There is just so darn much misinformation out there about new Social Security rules. These rules have to do with the eventual elimination of the maximizing strategies known as "file and restrict" and "file and suspend." Every single day, I get emails from readers who are panicking because they think they have to make some crucial Social Security...Read more
I've gotten more than a few emails recently from Social Security beneficiaries who are under age 66 and still working and who are trapped in the web of Social Security's convoluted earnings penalty rules and the way they are administered. Those rules are some of the messiest provisions in government and cause countless headaches to both Social ...Read more
I gave a couple women very nice Christmas presents over the recent holiday season. And I'm not talking about the lingerie I got my wife or the coffee maker I got my daughter. I'm talking about the gift of extra Social Security benefits I got for two of my readers.
I don't want to imply that I have some kind of "in" with my former colleagues at ...Read more
The LAbout a month ago, I wrote a column about possible declining service at the Social Security Administration. I pointed out that I get frequent emails from readers who complain about overflowing waiting rooms, generally unpleasant surroundings, and overall poor service following a visit to the Social Security office. And I get many more ...Read more
Q: Can a widower get benefits in the same way a widow gets benefits? In the community where I live, I know lots of widows and widowers. Most of the widows are getting their husband's Social Security. But I don't know of any widowers who get their wife's Social Security.
A: Social Security rules are gender neutral. So a widower could qualify for...Read more
I write a column similar to this one about this time every year. But I don't mind plagiarizing myself because it contains a very important message for people planning to retire in 2016.
January is a critical month for the hundreds of thousands of potential Social Security beneficiaries who are reaching 66 (their so-called full retirement age) ...Read more
It has been my custom for most of the last 18 years to write a year-end column that summarizes the Social Security changes and updates scheduled to take place the following year. Usually, that means I give the planned Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA) amounts, along with other revisions that are based on increases to the government's inflation ...Read more
I have a friend who, like me, is a retired Social Security Administration employee. But we are different in that I retired more than 10 years ago, whereas he just walked out the office door for the last time earlier this year. We like to commiserate about old times and share war stories about all of our years in the public service trenches. And ...Read more
The SiegeJames Hanna
One hundred inmates hold twelve guards hostage in the laundry dorm of the Indiana Penal Farm. Tom Hemmings, a dorm counselor, has been conscripted to defuse the standoff. But the inmates are divided into rival gangs, the guards into feuding unions. And the prison administration has sparked ...
I get lots of questions from my readers about their potential tax liabilities with respect to their Social Security benefits. I rarely answer such questions because I'm not qualified to do so. I spent my entire career working for the Social Security Administration. SSA's job is to maintain earnings records for workers and then to pay monthly ...Read more
I get lots of questions from working senior citizens who wonder if the Social Security payroll taxes they are paying will increase their Social Security checks. I usually flippantly say that if you are serving as a greeter at Wal-Mart or slinging fries at McDonalds, you won't see an increase. But if you are working at a job earning a decent wage...Read more
Q: I am about to turn 70, and I'm still working. When I was 66, I filed for widow's benefits on my husband's record. At the time, my own retirement benefit was less than my husband's rate. My plan was to let mine build up over time, hoping that by age 70, my rate would be higher than the widow's benefit I'm getting. But I checked with the Social...Read more
This week, instead of concentrating on just one topic, I'm going to dig into my mailbag and answer random questions. I will try to keep my answers short and sweet so I can squeeze in as many questions as my column space will permit.
Q: I took widow's benefits at 60, intending to switch to my own at 70. When I was about to turn 70, I ...Read more