...Read more
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
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
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
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
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
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
Every single day, I get emails from women wondering if they are missing out on some kind of Social Security benefits. These are almost always women in their late 60s or even in their 70s and 80s. They are either getting their own Social Security retirement benefits and wonder if they should be getting more money from their husband's Social ...Read more