Senior Living


Health & Spirit

Social Security and You: Benefit Starting Date Confusion

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

Social Security and You: More Questions From Divorced Women

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

Checks for Son Can Still Come in Mom's Name

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

Social Security and You: Benefits for Divorced Women

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

Social Security and You: Swindler Must Pay Up Before Benefits Start

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

Social Security and You: My Annual COLA Column

Most people reading this column have probably heard the government announcement that Social Security checks will go up next year because of the automatic inflation-adjustment rules built into the law. But how much will they go up?

Well, here are two headlines I read that answer the question in very different ways. First, there was this one: "...Read more

Social Security and You: High School Kids and Social Security

I spent part of my 32-year career with the Social Security Administration as a public affairs specialist in San Diego. A big aspect of that job was running around town giving speeches to various groups and organizations. As you might guess, that involved a lot of trips to senior centers and other places where older folks might hang out. It also ...Read more

Social Security and You: Social Security and My Mom

You are probably reading this column sometime in early October, which is when I always think of my mom. Her birthday was Oct. 1. She's been dead for about 20 years now. But when I think of her, two things I remember involve her relationship with Social Security.

The first is just a cute story. I started working for the Social Security ...Read more

Social Security and You: More Questions, More Answers

Last week, I tried to answer as many questions as I could in the limited space I have. But I ran out of column before I ran out of queries. So this week, more relatively short and concise answers to reader's questions.

Q: I am 61. I plan to wait until I am 70 before I start my Social Security. My wife is 66 and already getting her Social ...Read more

Social Security and You: Short and Quick

Because Social Security rules can be so confusing to so many people, and because it can take some time to explain those rules, I usually spend an entire column trying to clarify just one topic. But every once in a while, I like to give short and quick answers to as many questions as possible covering a wide array of subjects.

Q: I am turning 66...Read more

Social Security and You: Do You Really Want a Shrunken SSA?

I sure am glad President Trump isn't considering me to be the new head of the Social Security Administration. What a thankless job! As about 10,000 people retire every day, and as thousands more file for disability and survivor benefits, the agency's workforce keeps dwindling. And it's going to get worse.

Trump considers it his mandate to ...Read more

Answers for Women About Social Security

I wouldn't know how to go about getting accurate information about this issue, but based on the emails I receive, I'd guess that 75 percent of my readers are women. Here are some example emails.

Q: I am 75 years old and getting widow's benefits from my first husband, who died many years ago. I was married a second time for 20 years to another ...Read more

Social Security and You: Take My Social Security Advice ... Not My Financial Advice

Take My Social Security Advice ... Not My Financial Advice

I've discussed this issue before in this column. I am a Social Security expert. But I am NOT a financial planner. I give people all the facts, and then let them decide, sometimes in consultation with a real financial planner, exactly when they should start their Social Security checks. ...Read more


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