Senior Living


Health & Spirit

Social Security and You: Top-Five Social Security Political Myths

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

Social Security and You: What to Do When Someone Dies

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

Social Security and You: The Original Law Was Not So Great

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

Social Security and You: Facts and Figures

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

Social Security and You: The So-Called 'Notch' Still Upsets the Very Old

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

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


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