Senior Living

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Health & Spirit

Social Security and You: Earnings Penalty and Spouses

Q: I filed for my Social Security benefits last year when I was 62. My wife, who never worked outside the home, and who is the same age as me, signed up for spousal benefits on my account at the same time. Several months ago, I found a job that pays me more than Social Security allows. I reported this to the Social Security people. They are now ...Read more

Social Security and You: My Last File and Suspend Column -- I Hope!

Before I begin today's column, I must clarify something. In several past columns, I discussed the looming April 30 deadline for filing a Social Security retirement claim and then immediately suspending benefits, usually to allow a husband or wife to claim spousal benefits while your own retirement checks remain in suspense until age 70 so that ...Read more

Social Security and You: Good Old-Fashioned Social Security Was Not Complicated

Q: My wife and I don't know if we should "file and suspend" or "file and restrict" and if we should do it now or if we should wait. Please help! I can't believe how incredibly complicated Social Security is. It's worse than the tax code!

A: I made a little promise to myself that I would NOT write another column about all the confusion over the ...Read more

Social Security and You: Still More Confusion About the April 30 Deadline

I think I could write a column every day from now until the end of this month with a headline that screams: DON'T PANIC ABOUT THE ALLEGED APRIL 30 SOCIAL SECURITY DEADLINE! -- and people would still be panicking.

At least, that's what my emails are telling me. It seems as though half of the senior citizens in this country think they have to do ...Read more

Social Security and You: 'Deadline' Worries Many but Applies to Few

In last week's column, I mentioned that older people across the country are panicking because they think they have to take some action, or make some important decisions, with respect to their Social Security benefits by April 30. This panic is being fueled by misleading advertisements and mailers targeting senior citizens. I got one in the mail ...Read more

Five Common Social Security Myths

I probably could write a column called "The Top 100 Social Security Myths." But that would fill up half of the website you are looking at or the newspaper you are reading, and the editors won't let me do that. So I'll limit myself to five.

Four of the five make every list like this I have ever written. But the current number one Social Security...Read more

Social Security and You: Privacy Laws and Social Security

Q: I was married to my husband for over 30 years. He was an old-fashioned man who said, "a woman's place is in the home," so he never let me get a job. Therefore, I have no Social Security of my own. He was a doctor and made a very nice living. I'm sure he will be due a comfortable Social Security retirement benefit. About two years ago, he ...Read more

Disabled Son Means More Money for Retiree

Q: I am about to turn 62. I am thinking of retiring and taking my Social Security. However, everyone I know tells me I'd be foolish to do that. They all tell me to wait until at least age 66 when I can get full benefits. And others suggest I wait even longer -- until age 70. What do you think? And FYI: my wife and I have a 22-year-old son who ...Read more

Social Security and You: More Disability Controversy

Two weeks ago, I wrote a column discussing the Social Security disability program. I wrote about how the program is constantly criticized and subject to annual tinkering by Congress and other oversight agencies, primarily because of the program's subjective nature. Meaning, people have different opinions on what constitutes a disability for ...Read more

Social Security and You: Taking Benefits at 66 Means More Money pt. 4

Q: I am 68 years old and get $1,600 in my own Social Security. My husband is 71 and gets $2,100. We have been married for 40 years. I am not going to get into the specifics, but he recently betrayed me. I am so disgusted, I can't live with him anymore. But someone told me if I divorce him, I won't be able to get widow's benefits on his record. ...Read more

Social Security and You: Taking Benefits at 66 Means More Money pt. 3

Q: I am 66 years old. I'm not working, but have decided to delay taking my Social Security until I am 70. I did not sign up for Medicare at 65. I plan to wait until I am 70 to do that, too. I just don't think I'll need it until then. But someone told me that I will pay a penalty because I did not take Medicare at 65. Isn't that just another ...Read more

Social Security and You: Taking Benefits at 66 Means More Money pt. 2

Q: I will be 65 in April. I plan to sign up for Medicare then. I also want to sign up for my husband's Social Security at that time to help pay for my Medicare premium. Then at 66, I want to file for my own Social Security. How do I do all that?

A: I'm sorry, but at your current age, you can NOT file for wife's benefits on your husband's record...Read more

Social Security and You: Taking Benefits at 66 Means More Money pt. 1

Q: My husband and I both will turn 66 in July. I have never worked outside the home, so I have no Social Security account. My husband, who always has been a high wage earner, wants to wait until he is 70 to take his Social Security benefits to get the maximum rate. Can I get spousal benefits on his record beginning in July while he waits until ...Read more

Social Security and You: Disability Program Under Constant Review

I recently saw about two dozen pending proposals from legislation supposedly intended to improve the administration of the Social Security disability program. All I could say to myself was: "Here we go again." I will explain my ho-hum attitude.

I worked for the Social Security Administration for 32 years. And in each and every one of those ...Read more

Extra Earnings Don't Always Translate to Extra Benefits

Q: I know my Social Security benefits will be based on my last five years of earnings before I retire. But here is the problem. I am 60 years old and have just been laid off by my employer. I have few if any prospects of getting another job. I plan to sign up for my Social Security when I am 62. But two of my last five years will have no ...Read more

Social Security and You: Punished and Shortchanged for Years, What's the Answer?

Q: I am 82 years old, and I have had a problem for decades with the Social Security Administration. And as a result, they have been shortchanging me for years. Here is the story. I contacted them in 1992 for a printout of my work history and found a "zero" for my 1960 earnings. I actually made about $1,200 that year.

They told me that if I ...Read more

The So-Called 'New' Rules Are Actually the Old Rules

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

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