Social Security and You: Most People Can't Get the Maximum Benefit
If you read a recent USA Today article, you would have seen a story with this intriguing headline: "3 steps to claiming the $4,555 max monthly Social Security benefit." And if you are pushing retirement age, you would of course want to read that story and get yourself locked into a heaping serving from the Social Security gravy train.
In a ...Read more
Social Security and You: Change Is Nothing New to Social Security
I continually remind my readers that they shouldn't worry too much when they read or hear reports of Social Security's imminent collapse. Once Congress works up the nerve to deal with the issue (and once the American people accept the fact that the program needs reform), they will get around to passing amendments to the Social Security laws that...Read more
Social Security and You: Disability Benefits for Senior Citizens
Many older folks are asking me about getting disability benefits from Social Security. I'll offer some tips on how to go about doing that in a minute. But first, here are some ground rules that vary depending on your age.
If you are over your full retirement age, forget about it. Once you reach that age, disability benefits are no longer ...Read more
Social Security and You: More Questionable Advice From the SSA
I hate writing columns that are critical of some of my former colleagues who are still working for the Social Security Administration. But doggone it, if they are going to keep handing out bad advice, someone's got to take them to task -- and give the right answers to people who are seeking help about their Social Security situation. Here are ...Read more
Social Security and You: If You Mess Up, Don't Blame the Government
Sometimes people will write to me complaining that the government, specifically the Social Security Administration, has messed them up and cheated them out of benefits they might have been due. But many times, the fault (to trivialize a famous line from Shakespeare's play, "Julius Caesar") is not in our government, but in ourselves. Here are ...Read more
Social Security and You: An Unusual Morning Mailbag
Most mornings, I sit down at my computer and open my emails. I find many of the same questions I've answered hundreds, if not thousands of times over the 25 years I've been writing this column. And even though it's "deja vu all over again," I don't mind answering those questions because I know that not everyone has memorized all my past columns ...Read more
Social Security and You: How Retirement Benefits Are Figured
After doing this column for so many years (more than a quarter century now), I've learned there are two kinds of potential Social Security beneficiaries. The vast majority are those who just want a general idea of how their benefits will be figured. But there are more than a few people out there who want to know exactly how the government comes ...Read more
Social Security and You: Message to Homemakers- Building Up Your Own Social Security Might Not Be Worth It
I will occasionally get questions, almost always from women who spent much of their adult life as homemakers and are now approaching their senior years, who tell me that they plan to get a job to start building up their own Social Security. My usual message to them is that it's probably not worth it. I've saved up some questions about this topic...Read more
Social Security and You: Columnist Turns a Molehill Into a Mountain
Several readers shared with me a story that ran in many newspapers around the country headlined: "Social Security Hell." It relayed the story of the columnist's ongoing efforts to correct the date of birth in his 98-year-old mother's Social Security records.
On the surface, it seems like it should be something simple to do. But the columnist ...Read more
Social Security and You: The Problems With Running a Disability Program
Several readers recently sent me copies of a news story that appeared in papers around the country. The author of that piece criticized the Social Security Administration for not updating a listing of jobs that benefit applicants might be able to do instead of going on the government dole collecting disability benefits. (The law says that a ...Read more
Social Security and You: Be Prepared
I got an email from a woman who had recently filed for widow's benefits. She was writing to tell me that the process went very smoothly, and her benefits started within weeks of her application. She said one of the reasons things went so well is that she had done her homework and was prepared with all the information the Social Security ...Read more
Social Security and You: Turning Full Retirement Age in 2023? Consider Filing for Benefits This Month
Turning Full Retirement Age in 2023? Consider Filing for Benefits This Month
I write a column like this one every January, but I don't mind plagiarizing myself because it contains a very important message for people planning to retire in 2023.
January is a critical month for the hundreds of thousands of potential Social Security beneficiaries ...Read more
Social Security and You: Social Security Update for 2023
It has been my custom for most of the past 25 years to write a year-end column that summarizes the Social Security changes and updates scheduled to take place the following year. I already discussed some of these changes in a column back in October when the updates were first announced. But it doesn't hurt to repeat them here.
Almost all Social...Read more