I usually like to have a theme to my columns. In other words, I will generally just cover one topic and present one or more questions from readers that are related to that subject. But every once in a while, I just like to open my email inbox and pick random questions to answer. Today's column is one of those.
Q: I am 79 years old. I haven't ...Read more
Every single day, I get emails from people who will say something like this: "My wife and I are getting SSI." Or this: "We have some questions about our SSI checks." Or this: "If I die, will my wife get any of my SSI?"
I know from experience these folks think that SSI stands for Social Security Income. Or maybe Social Security Insurance. But it...Read more
A few months ago, I briefly discussed the possibility of retroactive Social Security retirement benefits. But if my email inbox is any indication, I guess I raised more questions than I answered. So today I will tackle the topic in more detail. Although the general rules are fairly simple, it can get a little complicated when you get down to the...Read more
I pointed out in last week's column that there are hundreds of myths and rumors being spread -- mostly on the internet -- about Social Security. Half of them deal with the politics and financing of Social Security. I covered some of those in recent columns. But there are also a multitude of myths about Social Security programs and how they work....Read more
I could write a book called "The Top 100 Social Security Myths." And that book would be divided into two main sections: 50 political myths and 50 program myths.
The political myths deal mostly with the history and financing of Social Security. Many people, usually with an ax to grind or a chip on their shoulder, publish very biased screeds on ...Read more
I wrote about this phenomenon about a year ago. And it never ceases to amaze me. I'm referring to the emails I get from readers who are asking Social Security-related questions on behalf of their children. And when I say "children," I don't mean little tykes who are still wet behind the ears. I'm talking about children who wear hearing aids and ...Read more
I've written many columns in the past with messages targeted to divorced women. And I thought I had everything covered. But I got a fascinating email recently from a reader who surveyed women in her area and had some interesting insights as to why those who are divorced were not familiar with the Social Security benefits they might be due from ...Read more
Maybe it's the sign of the times, but I've been getting a lot of emails recently from senior citizens asking if they can get Social Security disability benefits. The answer depends on a variety of factors. It can get a little complicated.
But I can begin with some relatively easy answers. If you are over your full retirement age (66 for most ...Read more
I recently came across a Facebook page dedicated to Social Security Administration retirees. I decided not to join it because one of its tenets was this: "Never criticize the work being done by current SSA employees." I really don't like writing columns that are critical of my former colleagues who work in local SSA field offices or telephone ...Read more
Over the more than 20 years that I've been writing this column, I'm sure I've helped tens of thousands of people get a better understanding of the Social Security system. But one thing I can't do is get involved in a reader's personal Social Security case. Yet, every single day, I get emails from readers asking me to do just that.
One very ...Read more
Social Security Clickbait
I'm sure you've seen these teaser links on the internet that sometimes can be too irresistible to ignore. They have catchy titles like "20 celebrities who have a secret past" or "10 common foods that will kill you." This is called "clickbait." Essentially, it's a form of false advertisement designed to entice people to...Read more
Before I get to today's questions, I must point out a phone scam that is currently going on that involves Social Security. Quite a few readers have reported this scam to me. And then just this week, I was a victim, too. Here is the message that all the readers and I heard on our phones:
"This call is from the Department of Social Security. The ...Read more