Every Social Security rule I can think of is gender-neutral. In other words, the same laws apply to men and women equally. But society hasn't always been gender neutral. We all have heard the statistics: Men tend to make more money than women. And because Social Security benefits are based on lifetime income, men end up getting higher Social ...Read more
Most of us work for wages, and there isn't much we can do to avoid paying Social Security taxes on those earnings. But people who are self-employed can frequently "cook the books" to lessen their tax burden. (By the way, I totally understand that when self-employed people do pay Social Security taxes, they pay twice the rate of the rest of us. ...Read more
I frequently hear from readers who tell me that they contacted the Social Security Administration with the intention of filing for Social Security benefits of one kind or another and then were either told they were not eligible for any benefits or were just otherwise talked out of filing.
Of course, sometimes that is good advice. For example, ...Read more
Because of the high volume of emails I get from the small minority of government employees who don't even pay into Social Security, I guess it's time for me to trot out my old WEP and GPO column. (I'll explain what those abbreviations stand for in a minute.) Who are these folks? They are primarily teachers in some states and police officers and ...Read more
Readers are always asking me to explain various Social Security rules and regulations. But sometimes they want more. They want to see something official -- something in black and white. In other words, they want me to give them a legal reference for whatever rules I am explaining to them.
I sort of know where they are coming from. Frequently, ...Read more
Several weeks ago, I wrote a column explaining benefits that are payable to spouses. And by spouses, I almost always am referring to a wife and the benefits she might be due on her husband's Social Security record.
And whenever I write such a column, my inbox is immediately flooded with emails from women who think they are being cheated out of ...Read more
Maybe it's because COVID-19 restrictions are easing up a bit. And some people probably have a bad case of wanderlust. I'm sure others are just thinking about retiring and returning to their homeland. Or perhaps still others see some of the same websites I do that entice you with headlines similar to this one I recently read: "Live like royalty ...Read more
Before I even start, I'm going to address the gender issue. This column is about benefits available to spouses. However, I don't want to spend the whole column trying to be gender-neutral and using awkward combined pronouns like "he/she" or "him/her," or jumbled phrases like "benefits for husbands and/or wives." Because statistics show that 90% ...Read more
There are some basic facts about when and how Social Security checks are due and delivered that confuse many people. To help you understand, here are three rules about getting Social Security checks that everyone needs to know.
No. 1: Social Security benefits are paid one month behind. In other words, the benefit payment for May will be sent to...Read more
I've been writing a book for years now. It's not going to be a bestseller, and it only has to do with Social Security in a peripheral way. It's a history of my life, my wife's life and our lives together (about 47 years so far). I'm writing this collection of stories for my children and grandchildren and for their children and grandchildren. ...Read more
I was heading into a local grocery store the other day, and I noticed a few people gathered around a car parked in one of the spots reserved for people with disabilities. I heard someone yelling. As I got closer to the car, I saw an old guy ranting and raving at the driver of the car, a woman maybe in her mid-40s. There was a younger man in the ...Read more
I just don't get people's fascination with the idea of getting retroactive retirement benefits from Social Security. I can understand that, on the surface, the idea of getting a big retroactive check from the government might sound like a financial windfall. But when you think it through, or at least when I think it through, it just doesn't make...Read more