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Social Security

How Survivor Benefits are Treated

When you’re married to someone who has worked under the Social Security taxation system, you have two different benefits that may be available to you: Survivor Benefits, and Spousal Benefits. These two benefits may be more than the benefit you’ve earned under your own working record. Spousal Benefits are available while your spouse (or ex-spouse) is still alive. Survivor Benefits are available after your spouse’s (or ex-spouse’s) death. Social Security Survivor Benefits are much different from Spousal Benefits in several ways. In fact, there’s very little to compare between the two, other than that they are benefits for the spouse or ex-spouse of someone who earned a Social Security Retirement Benefit. Here are the primary things that you need to know about Survivor Benefits: Survivor Benefits can be claimed as early as age 60.  Of course, as with all early claims for benefits, the amount will be reduced if you […]

Limits on Social Security Disability Coverage

You have coverage for Social Security Disability benefits for a period of time after you have left full-time employment.

The Protective Filing Statement

Do you know how to use a protective filing statement to your advantage? It can be useful if you aren’t sure when to file for benefits.

Advice on Social Security Benefits

Gather your information together and know a few things about your Social Security benefits before you ask for advice.

How to Apply for Social Security Benefits

Wondering how to apply for Social Security benefits? There are three ways. One is preferred; others may be necessary depending on your case.

078-05-1120 – is this Your Number?

There’s an interesting story behind the most misused Social Security card number ever. How it all happened and other stories.

Maximize your Social Security benefits by changing your thinking

Changing the way you think may be helpful to maximize Social Security benefits – thinkng of them as insurance, rather than something else.

Family Maximum Benefit (Disability)

Details on how the Family Maximum benefit is calculated regarding a Social Security Disability benefit situation.

When Your Birthday Isn’t Your Birthday

(According to the Social Security Administration) There are a couple of circumstances where the Social Security Administration changes your birthdate for you. Chances are if this applies to you, you already know this, but I thought I’d explain it anyhow just so you’ll know what it’s all about. First of the Month If your date of birth is on the first day of the month, then for Social Security purposes, your Birth Month is actually the month prior to your actual date of birth. So if you were born on July 1, according to the Social Security Administration, your Birth Month, and therefore the month that your benefit is based upon (for example, Full Retirement Age), is June. In this example, your Birth Year remains the same, but that’s not always the case… First of January In the case of a date of birth being January 1, your Birth Month […]

Social Security: Average Indexed Monthly Earnings (AIME) Explanation

What is the AIME? Your Average Indexed Monthly Earnings. Why is it important? It’s the basis for your Primary Insurance Amount (PIA).

Survivor Benefit flexibility

The last bastion of flexibility in Social Security claiming strategies seems to be the coordination of retirement benefits with Survivor benefits.

Disability Benefits at Retirement Age

What happens at full retirement age when you’ve been receiving disability benefits all along? Do you have options?

How does WEP work for a lump-sum pension payout?

How does the WEP (Windfall Elimination Provision) apply when you take a lump-sum payment from your non-covered pension plan?

Your Social Security Benefits Statement

Here is a detailed explanation of the components of your Social Security benefits statement. You can get this statement online at any time.

What Your Social Security Statement Is Telling You

Do you understand what your Social Security statement is actually telling you? Chances are you might not realize what they’ve assumed.

Earnings Tests in the Year You Begin Benefits

There’s a limit to the earnings you can have while collecting SS before FRA. This article explains how it works when you first begin.

The Impact of Zero Years

Remember when we talked about how your Social Security Benefit is calculated? Your highest 35 earning years during your career are put into a formula, and the earnings are indexed, then averaged by dividing the result by 420, the number of months in 35 years. And if you have less than 35 years of earnings, those years without earnings are counted as zeros… So, you can guess what might happen when you have years with zero earnings in your record. Naturally your average is going to be reduced (perhaps dramatically) by any year when you had zero earnings. Let’s say you have 35 years of earnings at the maximum amount, which will give you (for 2022) a FRA benefit of $3,262. But if you only had 30 years at the maximum earnings amount, your benefit would be reduced to $3,010, an annual reduction of $3,024. Taking this further, if there […]

Social Security’s PIA – What is this?

Do you know what PIA means, with regard to Social Security? It’s a very important number, the basis of many if not all important calculations.

Social Security Bend Points Explained

How are bend points determined for Social Security benefits? It’s a long history, but once you know how, it all makes sense.

Social Security vs. Saving

Examining Social Security versus saving – a hypothetical exercise, answering if we’re better off with Social Security or saving the money.