Senior Living

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Health & Spirit

Social Security and You: Neighbors Helping Neighbors with Social Security Issues

Q: I have a young 30-something neighbor who stopped working a few years ago to raise a family. She told me that she got a letter from the government telling her that if she doesn't return to work soon, she will lose all the Social Security credits she earned while she was working. Because I am getting Social Security, she thinks I am an expert ...Read more

Social Security and You: Rules About Retroactive Benefits

Before I get to today's questions, all of which deal with claiming retroactive benefits, I must make this general point about the issue: The law says you can claim up to six months' worth of retroactive benefits, as long as it doesn't involve the payment of any reduced Social Security benefits. Or to put that another way, no retroactive ...Read more

Social Security and You: Widows with Social Security Issues

Recently, I wrote a column about how Social Security impacts widows and widowers. But the questions keep flowing into my inbox. So today, more answers to more questions from widows.

Q: My husband died two months ago. He had been getting Social Security disability benefits for years. I am 64 years old and I have been getting my own Social ...Read more

Social Security and You: Explaining the Windfall Elimination Provision

A few weeks ago, I wrote a column about something called the "government pension offset." It is a law that essentials says this: If you get a pension from a job that was not covered by Social Security, that pension will be treated just like a Social Security retirement pension, and it will be used to offset any benefits you might be due on a ...Read more

Social Security and You: Options for Widows and Widowers to Consider

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

Social Security and You: Government Pension Offset Law Not About to Change

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

No Bonus for Vets

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

Social Security and You: Tale of Two Women

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

Social Security and You: My Apologies for Another Maximizing Column

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

Social Security and You: Mailbag Miscellany

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

Social Security and You: Always Insist on Filing a Claim

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

Social Security and You: Divorced Couple Hits the Social Security Jackpot

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

Social Security and You: Bucking the Trend and Minimizing Our Social Security

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

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