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March 13, 2009


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Most importantly don't use the local social security office as your main source of information or assume your benefits are calculated correctly. Of my (admittedly small) sample of parents and their 5 closest sets of friends, half have received incorrect checks or incorrect crucial information. Luckily my father knew enough to question, unluckily he knew more than everyone at the SS office, and it took a year and a half for everything to be corrected.

Do your parents a favor and be a little nosey about their benefits if you know they are not experts on this stuff.

"Thus planning for retirement is much easier for men, who tend to have more assets and die young."

This quote made me laugh inside... true but not happy reason =)

2200 bucks / month is hardly a "typical" benefit
it's the benefit a person like myself would get after earning the max amount for 40 yrs and retiring at age 66.

One important part of the law not widely known:
up to age 70 you can do a full reset of social security by paying back the amount you have collected to that point and starting over at a higher monthly amount

My mom ended up a widow at age 59 1/2 and just began receiving my dad's benefit at age 62. I have no idea what options she had if she any.... Does the reset at age 70 apply to her? Maybe we can help her at that time so she can draw whatever max she's entitled to.

If your Mom and Dad worked enough to qualify for benefits - SSA SHOULD HAVE given her reduced benefits on the account that would pay her the LESSER amount. Then at full retirement age she should recontact SSA and they will convert her to the HIGHER benefit at an unreduced benefit payment. This could increase her monthly benefit payment SUBSTANTIALLY. However, the field office may not have done this correctly - you should contact them and ask if they did.

If your Mom did not work enough to qualify for a benefit based upon her own earnings - then your Mom's benefit will NOT increase when she reaches full retirment age.

I work for SSA.

People definitely need more education about social security...Those coming of age...Babyboomers in this group for sure. Making sure you qualify at a younger age is really important. One of my favorite sites for learning about living and money is John Agno's blog...I highly recommend reading all he has to say about living well during retirement etc. Keeping as informed as possible makes life easier during these trying times.

If you are about to get divorced, be aware that 10 years of marriage is the threshold for claiming Social Security against an ex-spouse. There is a lady in the next block from me who divorced after nine and a half years and therefore cannot collect on the ex's account. She is now 70 and gets less than she would otherwise.

Note that there is no cost to the ex, even though I used the word "against" above.

Mule Skinner is correct - there is no penalty - 3 ex wifes and a current wife can all draw the same amount of a husband/exhusbands account and he will get the same amount whether all or none claim on his account. The ex wife/wife all get the same amount whether 1 or say 4 are claiming on his account.

social security much important now a days... if divorced men can survive easily lady cant... some brave women can survive but some... not some but more women cant... who grow near mom... so social security much needed...


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