I've gotten quite a few emails from readers who have questions about an article on Social Security benefits for spouses that recently ran in an issue of the AARP Bulletin. Some of you thought the answers they gave were incorrect. But they were not. Let's review some of them in today's column.
And one caveat before I go on: In order to avoid a ...Read more
Near the end of last year, I wrote a couple of columns in which readers complained about the service they received from the Social Security Administration. After that column ran, I predictably got emails from people with more complaints. They are usually from people griping about long wait times when they call the agency's 800 number or from ...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 2020.
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 2020. The ...Read more
It has been my custom for most of the past 23 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 2020 due to the ...Read more
Sometimes I will write what I think is the most harmless and innocuous column about a Social Security issue -- and then all hell breaks loose! It happened again recently. A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a column in which I explained that a workingwoman will generally be paid her own Social Security benefit first. Only after that will they will ...Read more
About once every two years or so, I write a column about Social Security's infamous "notch baby" issue. And each time, I think it will be my last such column because these so-called babies are actually now centenarians or darn near it -- and frankly, there just aren't many of them around anymore. But if some recent emails I've received are any ...Read more
A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned the fact that the new commissioner of Social Security, a guy named Andrew Saul, has promised to improve the service people get when they call the Social Security Administration 800 number or visit a local Social Security office. I said I hoped he would be true to his word and wasn't just blowing a lot of ...Read more
Just out of curiosity, I wanted to find out what the most common questions readers have been asking lately were. I was pretty sure I knew, and a quick check of my emails from the past month verified what I thought. By far, the most questions came from women who think they should be getting higher benefits on a husband's account. Here are some ...Read more
I am going to give you a series of names. I would give any reader a hundred bucks if he or she could tell me who these people are and what they all have in common. Here are the names: Stanford Ross. William Driver. John Svahn. Martha McSteen. Dorcas Hardy. Gwendolyn King. Shirley Chater. Kenneth Apfel. Michael Astrue.
So, who are they? They are...Read more
Even after writing several recent columns about the issue, I still get many emails from readers confused about which date to choose as the starting date for their Social Security retirement benefits.
The confusion essentially centers around the fact that Social Security checks are paid one month behind. For example, the Social Security payment ...Read more
I usually like to have a theme to my columns. In other words, I will generally just cover one topic and present one or more questions from readers that are related to that subject. But every once in a while, I just like to open my email inbox and pick random questions to answer. Today's column is one of those.
Q: I am 79 years old. I haven't ...Read more
Every single day, I get emails from people who will say something like this: "My wife and I are getting SSI." Or this: "We have some questions about our SSI checks." Or this: "If I die, will my wife get any of my SSI?"
I know from experience these folks think that SSI stands for Social Security Income. Or maybe Social Security Insurance. But it...Read more
A few months ago, I briefly discussed the possibility of retroactive Social Security retirement benefits. But if my email inbox is any indication, I guess I raised more questions than I answered. So today I will tackle the topic in more detail. Although the general rules are fairly simple, it can get a little complicated when you get down to the...Read more