Senior Living

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Health & Spirit

Social Security and You: Trying to Help Dad Led to Complications

Q: My dad is 90 years old and I help him with medical appointments and managing important business affairs. We went to our local Social Security office to change dad's address. While there, I asked to be added to dad's account so that I can make inquiries on his behalf. The clerk signed me up to be his "representative payee." Then a few weeks ...Read more

Social Security and You: Questions About Delayed Retirement Credits

All of today's questions involve the payment of what are known as "delayed retirement credits." This is an incentive built into the law that augments the monthly Social Security checks of anyone who delays claiming Social Security benefits beyond their normal full retirement age. The maximum extra credit is 32 percent for people who wait until ...Read more

Social Security and You: Riding the Social Security Gravy Train

Before I get to today's question, I must give some background information on the topic at hand -- and that is the so-called maximizing strategy that many people mistakenly call "file and suspend." What they usually mean is the strategy called "file and restrict." And it's not just a matter of semantics. I will explain.

A Social Security law ...Read more

Social Security and You: Sometimes the Government Giveth and Then Taketh Away

Q: I am 66 years old, and I get my own small Social Security retirement benefit. Because it is so small, I get some additional spousal benefits off my husband's record. I am still working. I just got a letter from the Social Security Administration telling me that my retirement benefit is being increased by $20 per month because of my most ...Read more

Social Security and You: This Couple Has a Couple Options

Q: My wife and I both turn 66 later this year. (Our birthdays are just two days apart.) I've worked all my life and expect to get a full retirement benefit of about $2,600 per month. My wife has been a homemaker all her life and has no Social Security account of her own. So she will only be due a spouse's benefit on my record. I am thinking of ...Read more

Social Security and You: Identity Theft and Social Security

Q: My daughter recently had problems with a stolen purse and with someone possibly using her Social Security number. She went to the Social Security office and she was told to contact credit reporting agencies and possibly the police. And they gave her some website to look up. It seems to me they should have done more. Can't they just cancel her...Read more

Social Security and You: Am I a Shill or a Critic for SSA Service?

I figure I must be doing something right when I get back-to-back emails from readers criticizing me for allegedly voicing diametrically opposite viewpoints. First, there was this little gem.

Q: You just think the Social Security Administration is perfect in every way, don't you? I just want you to know that there is a lot of bad information out...Read more

Social Security and You: Taking Care of Mom in a Mom and Pop Business

Q: My husband and I run a small business. We are in our early 50s. Our profits are modest, but usually enough to reach the Social Security taxable maximum. For years now, my husband has reported all the income under his name for Social Security purposes. We do this for two reasons. One: We think we will come out ahead if he has a bigger Social ...Read more

Social Security and You: When in Doubt, Always File a Claim

Q: I want to thank you so much for helping me out. A few months ago, I gave you the particulars of our situation. I won't repeat all the numbers, but my husband's benefit is substantially more than my own. You said that based on the figures I gave you, I might be due extra spousal support. I went to my local Social Security office. The clerk ...Read more

Social Security and You: An Apology -- 25 Years Later

I just got an email that absolutely floored me. Honestly, it even brought a lump to my throat. It has to do with something that happened about 25 years ago, while I was working for the Social Security Administration in San Diego, California. Frankly, it was a rather routine occurrence for me back then, and still is today. Let me explain -- and ...Read more

Social Security and You: The 'Three-Legged Stool' Is a Bit Wobbly

I'm sure most people reading this column have heard the term, "the three-legged stool." That refers to the platform upon which your retirement portfolio is to be built. One of those legs represents your Social Security benefit. The second leg is savings and investments. And the third leg propping you up in retirement is a company pension.

Well,...Read more

Social Security and You: Observant Reader Notices Fluke in COLA Payments

Q: The recent cost-of-living adjustment to our Social Security checks got me wondering about something. As you've always pointed out in your column, the checks come one month behind. So, for example, the check we got in January is actually the payment for December. But the 2018 COLA increase showed up in that January check. So did we get the ...Read more

Social Security and You: Inspector General's Report Causes Confusion for Widows

The inspector general for the Social Security Administration recently released a report that was well-intentioned, but that has sewn confusion among millions of women collecting Social Security widow's benefits. What the report said was that a small percentage of widows were not informed by SSA clerks of a provision that could have resulted in ...Read more

 
 

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