Several times every week, someone makes a comment similar to this one that I found in my inbox today: "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
I occasionally get emails from readers commenting on the fact that children of retirees qualify for Social Security benefits. Sometimes their comments reflect surprise that a retiree's kids can get benefits. And other times they reflect dismay that these kids can get those benefits in the first place.
All I can tell those who are dismayed is ...Read more
A couple weeks ago, a one-time check for $90 from the Social Security Administration showed up in my checking account. I wasn't totally sure what that was all about, but I had a pretty good idea. Today, I got a letter from the SSA telling me all about the check, and it turned out my guess was right. I'll share more about that mystery check in a ...Read more
The CBS news program "60 Minutes" ran a story this past Sunday that was critical of the Social Security Administration and the way the agency handles overpayments -- money sent to Social Security beneficiaries that they were not due. I'm going to address that issue in today's column. But before I do, I've got to put things in perspective.
If ...Read more
There probably is nothing I'm asked more often than some version of this question: "When should I take my Social Security?" So today, I'm going to write yet another column about that topic -- and the related issue of how to file for Social Security benefits.
But first, let me clarify the "when to file" part. As I've said over and over again in ...Read more
I usually like to have a theme to my columns. For example, I might write a column that centers on widow's benefits. Or another column might explain the Social Security disability program. But today, I'm just going to reach into my mailbag (well, actually I'm opening up my email folder) and I'm just going to answer random questions.
Q: I was ...Read more
In mid-October every year, the Bureau of Labor Statistics releases its much-anticipated report on changes (usually increases) to the Consumer Price Index over the past 12 months. Why is this little, esoteric government report -- actually called the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers -- so popular? Because for the ...Read more
There are so gosh darn many myths and rumors circulating out there (mostly online) about Social Security. That's why I wrote a book called "Social Security: 100 Myths and 100 Facts." You can get it at Amazon for less than 10 bucks. Believe me, you'll learn so much if you read that book.
But there are two groups of people who really have nothing...Read more
I just got my annual Medicare guidebook called "Medicare and You 2024" in the mail. I'm assuming this booklet is mailed to everyone in the country who is on Medicare. So, if you are on Medicare, I'm sure you got one too.
Regular readers of this column know that I've pointed out a thousand times that I am a Social Security expert but that I know...Read more
A few weeks ago, I wrote a column about something called the "government pension offset." It is a law that essentially 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
Here is a special message to all Social Security representatives reading this column. You are right when you tell customers that as a general rule, they cannot file for reduced benefits on one record and later switch to full benefits on another record. But if you are talking to a widow or widower, that rule does not apply.
I've heard from four ...Read more
Q: I know you've written columns about how to handle Social Security affairs after someone dies. In fact, I had clipped one of those columns and saved it. But now I can't find it. Sadly, my husband, who is in hospice care, isn't expected to live long. Could you possibly send me a copy of that column? (And just so you know, we are both in our 80s...Read more
Regular readers of this column know that one of the messages I preach is this: "You have every right to file a claim for any kind of Social Security benefit you think you might be eligible for."
Even though I deliver that message often, I sometimes worry that it falls on deaf ears. But two emails I got this week helped me to realize that at ...Read more