Senior Living

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Health & Spirit

People With Pensions: Social Security Offsets

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

Social Security and You: Widow Should Have Switched

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

Social Security and You: The Power of Delete

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

Sometimes Life, Not Social Security, Is Confusing

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

Social Security and You: Disability is 'Real' Social Security

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

Social Security and You: You Always Have a Right to File a Claim

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

Social Security and You: Daughter Due Benefits Gives Retiree Options

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

Social Security and You: Women Who Worry They Are Missing Out

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

Social Security and You: How to Apply for Benefits

I have written lots of columns that help you decide when to start your Social Security benefits. But once you make that decision, how do you go about signing up for them? That's the focus of today's column.

First, you've got to gather the documents you may need. What official papers or other evidence the Social Security Administration might ...Read more

Social Security and You: Sometimes Trying to Maximize Will Minimize

I thought I was done, at least for a while, writing columns about Social Security maximizing strategies. But as I've pointed out in past columns, probably 80 percent of the emails I get from my readers have to do with this topic de jour of the baby boomer crowd. So, obviously, there is still a lot of interest, and even more so, a lot of ...Read more

Social Security and You: Benefit Checks Are Accurate

Q: I am 82 years old. My husband is 85. Based on a recent column you wrote about wives getting benefits from their husband's account, I think I am due more money from Social Security. How do I go about getting what is rightfully mine?

A: I probably get a couple dozen emails like this every week. And even more after I write a column about Social...Read more

Social Security and You: Clarifying Widow's Benefits

Q: In past columns, you have said that if a woman is 66 or older when her husband dies, her widow's benefit will equal what the husband was getting at the time of death. But when my husband died several months ago, I started getting slightly more than he was getting. How do you explain that?

A: Sometimes I tend to oversimplify Social Security ...Read more

Social Security and You: No Reason to Not Apply for Medicaid

Q: I am about to turn 65. I'm still working and plan to keep working until at least age 70, if not beyond. I don't want my Social Security until then and I don't need Medicare because I am fully covered by my employer's health insurance. But someone told me that I am required to file for Medicare when I reach age 65. What's that all about?

A: ...Read more

Social Security and You: Full Retirement Age Going Up

Q: You keep saying the full retirement age is 66. But as you know, many of us have to wait longer to get full Social Security benefits. For example, I was born in 1955 and I have to be 66 and 2 months. What I want to know is this: If I want to take my Social Security early, do I have to wait until age 62 and 2 months?

A: You can start your ...Read more

Social Security and You: Full Retirement Age Going Up

Q: You keep saying the full retirement age is 66. But as you know, many of us have to wait longer to get full Social Security benefits. For example, I was born in 1955 and I have to be 66 and 2 months. What I want to know is this: If I want to take my Social Security early, do I have to wait until age 62 and 2 months?

A: You can start your ...Read more

Social Security and You: Full Retirement Age Going Up

Q: You keep saying the full retirement age is 66. But as you know, many of us have to wait longer to get full Social Security benefits. For example, I was born in 1955 and I have to be 66 and 2 months. What I want to know is this: If I want to take my Social Security early, do I have to wait until age 62 and 2 months?

A: You can start your ...Read more

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