Senior Living


Health & Spirit



Social Security and You: Explaining Medicare Card Codes

Q: My wife and I are both on Social Security and Medicare. Her Medicare card has my Social Security number with a "B" after it. When I die, I know she will get widow's benefits. But will she continue to get Medicare on my record?

A: Yes, she will continue to get Medicare on your record. The only thing that will change is that she will get a new...Read more

Social Security and You: More Widows ... More Questions

Perhaps I've opened the floodgates? I've written a several columns over the past month or two discussing Social Security widow's benefits. But it seems the more explaining I do, the more questions I get! So, once again, more questions from more widows.

Q: Here is something I cannot figure out. Why am I getting so much more in widow's benefits ...Read more

Four tips for safer picnics

A picnic can be big fun. However, improper handling of the food can mean big trouble, in the form of foodborne germs.

Before you fill your cooler, check out four tips for safer picnics.

Picnic tip No. 1: When you open the cooler, keep an eye on the clock.

"The general rule is to have food out only two hours," says dietitian Kate Zeratsky. "...Read more

Social Security and You: Stop Worrying About Social Security

I've written about this topic before. But I just have to do it again. If my emails are any indication, it seems as if 90 percent of senior citizens in this country are worried sick that they are losing out on Social Security benefits, or making decisions that result in dramatically reduced monthly checks from the government. And in almost all ...Read more

Social Security and You: Elderly Seniors Want More From Social Security

I guess it's just a sign of the times we are living in. But I am amazed by the number of emails that I get from elderly seniors, folks in their 70s, 80s and even 90s, who are hoping to get higher Social Security benefits. Today's column highlights some examples.

Q: I am 82 years old. My wife is 78. I get $1,478 from Social Security. My wife ...Read more

Social Security and You: Laws Are NOT Changing Constantly

Several times every week, someone makes a comment similar to this one, which I found in today's email inbox: "It's so hard to stay current with Social Security because the rules are changing constantly!"

I guess I can understand why someone who is not familiar with Social Security but suddenly takes an interest because he or she is approaching ...Read more

Social Security and You: Neighbors Helping Neighbors with Social Security Issues

Q: I have a young 30-something neighbor who stopped working a few years ago to raise a family. She told me that she got a letter from the government telling her that if she doesn't return to work soon, she will lose all the Social Security credits she earned while she was working. Because I am getting Social Security, she thinks I am an expert ...Read more

Social Security: On vacation? Social Security is still here for you.

Summer is here and millions of vacationers are packing their bags to visit a new locale and soak up some sunshine. You might be traveling quite a ways. You're used to staying connected to important information like your bank accounts and social networks, especially on the go. Social Security is there in the same way -- easily accessible when you...Read more

Social Security and You: Rules About Retroactive Benefits

Before I get to today's questions, all of which deal with claiming retroactive benefits, I must make this general point about the issue: The law says you can claim up to six months' worth of retroactive benefits, as long as it doesn't involve the payment of any reduced Social Security benefits. Or to put that another way, no retroactive ...Read more

Social Security and You: Widows with Social Security Issues

Recently, I wrote a column about how Social Security impacts widows and widowers. But the questions keep flowing into my inbox. So today, more answers to more questions from widows.

Q: My husband died two months ago. He had been getting Social Security disability benefits for years. I am 64 years old and I have been getting my own Social ...Read more

Social Security and You: Explaining the Windfall Elimination Provision

A few weeks ago, I wrote a column about something called the "government pension offset." It is a law that essentials says this: If you get a pension from a job that was not covered by Social Security, that pension will be treated just like a Social Security retirement pension, and it will be used to offset any benefits you might be due on a ...Read more

Social Security and You: Options for Widows and Widowers to Consider

Q: My husband died in 2009. I continued working until I was 62 in 2013. I then started drawing widow's benefits. In February of this year, when I turned 66, I went to the Social Security office to apply for my own benefits. I thought I could get both retirement and widow's benefits. But they told me no. They said I could only receive my own ...Read more

Social Security and You: Government Pension Offset Law Not About to Change

Over the past 17 years that I have been doing this column, I have written about 50 columns dealing with the Social Security offsets that impact some state and local government employees who work at jobs not covered by Social Security. In many ways, I don't like discussing this topic because it impacts just a small percentage of my readers.

To ...Read more

No Bonus for Vets

I'm guessing there's something floating around on the internet giving veterans false hope that they are due some kind of extra Social Security benefits for serving in the military. Vets around the country are marching into their local Social Security office with their DD-214 (military discharge papers) demanding that this hyped up bonus be added...Read more

Social Security and You: Tale of Two Women

In today's column, I present emails from two different women. They have two things in common. They are both around age 66. And they are both widows. But there is one key variable. One woman was a stay-at-home mom most of her life. The other worked outside the home. And that makes for a big difference in their Social Security stories.

Q: I am ...Read more

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