Social Security

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Benefits: Every Month Counts

Submitted by Jim Blankenship on Monday, January 12, 2015 - 3:00pm

Your Social Security benefits may turn out to be the flagship of your retirement income. Filing for benefits even a few months late or early, though, and you can significantly increase – or cut – your income. Here’s what to know and how to avoid tripping up.

How to Fix Social Security

Submitted by Jim Blankenship on Thursday, December 18, 2014 - 9:00am

We often read reports from the Social Security Administration’s reviews of the status of its trust fund and predictions that in 20 years funding will exist to pay 77 cents on the dollar of promised benefits. So far this revelation produces from policymakers no actual steps to fix the system. What can we do to fix Social Security?

Benefit Hitch: Deemed Filing

Submitted by Jim Blankenship on Monday, December 1, 2014 - 12:00pm

Think you have Social Security filing all figured out? There are many kinds of benefits and many ways to make sure you can file for all those benefits you want. Just know about a rule you probably never heard of: deemed filing.

Maximizing Social Security

Submitted by Lewis J. Walker on Wednesday, November 12, 2014 - 3:00pm

Failure to understand Social Security can be costly. Here’s how to get the most out of your benefits. While the subject is complex and laden with acronyms, you need to understand it.

How much financial security can a person or couple derive from Social Security income? For many it is the bulk of retirement income. Per the Social Security Administration, 52% of married couples and 74% of unmarried persons receive half or more of their income from Social Security.

Claiming Ex-Spouse’s Benefits

Submitted by Jim Blankenship on Friday, October 31, 2014 - 3:00pm

Important information for divorcees: You can still receive benefits on your ex’s Social Security record if you were married longer than 10 years, and you are not yet remarried.

Because sometimes the ex’s income represents the lion’s share of the couple’s Social Security record, many divorcees are very interested in knowing what benefits are available to them, and when. Listed below are seven common questions about divorced spousal benefits.

Q: Am I eligible for benefits on my former spouse’s record?

Optimizing Social Security

Submitted by Harold Wong on Thursday, October 30, 2014 - 12:00pm

Your retirement income hinges on a seeming paradox: People increase dependence on Social Security even as the long-term solvency of the government golden years’ program reportedly dwindles. What tricks of timing and finances can give your benefits checks the biggest boost?

Waiting to collect is the key. Examples may give you a good idea.

Survivor Benefits: 8 Questions

Submitted by Jim Blankenship on Monday, October 27, 2014 - 12:00pm

Social Security survivor’s benefits become available when a Social Security recipient dies and leaves surviving dependents: a spouse, children and other dependent family members. For many, the benefits constitute a transfusion to diminished household budgets at a tough period of life. The devil’s in the details of these benefits, though, and here are some answers you and yours need ahead of time.

Q: What survivor benefits are available to my spouse?

Social Security Payout Shrinks

Submitted by Jim Blankenship on Thursday, October 23, 2014 - 12:00pm

Calculating Social Security retirement benefits can be tricky. If you worked in a government job and did not pay Social Security taxes, part of your civil service pension gets deducted from your Social Security benefits, an offset called the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP). What you may not know is that the WEP’s effect goes beyond that – this provision also brings down your spouse’s and other dependents’ benefits.

How to Afford Retirement

Submitted by David Geracioti on Saturday, October 4, 2014 - 12:00pm

The methods of building a secure retirement income, which include wise use of Social Security and amassing sufficient savings, are complex. A smart financial planner can help you do it, according to a panel of advisors.

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