Q: You've written in past columns that the SSI program is not a Social Security benefit. But my sister is getting SSI. And when she gets letters about her payments, they come from the Social Security office. So how can you say SSI has nothing to do with Social Security?
A: To answer your question, let me give you a little history lesson. Back ...Read more
They say we are living in the "post-truth" era -- a time when discussion and debate is framed by appeals to emotion rather than verifiable facts. This, of course, is nothing new. Throughout history, more than a few politicians have ridden a populist wave of half-truths and outright deception to places of power, sometimes all the way to the White...Read more
I write a column similar to this one every January. But I don't mind plagiarizing myself because it contains a very important message for people planning to retire in 2017.
January is a critical month for the hundreds of thousands of potential Social Security beneficiaries who are reaching 66, their so-called full retirement age, in 2017. The ...Read more
It has been my custom for most of the past 18 years to write a year-end column that summarizes the Social Security changes and updates scheduled to take place the following year.
Almost all Social Security beneficiaries are familiar with the most popular and publicized upcoming change: the increase in monthly benefit checks for 2017 due to the ...Read more
Quite a few readers have asked me to comment on a bill sponsored by Representative Sam Johnson, R.-Texas, that he calls The Social Security Reform Act of 2016. I would call it the One-Sided Social Security Reform Act of 2016. And that's because, like just about every Social Security reform proposal I have seen sponsored by a Republican, it is ...Read more
This is the season of caring. No matter your religion or belief, December is also considered a time to focus on the children we love. Whether we're wrapping Santa's gifts, buying Hanukkah treats, decorating the house in celebration of Kwanzaa, or volunteering for a toy drive, children add joy to the holiday season. And we at Social Security ...Read more
Trumping Your Social Security -- Getting Social Security Benefits Overseas
Ever since the presidential election, I've probably received 50 emails from readers asking me what would happen to their Social Security benefits if they left the country. A couple people even wondered what would happen if they move overseas and renounce their U.S. ...Read more
I'm drawing a blank. And I'm blaming it on my bad cold. My head is all stuffed up and I can't think of anything to write about for today's column. So I decided to open my inbox and turn the first four or five questions into a column. Here goes.
Q: I appreciate the recent column you wrote about the confusion people have between Social Security ...Read more
Mill Village RoadLinda M. Simmons
Nine-year old April Dawn Tyler is thrilled to be friends with her classmate Hilda Jean Norton, who lives on Mill Village Road. She sees it as a place to live out her dream, a dream that does not involved her isolated farm life in the foothills of North Carolina. The ...
Q: I was going to file for my Social Security retirement in a few years. But I'm wondering if I should file for disability instead. I have all sorts of medical problems too numerous to mention in this email. What should I do?
A: You didn't give your age and you didn't tell me if you are still working. Knowing that information is key to ...Read more
I sometimes feel like I should spend the first half of the column explaining to readers that the Supplemental Security Income program is not Social Security. And then I should spend the second half of the column explaining that the Social Security program is not SSI. But I will bet my next pension check that, after writing that same column each ...Read more
In the past week or so, I've heard from dozens of fearful readers asking about Donald Trump's plans to privatize Social Security. I'm going to suggest that people relax. President-elect Trump and his cohorts may have plans to privatize the Social Security system, but I highly doubt those plans will ever see the light of day.
Actually, every ...Read more
"Black Friday" is the busiest shopping day of the year, with people lining up at midnight for deals as they begin the busy holiday shopping season. More people than ever are taking advantage of online holiday deals. "Cyber Monday" is the day internet-savvy people search for deals, all online.
You're smart, and you probably already know there's ...Read more
Q: I have lived and worked in the United States for the past 15 years. But I was born in Great Britain and worked there for about 30 years before moving to the states. I am 66 years old and about to retire. I get a British Social Security pension and just applied for my American Social Security benefits. Before I did so, the estimates the Social...Read more
If I am reading national polls correctly, the majority of Americans claim they want smaller government and decreased federal spending. But if the emails I get are any indication of what people actually think, then what they are really saying is this: "I want less government spending for all those other people, but more for myself!"
My email ...Read more
In last week's column, I tried to squeeze in as many concise answers as possible to some of the most commonly asked questions I get. But even keeping my replies short, I still ran out of room. So today, more of the most frequently asked questions and more quick and dirty ... make that quick and clean ... answers.
Q: For reasons I don't want to ...Read more