Social Security and You: I'm Dead. Now What?
Gosh, I hate getting old! Even though my wife and I are relatively fit, when you're in your late 70s, you can't help thinking about the inevitable. We're all going to die. And even though my wife is a few years older than me, I figure I'm eventually going to be the first to buy that one-way ticket to the great beyond. So, I've started working on...Read more
Social Security and You: Social Security for Younger Retirees
Conventional wisdom has it that to get the most out of your Social Security, you should wait as long as possible to start your benefits. That's good advice for some, but not for all. There are a variety of reasons why you might want to take your benefits at 62 (the earliest you can start your Social Security) or some other point before you reach...Read more
Social Security and You: Your Social Security Payments Outside the US
As I write this, my wife and I are about to leave on a one-month trip to England. This has been one of our "bucket list" plans for a long time now. We've been back and forth to Europe about a half dozen-times over the years. But most of those trips were of the "if it's Tuesday, it must be Belgium and if it's Wednesday, it must be Paris" variety....Read more
Social Security and You: Social Security Benefits Rounded Down
Q: I've heard that Social Security is cheating me and millions of other Americans out of Social Security benefits they are due because they round down to the nearest dollar when they are supposed to be rounding up. Is this true?
A: Well, it's true ... and it's false. It's true when you say that benefits are rounded down, but it's false when you...Read more
Social Security and You: A History Lesson on the SSN
Regular readers of my column know that I try to avoid the use of Social Security jargon, abbreviations and acronyms as much as possible. That even goes as far as the name of the agency that runs the Social Security program. Although I must frequently do it, I just don't like referring to the SSA (that stands for Social Security Administration) ...Read more
Social Security and You: Common Social Security Questions
Well, it's been a strange week. My inbox is normally crammed with emails from readers. But this week, there has been just a sprinkling of questions. I'd like to think it's because all of you have been reading my column for years, and maybe also have read my two books about Social Security, and so you're all now Social Security experts who've got...Read more
Social Security and You: Social Security Rules for Federal Government Employees
I've commented before how surprised I am that a high percentage of emails I get come from the relatively small group of people in this country who don't even pay into Social Security. Most of those questions come from retired or soon-to-be retired educators in those states where teachers have a separate retirement system other than Social ...Read more
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