I get a lot of emails from readers that start with some version of the phrase: "I'll tell you what's wrong with Social Security!" And then they go off on a little bit of a rant, almost always citing some misinterpretation of Social Security laws.
In the past, I've written a similar column with all the rants coming from men who were usually ...Read more
This is going to be a column about the Supplemental Security Income, or SSI. In other words, it will NOT be a column about Social Security. Supplemental Security Income and Social Security are two entirely different government programs. They really have nothing to do with each other, other than the fact that they are both managed by the Social ...Read more
Sometimes this column can get into some complicated or esoteric Social Security rules or circumstances. But it dawned on me that many of the emails I get from readers are asking questions about some pretty basic Social Security stuff. So this week's column will be like a refresher course in Social Security. I will just go over the basic rules ...Read more
I frequently hear from readers who ask me about an alleged marriage penalty associated with Social Security. Or they say they heard there is a maximum amount that can be paid to members of a married couple. These rumors are untrue. Today's emails illustrate what I am talking about.
Q: I am living with a woman and have been for many years. We ...Read more
I recall my days as a trainee with the Social Security Administration. And gosh, that was almost 50 years ago! The very first thing drilled into our heads was a law called The Privacy Act, which prevented us from disclosing any information about anyone's Social Security record to anyone other than the record holder.
Almost all Americans agree ...Read more
When we are talking about Social Security benefits, almost everyone wants more, not less. You can probably find 10,000 articles on the Internet if you search "maximizing your Social Security." But I'll give you a thousand dollars if you can find one story headlined "minimizing your Social Security."
Or consider this. Over the past 50 years, I ...Read more
Every Social Security rule I can think of is gender-neutral. In other words, the same laws apply to men and women equally. But society hasn't always been gender neutral. We all have heard the statistics: Men tend to make more money than women. And because Social Security benefits are based on lifetime income, men end up getting higher Social ...Read more
Most of us work for wages, and there isn't much we can do to avoid paying Social Security taxes on those earnings. But people who are self-employed can frequently "cook the books" to lessen their tax burden. (By the way, I totally understand that when self-employed people do pay Social Security taxes, they pay twice the rate of the rest of us. ...Read more
I frequently hear from readers who tell me that they contacted the Social Security Administration with the intention of filing for Social Security benefits of one kind or another and then were either told they were not eligible for any benefits or were just otherwise talked out of filing.
Of course, sometimes that is good advice. For example, ...Read more
Because of the high volume of emails I get from the small minority of government employees who don't even pay into Social Security, I guess it's time for me to trot out my old WEP and GPO column. (I'll explain what those abbreviations stand for in a minute.) Who are these folks? They are primarily teachers in some states and police officers and ...Read more
Readers are always asking me to explain various Social Security rules and regulations. But sometimes they want more. They want to see something official -- something in black and white. In other words, they want me to give them a legal reference for whatever rules I am explaining to them.
I sort of know where they are coming from. Frequently, ...Read more
Several weeks ago, I wrote a column explaining benefits that are payable to spouses. And by spouses, I almost always am referring to a wife and the benefits she might be due on her husband's Social Security record.
And whenever I write such a column, my inbox is immediately flooded with emails from women who think they are being cheated out of ...Read more
Maybe it's because COVID-19 restrictions are easing up a bit. And some people probably have a bad case of wanderlust. I'm sure others are just thinking about retiring and returning to their homeland. Or perhaps still others see some of the same websites I do that entice you with headlines similar to this one I recently read: "Live like royalty ...Read more