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ArcaMax

Social Security and You: Two Widows Present Unusual Cases

I am constantly amazed! I have either worked for the Social Security Administration, or been writing a column about Social Security issues, for about 44 years. And you would think that in all of that time, I have bumped up against almost every possible Social Security scenario one could imagine.

Yet, just recently, I received two emails from ...Read more

Social Security and You: Celebrating Black History Month

Throughout the month of February, we honor African Americans by celebrating Black History Month. Created in 1926, this event coincides with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln on February 12 and Frederick Douglass on February 14. African American communities have celebrated these birthdays together for over a century.

Honoring our shared history ...Read more

More Questions About the Earnings Penalty

In a recent column, I explained to readers who are under 66 and working how they could work with Social Security's complicated earnings penalty rules to avoid the oftentimes nightmarish bureaucratic hassles involved in dealing with the Social Security Administration on these antiquated laws. (Rather than rehash the whole story, I suggest that ...Read more

Social Security and You: Don't Worry. Be Happy! It's Nickels and Dimes.

I am always surprised at the number of people who are so darn intent on squeezing every last nickel they can out of their Social Security benefits. I get that people want to get all the benefits for which they are eligible. But some folks seem absolutely obsessed about the issue. I swear they must lie awake at night, worrying about decisions ...Read more

Social Security and You: My Advice is Don't Play by the Rules

Well, let's see if I get in trouble again! Today's question comes from a retiree who plans to return to work and is worried about how his earnings might jeopardize his eligibility for his Social Security benefits.

It's a question I'm often asked. And my usual answer doesn't exactly follow the Social Security Administration playbook. In the past...Read more

Social Security and You: Robbing the Cradle Has Its Drawbacks

Q: I am 76. I have a much younger wife. She is 51. She has never worked outside the home. What will she get when I die? How about Medicare?

A: I am sure there are some advantages to having a much younger spouse. But from a Social Security perspective, "robbing the cradle" has its drawbacks.

Your wife won't be due any benefits on your record ...Read more

Social Security: Retirement planning

It's 2017, and that means you might be one more year closer to retirement. Whether you're at your very first job or wrapping up a successful career, there are always new things to learn about when it comes to saving for the future. So why not make retirement planning part of your New Year's resolution!

Putting money in a high yield savings ...Read more

Social Security and You: Questions About SSI Benefits

Q: You've written in past columns that the SSI program is not a Social Security benefit. But my sister is getting SSI. And when she gets letters about her payments, they come from the Social Security office. So how can you say SSI has nothing to do with Social Security?

A: To answer your question, let me give you a little history lesson. Back ...Read more

Social Security and You: The Post-Truth Era and Social Security

They say we are living in the "post-truth" era -- a time when discussion and debate is framed by appeals to emotion rather than verifiable facts. This, of course, is nothing new. Throughout history, more than a few politicians have ridden a populist wave of half-truths and outright deception to places of power, sometimes all the way to the White...Read more

Social Security and You: Turning 66 in 2017? Consider Filing for Benefits this Month

I write a column similar to this one every January. But I don't mind plagiarizing myself because it contains a very important message for people planning to retire in 2017.

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, in 2017. The ...Read more

Social Security and You: Update for 2017

It has been my custom for most of the past 18 years to write a year-end column that summarizes the Social Security changes and updates scheduled to take place the following year.

Almost all Social Security beneficiaries are familiar with the most popular and publicized upcoming change: the increase in monthly benefit checks for 2017 due to the ...Read more

Social Security and You: A One-Sided Social Security Reform Proposal

Quite a few readers have asked me to comment on a bill sponsored by Representative Sam Johnson, R.-Texas, that he calls The Social Security Reform Act of 2016. I would call it the One-Sided Social Security Reform Act of 2016. And that's because, like just about every Social Security reform proposal I have seen sponsored by a Republican, it is ...Read more

Social Security's gift to children is security

This is the season of caring. No matter your religion or belief, December is also considered a time to focus on the children we love. Whether we're wrapping Santa's gifts, buying Hanukkah treats, decorating the house in celebration of Kwanzaa, or volunteering for a toy drive, children add joy to the holiday season. And we at Social Security ...Read more

Getting Benefits Overseas

Trumping Your Social Security -- Getting Social Security Benefits Overseas

Ever since the presidential election, I've probably received 50 emails from readers asking me what would happen to their Social Security benefits if they left the country. A couple people even wondered what would happen if they move overseas and renounce their U.S. ...Read more

Social Security and You: Mailbag Miscellany

I'm drawing a blank. And I'm blaming it on my bad cold. My head is all stuffed up and I can't think of anything to write about for today's column. So I decided to open my inbox and turn the first four or five questions into a column. Here goes.

Q: I appreciate the recent column you wrote about the confusion people have between Social Security ...Read more

Social Security and You: When Seniors Become Disabled

Q: I was going to file for my Social Security retirement in a few years. But I'm wondering if I should file for disability instead. I have all sorts of medical problems too numerous to mention in this email. What should I do?

A: You didn't give your age and you didn't tell me if you are still working. Knowing that information is key to ...Read more