Q: My husband died in 2009. I continued working until I was 62 in 2013. I then started drawing widow's benefits. In February of this year, when I turned 66, I went to the Social Security office to apply for my own benefits. I thought I could get both retirement and widow's benefits. But they told me no. They said I could only receive my own ...Read more
Over the past 17 years that I have been doing this column, I have written about 50 columns dealing with the Social Security offsets that impact some state and local government employees who work at jobs not covered by Social Security. In many ways, I don't like discussing this topic because it impacts just a small percentage of my readers.
To ...Read more
I'm guessing there's something floating around on the internet giving veterans false hope that they are due some kind of extra Social Security benefits for serving in the military. Vets around the country are marching into their local Social Security office with their DD-214 (military discharge papers) demanding that this hyped up bonus be added...Read more
In today's column, I present emails from two different women. They have two things in common. They are both around age 66. And they are both widows. But there is one key variable. One woman was a stay-at-home mom most of her life. The other worked outside the home. And that makes for a big difference in their Social Security stories.
Q: I am ...Read more
Q: I am 68 years old and retired. My wife is 60 and still working. When I was 66, my financial planner advised me to "file and suspend" so that when my wife turns 62, she can claim spousal benefits on my record and let her own continue to grow until she is 70. We are trying to maximize our Social Security. But now I'm wondering if I did the ...Read more
Today's column won't focus on a single topic. Instead, I'll just reach into the mailbag (well, really my email inbox) and pull out a hodgepodge of questions.
Q: I was a minister for many years. I never paid into Social Security while serving my church. But about eight years ago, I left the ministry, and I have since worked at a series of jobs ...Read more
I'd like to think that when people email me questions, I give them correct answers with good advice. In fact, I'd guess I do that almost all the time. And when I don't, it's usually because the person writing to me didn't present me with all the facts. Here are a couple real-life examples. (I've changed the names to protect the anonymity of the ...Read more
Today's column illustrates yet another example of a situation I had never encountered in my 45-year career of working on Social Security issues. And this time it's the story of two very different Social Security rules intersecting and leading to a bizarre circumstance that allows some lucky people to milk the Social Security system out of ...Read more
Armageddon and the 4th Timeline: A Spiritual Odyssey through Time and EternityDon Mardak
In a world faced with violence and the potential of cataclysmic annihilation, what if the only means to save mankind existed in an alternate reality?
Armageddon and the 4th Timeline, is a fast-paced mystical fantasy with three thought-provoking themes: the war...
Q: My wife and I are both 62. My wife hasn't worked outside the home in many years. I am still working but I'm thinking about retiring. However, our financial planner is advising me to keep working and for us to delay taking our Social Security as long as possible. He suggests we both wait until we are 70 years old to maximize our benefits. But ...Read more
Q: I just turned 71 years old. I have been getting Social Security since I was 66. I was having trouble making ends meet and I recently took a job doing some consulting work. I just got my first paycheck, and I was surprised to learn they are taking Social Security taxes out of my paycheck. I thought once you are getting Social Security, you no ...Read more
After I published a recent column discussing possible Social Security reforms, lots of people wrote to tell me that no changes would be needed to the system if benefits were paid only to people who "deserve" Social Security. I am always intrigued, and usually a little perturbed, by such allegations. They usually come from people who tell me that...Read more
Most people are correct to think that they will be ahead financially to wait until age 66, or maybe even until age 70, to claim their Social Security benefits. But for that small cadre of retired folks who still have minor children at home, the addition of those dependents to the Social Security account can make for a whole different perspective...Read more
Q: I am about to turn age 64. I have been laid off and do not think I will be able to find another job. So I am thinking about starting my Social Security benefits. And it dawned on me that I have no idea how my benefit is figured. Is it based on my earnings? Is it based on my age? Please help!
A: It's based on both your earnings and your age. ...Read more