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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.

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).

Disability Benefits at Retirement Age

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

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.

Your Payback from Social Security

One of the big questions that many folks face with regard to Social Security benefits is – I’ve paid in so much, will I ever see it come back? I thought I’d show what a payback break-even might look like, in terms of the money you put into the system and what you’ll get back out of it.  I made an assumption in the calculations: Future COLAs were not calculated into the example, keeping things in terms of today’s dollars. COLAs would only confuse the calculations. Full Retirement Age In this first series I assumed the normal, Full Retirement Age scenario, with two options: 1) you earned exactly half of the wage base that SSA requires withholding for each year of your 35-year working life, and you’re now age 66 and 2 months, Full Retirement Age; and 2) you earned exactly (or more than) the maximum amount of money that […]

Talking to the Social Security Office

What you need to know before talking to Social Security (SSA) – make sure you’re getting the information you need to make decisions.

GPO and WEP – When Do These Apply?

Do you know what benefits GPO and WEP may apply to? Each type of reduction applies differently, learn what the difference is.