Why do some people feel the need to voice opinions about subjects they know little to nothing about? Almost daily, for the past 22 years that I've been writing this column, I get emails from people voicing opinions about Social Security that are ill-informed -- and often, downright wacky. It surprises and even saddens me that people who hold ...Read more
Q: I will turn 64 this month. I retired in December. My Social Security benefit is projected to be $927 at age 64. If I wait until 66, I would get $1,066. And if I wait until age 70, I would get $1,407. And there is an additional complication. My husband is 82. He has been getting benefits since he was 66 -- $2,388. He is in very poor health. ...Read more
Anyone turning 66 this year who has a spouse already collecting Social Security or who is potentially eligible for benefits should consider jumping through the loophole that slams shut in 2020. Or to be more precise, the loophole that closes for anyone turning 66 in January 2020 or later.
What's the loophole? It's the rule that allows 66-year-...Read more
This is going to be a column about that other program. What other program? Regular readers have heard me mention it occasionally. I'm talking about Supplemental Security Income, or SSI. When I do bring it up, I usually say something like this: "SSI is a federal welfare program that is managed by the Social Security Administration. It is NOT a ...Read more
Last year, the Social Security Administration's Office of the Inspector General completed an audit and issued a report critical of how the agency handled claims from widows. It said that SSA clerks were doing a poor job of informing widows that they had the option of taking widow's benefits at 66 and delaying starting their own benefits until 70...Read more
Today's column offers up a marital conundrum. Should a woman divorce the man she loves in order to collect rather substantial Social Security benefits from a past husband? Would you do it? Before you answer, let's review her story.
I got to talking to a nice lady I will call "Sophie" at a local coffee shop. She is 71 years old. She has been ...Read more
I write a column similar to this one every January. But I don't mind plagiarizing myself, as the column contains a very important message for people planning to retire in 2019.
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 2019. ...Read more
It has been my custom for most of the past 21 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 2019 due to the ...Read more
I wrote you a similar letter last year. But I must have been a bad boy because you didn't grant me any of my wishes. So I'm going to try again. I think I've been mostly a good boy this time around. Oh sure, a few of my readers got upset with me when I said something they didn't like. But I live by this maxim: I can please some of my...Read more
I got to chatting with someone about 30 years younger than me the other day at our local library. We were sharing stories about our lives and careers and families. He expressed surprise at two elements of my life that I just thought of as sort of normal. I told him I had worked for the Social Security Administration for about 33 years. And I ...Read more
It's always fascinating to me how people can look at the same situation and see things totally differently. For example, I look in the mirror and see Brad Pitt's slightly older brother starting back at me. But my wife looks at me and sees a grizzled old Gabby Hayes look-alike!
But I digress. We've all heard of the proverbial "Is the glass half ...Read more
Q: In a recent column, you said that most people retiring today are waiting until 70 to start their Social Security. But I read an article in USA Today quoting Social Security Administration statistics stating the majority of retirees take their Social Security at 62. Where did you get your information?
A: Yes, you are right and so is USA Today...Read more
Q: I am 64 years old. I was married to a man who was 15 years younger than me. He was a lawyer and made really good money. I married him for love. I'm really not sure why he married me. Anyway, we got divorced a few years ago. And now that I'm pushing Social Security age, I realize what a big mistake I made. He told me he plans to work until he ...Read more