I'm submitting this column to the newspapers on my birthday. I was born June 22, 1949. That makes me 73 years old. And I'm kind of surprised I made it this far. Why? Because I didn't inherit the best of genes. My dad died at the age of 47. He had six brothers. And of those six uncles of mine, only one of them lived past the age of 60. So again, ...Read more
Q: It has always puzzled me why Social Security takes back a person's Social Security check for the month he or she dies. My aunt died in April, and as her executor, I was counting on using her last Social Security check to pay off some of her bills. But the government took that money away from me. Can you explain that?
A: Simply put, the law ...Read more
Older adults across the country are bombarded with invitations to attend seminars that allegedly will clue them in on a supposed "secret" to maximizing their Social Security benefits. Well, if you're one of those folks, I can save you the trouble of getting out of the house and traipsing across town to take in one of these little gatherings. ...Read more
Q: I am 73 and still working part time. I took my Social Security at age 66. I have never seen an increase in my Social Security check, even though I am still paying into the system. What's up?
A: To understand whether the earnings you have, and the taxes you pay, after you start getting Social Security will increase your benefits, you have to ...Read more
Let me start out by saying that I hope the editors of the various publications that print my column keep the terms "WEP" and "GPO" in the headline. Why? Because those abbreviations mean a lot to a certain group of my readers.
I'll explain what those abbreviations stand for in a minute. But first, who makes up this specialized group of readers? ...Read more
Sometimes readers take me to task for not explaining a particular facet of the law when I write a column about some Social Security topic or another. I usually respond by pointing out that if I tried to cover every "if, and or but" associated with whatever Social Security topic I am trying to explain, my column would fill up half the newspaper ...Read more
My wife and I and a group of our neighbors were chatting the other day, and it dawned on us that there are eight houses in a row on our block in which each of the couples has been married for more than 50 years! Well, not quite. My wife and I are the "newlyweds" on the street. We've only been married 48 years. But the other seven couples have ...Read more
Sometimes people will write to me complaining that the government, specifically the Social Security Administration, has messed 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 some ...Read more
I get lots of emails from my readers. Most are from nice people who have questions about their particular Social Security situation. I like responding to these people and helping them out.
Then there are those guys (and it's almost always guys) who rant and rave and gripe and groan about some perceived injustice involving Social Security. Their...Read more
Last week, I answered questions about Social Security widow's benefits. But I ran out of column space before I ran out of questions to answer. So, this week, more questions and answers about widows. Last week's questions were mostly from older women in their 70s and 80s. Today's questions come from younger widows.
Q: My husband recently died at...Read more
I've saved up some questions that are either from widows or from husbands or wives wondering about future widow's benefits. Here are some of them.
Q: I want to make sure my wife gets the highest widow's benefits possible after I'm gone. How do I do that?
A: If that's your only goal with respect to claiming your own Social Security benefits, ...Read more
I just finished reading the best book about Social Security that I have ever read. In just under 100 pages, the author explains everything you'd probably ever need to know about our nation's bedrock social insurance program. If you are someone pushing retirement age who wants to know when and how to file for benefits, there is a chapter in the ...Read more
This is going to be a column about a special procedure that the Social Security Administration routinely uses that is intended to help people by protecting their rights to possible benefits. It's called a "protective filing date." In a nutshell, if you contact the SSA and tell them you intend to file for some kind of Social Security benefit, and...Read more