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Social Security and You: Social Security Rules Rarely Change

I feel guilty when I repeat information in a column. But sometimes a message I delivered in an old column just demands to be repeated. And I was reminded of that this week when I got more than a few emails from readers who all said basically the same thing. It usually goes like this: "It's so hard to stay current with Social Security because the...Read more

Social Security and You: Senior Citizens Who Become Disabled

Disability benefits for senior citizens: It's a topic I've written about before. But because older folks are always asking me about getting disability benefits from Social Security, I don't mind updating the column every year or so.

First, here are some ground rules that vary depending on your age. If you are over your full retirement age, ...Read more

Social Security and You: Don't Take Financial Advice From a Guy in a Kayak

I've discussed this issue before in this column. I am a Social Security expert. I know all about the rules and regulations that can affect your Social Security benefits. But I am NOT a financial planner. I rarely tell people when to apply for their Social Security benefits. I give them all the facts and then let them decide, sometimes in ...Read more

Social Security and You: Will Extra Earnings Increase a Social Security Check? Maybe.

When I talk to various groups and organizations about Social Security, my PowerPoint presentation includes a slide with a bar graph that shows the most common sources of income for elderly Americans. As you might guess, the longest bar on the graph is Social Security. About 85% of seniors get a Social Security check. Other bars on the graph ...Read more

Social Security and You: There Are No Social Security Marriage Penalties

I frequently get questions from soon-to-be retirees who have heard about a "family maximum" that applies to Social Security benefits, and they are afraid that rule will reduce the benefits they are due as a couple. Or similarly, they have been told there is some kind of marriage penalty associated with the payment of benefits to married couples....Read more

Social Security and You: Common Questions

I recently did a radio show, and the host asked me what the most common questions I get are. I told her they can be divided into two broad categories: politically oriented questions (usually about the financing of Social Security) and program-related questions (mostly about Social Security benefits). She told me to stick with the latter. I ...Read more

Social Security and You: Don't Fret Over Social Security Starting Date

I am always hearing from readers who are hung up on making sure they start their Social Security benefits at precisely their full retirement age. Or at precisely the age of 70. They don't want those benefits a month before. They don't want them a month after. They want to make darn sure that their benefits start at exactly the month they chose ...Read more

Social Security and You: Flipping Benefits Usually Not Possible

Women who have a smaller Social Security benefit than their husbands have frequently asked me if they can take their own reduced retirement benefit at 62 and then at full retirement age, switch to a full spousal benefit from their husband.

The answer is almost always no. But that is assuming the husband is already getting his own Social ...Read more

Social Security and You: Still Nifty at 50!

My wife and I are celebrating 50 years of wedded bliss! I wrote a column similar to this one on our 45th anniversary. I did it then because I was worried we weren't going to make it to 50 -- not because of any marital discord but because of health issues. For you see, I inherited some terrible longevity genes. My dad died at the age of 47. And I...Read more

Social Security and You: Insist On Filing a Claim for Benefits

In a recent survey I conducted, my readers gave the Social Security Administration outstanding marks for the services they provide. Still, that doesn't mean that no one encounters any problems dealing with them.

I bring this up again because, despite the survey results, I continue to hear from readers who tell me that they contacted the SSA ...Read more

Social Security and You: You Must Pay In To Get Something Out

More than a few people are just bound and determined to believe the worst about the government in general and about the Social Security system in particular.

Here is one example of that. In my recent survey of the services provided by the Social Security Administration, hundreds of my readers praised the agency and gave it an average rating of ...Read more

Social Security and You: Social Security Administration Services - The People Speak

In last week's column, I shared the results of a survey I conducted with my readers in which I asked you to rate the service you got from the Social Security Administration using the ubiquitous star system: 5 stars for good service down to 1 star for poor service. I got more than 200 responses. And your responses averaged out to 4.5 stars.

Many...Read more

Social Security and You: Survey Says 4.5 Stars

Well, the votes are in. Several weeks ago, I asked my readers to rate the service they got from the Social Security Administration in the form of stars: 5 stars for good service down to 1 star for poor service. More than 250 of you responded. And the overall rating averaged out to a solid 4.5 stars.

This is much higher than I would have guessed...Read more

 

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Ginger Meggs Bill Day Joel Pett The Pajama Diaries Steve Kelley The Other Coast