Q: My mother told me she remembers a time when women had to "live in sin" (those are her words) to avoid losing Social Security benefits. She couldn't elaborate, but she thinks some senior women still have to do that today. Do you know what she is talking about?
A: Yes, I know exactly what she is talking about. It has to do with the payment of ...Read more
About two months ago, I got a question from a reader that I had never received before. (And believe me, that is unusual. I thought there wasn't a single Social Security-related question I haven't been asked a hundred times before.)
The unique question had to do with how to answer a specific question on the online application form for Social ...Read more
I write a column similar to this one every January. But I don't mind plagiarizing myself because it contains a very important message for people planning to retire in 2018.
January is a critical month for the hundreds of thousands of potential Social Security beneficiaries who are reaching 66, their so-called full retirement age, in 2018. The ...Read more
It has been my custom for most of the past 20 years to write a year-end column that summarizes the Social Security changes and updates scheduled to take place the following year.
Almost all Social Security beneficiaries are familiar with the most popular and publicized upcoming change: the increase in monthly benefit checks for 2018 due to the ...Read more
I've been a good kid this year. Well, I've occasionally been naughty. For example, I was a bit of an impish bad boy when I penned last week's open letter to President Trump. But if the emails I get from readers telling me that they appreciate the information and advice I dispense in this column are any indication, I think I should ...Read more
Dear Mr. President,
I hear that your presidency is off to a rocky start. That swamp you said you'd drain seems to be getting muddier and murkier. On the other hand, you have appeased your base of government-bashing supporters by ordering federal agencies to slash their funding by 15 percent, including the Social Security Administration. I wrote...Read more
Q: I am 66 years old. I am getting my own Social Security retirement check, but it is rather small -- just shy of $1,000 per month. I tried to get benefits from my deceased husband's record but my claim was turned down. They said I wasn't married long enough. But I was married for a total of 10 years. Can you please review my case and tell me ...Read more
I get about a hundred questions emailed to me every week. And I put as many as I can into this weekly column. As you might think, I sometimes have to summarize or rephrase the question to make sure other readers understand what the questioner was asking.
But today, I thought it would be interesting to offer you an unedited glimpse into some of ...Read more
Q: I turn 66 in January and want benefits to start then. A few weeks ago, I filled out the claim forms online. One of the questions asked when I want my benefits to start. Knowing that Social Security checks are sent out one month in arrears, I answered by indicating "February," because the January check comes in February. Now I just received an...Read more
Just two weeks ago, I wrote a column answering questions from divorced women. Obviously, I left a lot of questions unanswered because my email inbox has been flooded with inquiries about Social Security benefits for divorcees.
Q: I am about to turn 70. When I was 66, I filed for wife's benefits on my ex-husband's Social Security record. Someone...Read more
Q: I took my Social Security at age 62 so my 14-year-old son and his 55-year-old mother could get benefits on my record. My son is about to turn 16. So his mother will no longer be eligible for benefits. But my son's checks were coming in my wife's name. Will I have to go to our Social Security office to get the checks made out in my name?
A: ...Read more
All of today's questions come from, or are about, women who are divorced. So let me make this general point first. The law says a divorced woman, who was married to her ex-husband for a minimum of 10 years, is due essentially the same benefits as a woman who is currently married to her husband. In a nutshell, that means a divorced woman can get ...Read more
Q: I have a brother-in-law who is a scoundrel in my books. I just don't know what my sister sees in this guy. Back when he was in his 40s, he was convicted of defrauding the Social Security disability program. I know he paid a fine and even served some jail time. That was about 20 years ago. Now he is about to turn 62 and according to my sister,...Read more