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Social Security News for Seniors

Today's Social Security News

Social Security News

Why you get your Social Security payment when you do

Many younger seniors may wish they were born earlier in the month; 2017 payment calendar below

Dec. 20, 2016 – Ever wished you could get your Social Security check earlier or wondered why it comes when it does. It may not cross the minds of senior citizens who filed for benefits before May 1, 1997: they get their payment on the third day of the month, unlike more recent filers who get it on the second, third or fourth Wednesday of the month. More...

Social Security News

Average American on Social Security Gets $4 to $5 Monthly Increase in 2017

Cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) will be .3 percent next year for 65 million

October 18, 2016 - The average Social Security retiree will get a $5 per month raise in 2017, says Social Security today, but the Associated Press reports it to be more like $4. The increase cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) will be .3 percent for the more than 65 million Americans receiving Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, according to information released today by the Social Security Administration.

Social Security News

Social Security receives little attention in Presidential Campaigns; AARP wants seniors to act

67% of AARP Members Cite Social Security’s Future as Their #1 Concern in Survey; roundup of Social Security news below news story

Sep. 30, 2016 -AARP, a sponsor of the presidential debates, sent a letter to moderator Lester Holt before the first debate urging him to ask the candidates for their plans for maintaining the security of Social Security. He didn't and that highlights the unusual lack of interest in this critical government program. AARP now wants seniors to start using social media to get the attention of the political candidates focused on Social Security. More...

Social Security News

corner of Social Security cardSocial Security status has changed little from last year

Trustees' annual report does note $23 billion increase in trust funds

June 22, 2016 - Not much has changed in the financial status of the Social Security Trust Funds since last year, according to today’s release of the annual report on the status of the funds by the Social Security Board of Trustees.

Social Security News

President Obama calls for increasing Social Security benefits

President Obama speaking on Social Security increaseProgram should be more generous, wealthiest should pay cost

June 2, 2016 – Improving Social Security was a prominent subject in a speech on the economy yesterday by President Barack Obama, including his call to make it “more generous” and to “increase its benefits.”

Social Security News

Homeless senior sits on streetSocial Security joins effort for homeless seniors, veterans

Declared as most successful anti-poverty program ever

May 2, 2016 – The effort to reduce homelessness among seniors, veterans and other vulnerable populations got a boost from the Social Security Administration last week. Acting Commissioner Carolyn W. Colvin declared SSA is the “most successful anti-poverty program” in U.S. history.

Social Security News

Social Security out and about for the common good in May

Agency working with faith-based, other groups to introduce Social Security benefits

April 21, 2016 - Social Security emerged from the Great Depression to promote the economic security of our nation’s people. It provides security and peace of mind for America’s workers and their families. Social Security helps protect families against loss of income when the unexpected happens, such as a disability or the loss of a loved one.


Medicare & Medicaid News

It’s easy on Medicare to get Extra Help with prescription costs

Seniors and others on Medicare may not know there is help for many to pay drug costs

Social Security Blog, by Jim Borland, Assistant Deputy Commissioner, Communications

April 21, 2016 - In times like these, every dollar counts. Some people qualify for big savings on their Medicare prescription drug costs and don’t even realize it! In fact, if you receive Medicare, you may be eligible for the Extra Help, which could save you about $4,000 per year on your monthly premiums, annual deductibles, and prescription co-payments.

Social Security News

Social Security pushing personal accounts with special week

graphic of my Social Security signp-inNumerous benefits of having a "my Social Security" account highlighted

April 7, 2016 - Social Security is hosting numerous events and activities across the country from April 4 through April 13 to raise awareness about the benefits of establishing a my Social Security account. It is a feature of the third National my Social Security Week.

Social Security News

Two government tools help Americans prepare for retirement

Social Security has many tools to help plan for your future; now Treasury offers a companion

March 29, 2016 - Achieving financial security is an important part of enjoying a satisfying retirement. Social Security has many tools to help you plan for your future. There is also a new tool from the Department of the Treasury...

Social Security News

Many receiving Social Security will need to pay taxes

About a third on Social Security will need to pay taxes and this is what you need to know

by Jim Borland, Assistant Deputy Commissioner, Communications

March 21, 2016 - Did you know that your Social Security benefits may be taxable? This includes your monthly retirement, survivor, and disability benefits. More...

Social Security News

Faster processing of disability benefit for wounded warriors and veterans

Social Security and VA Working Together for Our Heroes: Social Security Blog

By Jim Borland, Asst. Deputy Commissioner, Social Security Administration

March 7, 2016 - Social Security honors those who have served in the U.S. military. We recognize the sacrifices these Americans made while serving our country. Often, their dedication comes at the expense of significant and lasting effects on themselves and their families. More...

Social Security News

Social Security says reporting changes is your responsibility

Latest post on Social Security blog points out life changes can affect your benefits

Dec. 10, 2015 - If you receive benefits from Social Security, you have a legal obligation to report changes, which could affect your eligibility for disability, retirement, and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.

Social Security News

Social Security offers tools to help seniors have a better retirement

You should open a ‘my Social Security’ online account – do it here

By Tucker Sutherland, editor

Nov. 24, 2015 - Earlier this month the Retirement Security Project at the Brookings Institution hosted an event with the Social Security Administration and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau that focused on retirement planning. This event highlights what we too often forget – how important Social Security is in our lives and the helpful tools the agency has developed to help senior citizens have a more successful retirement. More...

Social Security News

Social Security says law blocks COLA for seniors in 2016

Agency explains what is happening to cost-of-living adjustment for next year

Oct. 15, 2015 – Here is what the Social Security Administration has to say about the cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) next year for senior citizens and others in the program: “With consumer prices down over the past year, monthly Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits for nearly 65 million Americans will not automatically increase in 2016.” Does that invite action by Congress? More...


Social Security News

No Social Security COLA for senior citizens in 2016 seems certain as do Medicare hikes

Means problems for Medicare: Part B premiums cannot increase for most , so minority has to bear burden of rising costs

Oct. 8, 2015 - It’s not official, but the experts seem to be in agreement that senior citizens will not get a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) from Social Security for 2016. It will be just the third time in 40 years, according to an analysis by Alicia H. Munnell and Anqi Chen of the Boston College Center for Retirement Research.

Social Security News

Social Security important to all but few know much about it

AARP, financial planners release survey results on knowledge gap

Oct. 1, 2015 - Everyone agrees Social Security is very important but two new AARP surveys show that few really have any idea how it works. Financial planners say about 1 percent of their clients understand it and a survey of older Americans who have not reached age 65 found only 9 percent believe they are very knowledgeable.

Social Security News

No Social Security COLA in 2016 for Senior Citizens

Devastating news for seniors not official but all agree it is coming

July 27, 2015 – If you were counting on a few extra bucks in your Social Security check in 2016, you made a mistake. The opinion of the experts, including the trustees, is senior citizens will not see a cost-of-living (COLA) in 2016.

Social Security News

Members of ‘my Social Security’ can get replacement cards online

SSA announces to service to further encourage members to sign-up for site to do business with the agency

June 1, 2015 - The Social Security Administration today introduced the expansion of online services available through its my Social Security portal – seniors and others with a Social Security membership who have also established a my Social Security account can now obtain a replacement card online. More...

Social Security News

Social Security begins 80th anniversary countdown on new website

Social Security was signed August 14, 1935

May 27, 2015 - Social Security is about to celebrate its 80th birthday and has announced a new website featuring many activities leading up to the main event on August 14. The bill was signed in 1935. More...

Social Security News

Social Security releases Vision 2015: long-range plan of service delivery

Subhead says it ‘Ensures a commitment to local field office presence nationwide’

April 27, 2015 – Today the Social Security Administration released a news release cheering Vision 2015, their latest program designed to motivate those who work for the agency. The primary goal, according to Acting Commissioner Carolyn W. Colvin, is to be sure the agency keeps up with changes in technology and society. More...

Social Security News

Raising Social Security retirement to 70 makes sense but penalizes the disadvantaged

Survival to age 65 rose to 84.8% and years lived past age 65 increased to 18.9 between 1983 and 2009.

April 5, 2015 - Adjustments to the retirement age have not kept up with increases in life expectancy or healthy lifespan. The age to receive full Social Security benefits should be closer to 70, according to a report published in the journal Daedalus. But, that change would not be good for those with lower life expectancy. More...

Social Security Q&A

How to manage spousal benefits a common question for Social Security

This week’s questions focus on women, the predominate recipients of Social Security

March 18, 2015 – This week’s Social Security Q&A has two topics that are of particular interest to women, who make up 57 percent of all Social Security beneficiaries age 62 and older. Included is another complicated question abut how to best handle spousal benefits. More...

Social Security News

How much can you earn without losing Social Security income?

March 7, 2015 - Questions answered for seniors  by the Social Security Administration


I am 66 years old, and I have been receiving Social Security benefits since I turned 62.  I am considering working once again.  What is the maximum amount I can earn before my Social Security benefits are affected? More

Social Security News

Seniors can replace Social Security 1099s Online with Personal Account

Agency expands online services and promotes use of my Social Security Accounts

Feb. 2, 2015 – Seniors who lose their SSA-1099 form from Social Security before they need it for their income tax filing can now “quickly and easily” obtain a replacement from the agency’s website using their my Social Security account, according to a news release issued today. More...

Social Security News

Social Security adds four hours per week to nationwide business office service

One hour added each weekday afternoon except Wednesday

Jan. 23, 2014 – Senior citizens and other patrons of Social Security will have four more hours available each week to visit an office. The agency has announced that offices nationwide will be open one-hour longer on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, effective March 16, 2015. All offices will continue to close at noon on Wednesdays. More...

Social Security Q&A

Retirement Estimator at Social Security is Answer Again in Q&A

Nov. 4, 2014 - There are several important tools provided online by the Social Security Administration that can help senior citizens, and even those who have not reached their retirement age, in better planning their retirement. Maybe the most useful is the Retirement Estimator, which is the answer again, this time to a question in this week's Social Security Q&A about deciding when to retire. More...

Social Security News – Other Media

Obama nominee to head Social Security stalled over $300M computer project that doesn't work

Dec. 4, 2014 - President Barack Obama's pick to head the Social Security Administration could be stalled over the agency's handling of a $300 million computer project that doesn't work. A group of Republican senators said Wednesday they will try to block the nomination of Carolyn W. Colvin... Star Tribune

Social Security News – Other Media

To Win the Social Security Game, You Must Know the Rules

Many people may think Social Security is different from other assets, but that's precisely how they should think about it: like any other asset. ABC News

Social Security News

Minimum Social Security COLA of Three Percent Demanded by Senior Citizens League

About $113 Missing from Social Security in 2015, Says The Senior Citizens League

Oct. 23, 2014 – Only a day after Social Security announced a 1.7 percent cost-of-living increase for beneficiaries in 2015, The Senior Citizens League is calling for a minimum increase of 3 percent, which was the average before 2010. The group’s leader, Ed Cates, says benefits of the typical Social Security recipient will be about $5,298 lower by the end of 2015 due to the government not maintaining at least a 3 percent increase. More...

Social Security News

Federal Retires Most Unhappy with COLA, Face Healthcare Cost Hike of 3.8 Percent

President of National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association pleads for change in COLA calculation

Oct. 23, 2014 – Millions of seniors receiving Social Security were probably more than a little disappointed in the small 1.7 percent increase in the benefit for 2015, but retirees from the military and federal employment received the same percentage increase. The problem for the federal employees is a little worse than others due to a 3.8 percent increase in health care premiums for 2015. Medicare for other retirees will have virtually no increase in costs. More...

Social Security News

Social Security COLA for 2015 Will Be 1.7 Percent, Says SSA

Continues trend of very small increases over last few years - about $22 per month average increase

Oct. 22, 2014 – It is a 1.7 percent increase for the 64 millions of Americans – primarily senior citizens - that will be receiving Social Security benefits in 2015, according to an announcement of the cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) by the Social Security Administration this morning. The average recipient will get about $22 more per month. (See all changes for 2015 released by Social Security.) More...

Social Security News

Sixth Years of Record Low COLAs Unprecedented, Says Senior Citizens League

Oct. 20, 2014 - The annual Social Security cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) will remain at record low levels again in 2015, says a new forecast by The Senior Citizens League (TSCL). According to the most recent consumer price index (CPI) data through August, TSCL forecasts that COLAs will be 1.7 percent in 2015. “That would make the sixth consecutive year of record low COLAs,” states TSCL Chairman, Ed Cates. “That’s unprecedented since the COLA first became automatic in 1975,” he notes. More...

Social Security News

Social Security COLA for 2015 Looks Like 1.5, Maybe 1.7, Percent

Posting by Social Security Office of the Actuary looks like Trustees' projection of cost-of-living for next year was correct

Oct. 19, 2014 - Senior citizens are going to receive a Social Security cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) of about 1.5 percent for 2015 according to projections releases today by the Office of the Chief Actuary at the Social Security Administration. Based on current projections the increase could, however, be as high as 1.7 percent or as low as 1.4%. This is also consistent with projection in the Trustees’ Report issued earlier this year. The official pay raise for seniors may be announced as early as Wednesday but no later than October 30. More...

Social Security Q&A

Life Expectancy Calculator at Social Security Can Help Retirement Planning

Social Security provides some information on Medicare Open Enrollment that begins this wee

Oct. 12, 2014 – Did you know that Social Security provides a Life Expectancy Calculator on their website? It can come in pretty handy for planning your retirement and Social Security strategy. It is just one of the top answers in this week’s Social Security Q&A. Another big one is about Medicare Open Enrollment that begins this week and the opportunity for Extra Help. More...

Social Security News

Social Security Seeks Maryland Attorneys for Pro Bono Assistance Pilot

Attorneys get chance to fulfill Court of Appeals’ aspirational goal of providing pro bono services assisting young, elderly, and disabled - may become national program

Oct. 2, 2014 - Implementation of a pro bono pilot in Maryland for attorneys interested in being a representative payee for a Social Security beneficiary was announced today by Carolyn W. Colvin, Acting Commissioner of Social Security. Representative payees, she said, provide crucial help to the most vulnerable individuals in our community with their Social Security and Supplemental Security Income payments. More..

Social Security News

Social Security Opens New National Support Center

Sept. 29, 2014 - Social Security opened a new National Support Center (NSC) today in Urbana, MD., that the agency says is a state-of-the-art data center that will meet the agency’s anticipated IT workloads for at least the next 20 years.

Social Security News

Young Investors More Worried than Seniors About Social Security, Retirement

Older investors have much more confidence in getting their Social Security than those under 50

Sept. 24, 2014 - The latest quarterly survey by Wells Fargo/Gallup on investor confidence has uncovered a surprising focus on the importance of Social Security in the retirement plans of U.S. investors. Most think that with Social Security they will be able to maintain their desired lifestyle throughout retirement. But older investors are much more confident than younger ones in Social Security and their adequate retirement resources.

Social Security News

Social Security to Resume Mailing Statements but Urges Online Service

With my Social Security account statements always available online

September 16, 2014 -Social Security is going to resume mailing statements to those enrolled in the program, a practice they had tried to eliminate. The agency says mailed statements will be sent about once every five years for most workers. But, SSA is still strongly urging all enrollees to create a my Social Security account online to have immediate access to their statement.

Social Security News

Social Security Pushes My Social Security in Honor of Turning 79

This account is a tool people can used to keep up with their Social Security benefits, and more - read brief history

Aug. 18, 2014 – In honor of the 79th Anniversary of the Social Security Act, Social Security is urging Americans to establish a my Social Security account, a personalized online account, promoted as a helpful retirement planning tool. More...


Social Security Opens Disability Anti-Fraud Unit in Michigan

Aug. 16, 2014 - The Social Security Administration, its Office of the Inspector General (OIG), and the Michigan Department of Human Services announced a new Cooperative Disability Investigations (CDI) Unit in Detroit to identify and prevent Social Security disability fraud throughout the State of Michigan.

Citizens who would like to report suspected disability fraud should contact the Social Security Fraud Hotline at; send U.S. Mail to PO Box 17768, Baltimore, MD, 21235; fax (410) 597-0118; or call (800) 269-0271 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday.


Social Security News

Social Security Benefit Verification Available Online but Also in Local Offices

‘We recognize that some members of the public may require in-person assistance and we will have a presence in local communities’

July 17, 2014 – Despite a hard push to encourage seniors and others who need benefit verification letters from the Social Security Administration to obtain them online, the agency today issued a news release confirming that local Social Security offices will continue to provide benefit verification letters. More...

Social Security Q&A

How to Pay Self-Employed Tax Estimate for Social Security, Medicare, More About Benefits

June 21, 2014 - Most of the questions asked in the Social Security Q&A have to do with benefits - when should you take them, how can you estimate them - and it is the same this week. There is an unusual divergence this week, however, as a self-employed person asks about how to pay the estimated tax for Social Security and Medicare.

Social Security News

Social Security Clarifies Policy on Same-Sex Married Couples to Process More Claims

Begins processing many claims in states that do not recognize same-sex marriages or non-marital legal relationships  - Also see 'Sen. Wyden Welcomes Carolyn Colvin to Head Social Security'

June 20, 2014 - Social Security has published new instructions that allow the agency to process more claims in which entitlement or eligibility is affected by a same-sex relationship. These instructions come in response to last year’s Supreme Court decision in U.S. vs. Windsor, which found Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional. 

Social Security Q&A

So You Plan to Pay Back Social Security and Reapply at Your Older Age for Higher Benefits?

You better read this Social Security Q&A column before you get too far along with this plan!

June 3, 2014 – There is a question below in this week’s Social Security Q&A you should read. There is an idea for boosting a retirees Social Security benefit that still gets kicked around, although it has not been allowed for several years, as Oscar Garcia, Public Affairs Specialist with the Social Security Administration, points out in answering a senior’s question. There is also a question from a divorced widow – an area where Social Security can often be confusing. Read more...

Social Security News

New Social Security Unit in N.Y. to Help Detect Fraud in Disability Cases

Group of specialized disability examiners to identify trends, develop strategy for use nationwide

March 31, 2014 – A new unit within the Social Security Administration is being created in New York to identify frauds and detect trends that can help the agency to identify potential fraud in future disability cases across the U.S. Read more...

Social Security Q&A

Social Security Benefits Deducted When You Earn Too Much Can Be Recouped

This week’s Social Security Q&A explains something few beneficiaries understand

March 28, 2014 – Earning over the limit is a common problem for Social Security beneficiaries and probably few understands the actions the agency takes to help them “recoup” benefits deducted before reaching full retirement. It is explained in this week’s Social Security Q&A. It also looks at how some can get Medicare coverage before age 65. Read more...

Social Security Q&A

When Should Boomers Apply for Social Security? Should They Choose Early Retirement?

Your benefit amount is higher if you begin receiving benefits closer to your full retirement age

March 21, 2014 - When can you apply for Social Security benefits and how do you do it? Some rather basic questions answered in this week's Social Security Q&A for boomers who are just becoming old enough. And, there is the major decision for those thinking about applying - should you take early retirement? Read more...

Social Security Q&A

What are Ages for Social Security Early Retirement and Full Retirement?

Social Security Q&A this week answers this and has more information for disabled veterans on faster processing of their application for help

March 15, 2014 – The age for applying to receive Social Security benefits used to be simple, because it stayed the same. Now, the age for receiving full benefits keeps moving higher. But, what about early retirement, a reader asks? The Social Security Q&A has the answer. It also provides more details for disabled veterans on the recent move to “high priority” for disability assistance requests. Read more...

Social Security Q&A

Social Security’s Compassionate Allowances Speed Disability Decision for Desperate Americans

Switching between government non-Social Security employment and that covered by Social Security gets complicated

March 8, 2014 – Many of us who depend on Social Security for helping fund our retirement may forget it also plays a critical role for U.S. citizens who become disabled and are forced into retiring before they are old enough to collect normal benefits. The Social Security Q&A this week answers a question from someone desperate for this help. The column also addresses a frequent concern of those who switch back and forth in work situations not always contributing to Social Security – it gets complicated. Read more...

Social Security Q&A

What is Proper Retirement Portfolio? Social Security Has Tips and Links to Help

Q&A also has details on getting SSA number for child adopted from another country

Jan. 27, 2014 – Too many of today’s senior citizens probably regret they did not start preparing for the financial challenges of retirement much earlier. The Social Security Q&A column this week has some suggestions and references to online sources of help. Read more...

Social Security News

Disabled Veterans to Receive Faster Claims Processing by Social Security

Veterans must have a VA disability compensation rating of 100% P&T and show proof of their disability rating with their VA Notification Letter

Feb. 20, 2014 - Social Security announced yesterday a new initiative to expedite disability claims for veterans with a Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) disability compensation rating of 100% Permanent & Total (P&T).  Under the new process, Social Security will treat these veterans’ applications as high priority and issue expedited decisions, similar to the way the agency currently handles disability claims from Wounded Warriors. The program begins March 17. Read more...

Social Security News

Forget Talk About Cutting Social Security, New Campaign Wants Benefits Increased

National Committee wants to end Congressional efforts to reduce the program and put spot light on making it better

Feb. 10, 2014 - A new campaign to persuade Congress to increase the benefits provided by Social Security was launched last week by the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare. With most of the Congressional efforts in the last few years being aimed at reducing the cost of the program, it may seem, at first, to be at odds with public opinion. But, maybe not. There is considerable polling to show Americans do place great value on Social Security. Read more...

Social Security Q&A

Are Social Security Benefits Taxable? Here is the Bad News from Social Security

Small business owners should know SSA has services online to help complete W-2s

Feb. 6, 2014 - Do you have to pay income tax on the Social Security benefits you receive? The answer in this week’s Social Security Q&A may surprise many. Did you know the Social Security Administration has online help to assist small businesses with their W-2s? Another answer that may be news to many. Read more...

Social Security News

Scammers Using MySocialSecurity Solicitation to Get Personal Information from Seniors

Social Security Q&A also has instructions on how to get your retirement estimate online

Feb. 3, 2014 – The “my Social Security” account has been receiving considerable attention lately, including a complaint from the Social Security Advisory Board that it should not replace the annual mailed paper statement. It has also become a tool for crooks to try to grab personal information from senior citizens online, according to this week’s Social Security Q&A column. There is also information at how to get your retirement estimate online. Read more...

Senior Citizen Politics

New MyRA Retirement Savings Program, Opportunity Agenda Signed by President Obama

Presidential notes that Social Security often is not enough but often no solutions to make it better - see video

By Tucker Sutherland, editor,

Jan. 30, 2014 – President Obama yesterday signed a presidential memorandum to begin his “opportunity agenda, including MyRA, that he calls a “new type of savings bond,” that will help more Americans save for their retirement through automatic payroll deductions. He told workers at U.S. Steel this is the fourth part of the opportunity agenda he introduced the night before in the State of the Union, which is aimed at “making hard work pay off for every single American.” He noted that Social Security is often not enough for a secure retirement. Read more...

Social Security News

Social Security Advised to Return to Mailing Paper Statement by Advisory Board

MySSA online is commendable but advisory board still has three big concerns

By Tucker Sutherland, editor,

Jan. 23, 2014 – There are probably millions of senior citizens cheering the Social Security Advisory Board today after it released a statement yesterday recommending the Social Security Administration return to the practice of mailing an annual Social Security Statement to beneficiaries. That paper statement was discontinued in 2011 and the MySSA online portal was introduced as the way to get information. Read more...

Social Security Q&A

How Much is Social Security Benefit Reduced if You Keep Earning Income: SSA Q&A Has Details

Also, Many may be unaware of Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits for the disabled

Jan. 23, 2014 - Judging by the questions being asked and published by the Social Security Q&A, it seems those wanting to know about benefit reductions due to earning income after filing for retirement benefits is increasing. Oscar Garcia, SSA public affairs specialist, walks through the calculation in this week’s Q&A. He also explains Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. Read more...

Social Security News

New Compassionate Allowance Conditions Added by Social Security for SSI, SSDI Programs

May make many low income seniors eligible for additional benefits

Jan. 16, 2014 – Twenty-five new Compassionate Allowances conditions, including a dozen cancers, bringing the total number of conditions to 225, were announced today by Carolyn W. Colvin, Acting Commissioner of Social Security.  The CLA program expedites disability decisions for Americans with the most serious disabilities to ensure that they receive their benefit decisions within days instead of months or years. This applies to senior citizens – age 65 - or older, blind, or disabled persons (including children) who have limited income and resources who may be eligible for benefits from Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and/or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability programs. Read more...

Social Security Q&A

Does Early Retirement Mean Benefits Reduced Forever; Wife Gets No Credit from Family Business

Many seniors may be surprised by these questions and the answers; things you need to know about Social Security

Jan. 15, 2014 - Two good questions are answered today in the Social Security Q&A by Oscar Garcia, Public Affairs Specialist with the Social Security Administration. A senior wants to know if taking early retirement means the benefit will continue to be reduced. And, a wife wants to know why she is not getting credits for earnings she and her husband earn in joint business. Read more...

Social Security Q&A

Reporting Social Security on Income Tax Return, Benefits as Military Retiree in SSA Q&A

SSA-1099 forms reporting benefit payments for 2013 will be mailed by January 31

Jan. 9, 2014 – Many are surprised they have to report their Social Security benefit on their income tax form, but it is explained by Oscar Garcia, Public Affairs Specialist, with the Social Security Administration in this week’s Social Security Q&A. He also has an answer for a military retiree who wonders if he can also get a Social Security benefit. Read more...

Social Security Q&A

Are Seniors on Medicare Affected by Obamacare? Answer by Social Security May Be Misleading

This week’s Social Security Q&A gives good synopsis of Medicare health coverage but not of impact on senior citizens by Affordable Care Act

Jan. 6, 2014 – In answering a question about changes in Medicare due to the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), Oscar Garcia, Public Affairs Specialist with the Social Security Administration may leave the wrong impression about the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and its impact on seniors and others covered by Medicare. Medicare beneficiaries have received many benefits from this health care law but they do not need to coverage offered in the Marketplace. A clarification is offered by in another article. Read more...

Social Security Q&A

There Are Other Changes in 2014 for Social Security Beneficiaries Along with COLA Increase

When do you get your COLA for 2014?; what else changes next year

Dec. 23, 1013 – Senior citizens in Social Security do get a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) increase in 2014 but there are other changes in the program, too, that are detailed by Oscar Garcia, Informational Specialist with the Social Security Administration, in this week's Q&A on Social Security. He also explains when you can receive spousal benefits, while spouse receives benefits, too. Read more...

Social Security Q&A

How Working After Retirement Age Effects Your Social Security Benefit

There are many ways to get Social Security information other than going to an office

Dec. 11, 2013 - Increasingly, older Americans are choosing to stay in the work force after retirement age. How does continuing to earn an income impact there Social Security benefit? Oscar Garcia, Informational Specialist with the Social Security Administration, has the answer in this week's Q&A on Social Security. Read more...

Social Security Q&A

Strategies for Couples in Choosing How to Receive Social Security Explored in SSA Q&A

Also, how long does it take to get a replacement Social Security card?

Nov. 14, 2013 - There are various strategies on how o tyou receive your Social Security benefits. How to delay your benefits and receive them as a spouse is one of the answers in this weeks Q&A by Oscar Garcia, Informational Specialist with the Social Security Administration. And, he has an easy but important answers about how fast you can replace your card. Read more...

Features for Senior Citizens

More Than Half of U.S. Senior Citizens Would be in Poverty Without Social Security

U.S. Census report uses a new way to look at poverty; finds rate unchanged between 2011 and 2012 for nation

Nov. 7, 2013 - Senior citizens are doing poorly, according to the latest poverty report from the U.S. Census Bureau. The nation's poverty rate for all ages was 16.0 percent in 2012, unchanged from 2011, according to the supplemental poverty measure released yesterday. But more than half of America’s 65 and older (54.7 percent) would be living in poverty if Social Security income was not included in the supplemental poverty measure. Read more...

Social Security News

Retired, Active Duty Military Offered Free Social Security Planning Tool on Veterans Day

On Monday, vets, their widows and widowers can learn how to increase lifetime retirement benefits by $100,000 or more with savvy claiming strategy for social security benefits

Nov. 6, 2013 - This Veterans Day (Monday, November 11), both retired and active duty military and widows and widowers of the fallen are being offered free access to an online tool detailing how to make the most of retirement income from Social Security, with the potential to add $100,000 or more to their lifetime benefits by following a savvy claiming strategy. Read more...

Social Security News

Social Security Says Seniors Get 1.5 Percent Benefit Increase for 2014 - Average Up $19

Average monthly benefit goes to $1,294; up $19 a month

Oct. 30, 2013 - The Social Security Administration this morning announced the cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for 2014 will increase benefits by 1.5 percent next year, one of the smallest increases in history. The average monthly benefit will increase to $1,294 from $1,275 this year. For an average couple the monthly benefit goes to 2,111 from $2,080 this year. Read more...

Social Security Q&A

Social Security Getting Questions About Returning to Work

Also questions about disability, benefits for children and working for federal government

Oct. 29, 2013 – The questions this week for Oscar Garcia, Informational Specialist with the Social Security Administration seem to indicate at least some seniors are considering returning to work. And, as always, many have questions about benefits for their family members. Read more...

Social Security News

Social Security COLA for 2014 Will be Announced Tomorrow: Early Halloween or Christmas

Most experts predict a record low 1.5 percent increase – or less

Oct. 29, 2013 – Halloween may come a little early for senior citizens, but hopefully it will be an early Christmas. The Consumer Price Index for September is due to be released tomorrow at 8:30 a.m. by the Department of Labor Statistics. It is the last number needed to determine the Social Security cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for 2014, which is currently projected to be a small bump of 1.5 percent or less. It was only 1.7 percent for 2013. The Social Security Administration says they will announce the COLA “sometime tomorrow.” Read more...

Social Security News

New National Company to Advise Boomers on When to Take Social Security Benefit

More than 90% of SSA recipients do not maximize benefits because they are unaware of their options; army of advisors to help  72 Million baby boomers

Oct. 24, 2013 – When should I start receiving my Social Security benefit? It is a question asked often and answered very often by financial columnists and spokespersons for the Social Security Administration. Now, a Cincinnati based company is building a business on it. Premier Social Security Consulting, is gathering an "army of advisors" nationwide to educate baby boomers on the most optimal time to access Social Security benefits. Read more...

Social Security News

Social Security COLA Increase of About 1.5 Percent Now Expected on October 30

The cost-of-living allowance for seniors and others on Social Security was delayed due to ‘lapse in funding’ by Department of Labor’s CPI determination

Oct. 18, 2013 – Senior citizens and others on Medicare will find out their pay increase for 2014 on Wednesday, October 30. The Department of Labor says that is the day it will release the Consumer Price Index for September, which is the last number needed to calculate the cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for 2014. Current estimates are an increase of 1.4 or 1.5 percent. Read more...

Senior Citizen Politics

National Council on Aging Tells Congress to Protect Social Security, Medicare

If Congress fails to increase the debt limit key payments to seniors may not be made

Oct. 14, 2013 – The National Council on Aging (NCOA) joined the Leadership Council of Aging Organizations (LCAO) in strongly urging Congress to end the government shutdown and extend the debt limit to December 2014, without putting at risk the Social Security, Medicare, and other benefits that millions of older Americans need to "stay healthy, independent, and secure." Read more...

Social Security News

Chained CPI May Reduce Your Retirement Income; Social Security Advocates Stir Opposition

National Committee, a leader in battle against chained CPI to determine social security COLA, issues study on detrimental impact, provides informational sources

Oct. 13, 2013 – One of the most strident opponents of changing the consumer price index used to calculate the annual cost-of-living adjustment for those on Social Security is The National Committee. It released a study earlier this month on the potential impact with the headline, “…Billions of Dollars and Hundreds of Thousands of Jobs Would Be Lost While Seniors, Veterans and Disabled Put at Risk.” The group’s news release called it a “startling” report. Read more...

Social Security News

No COLA for Seniors on Social Security: Government Shutdown Delays Calculation

Oct. 10, 2013 - The U.S. Department of Labor has issued a short statement saying it will not be issuing the September results for the Consumer Price Index, because of the government shutdown. This means they will not be calculating the cost-of-living allowance for Social Security beneficiaries in 2014. No alternative date was scheduled. Read more...

Social Security News

AARP Study Says $762 Billion Paid by Social Security in 2012 Supported Nine Million Jobs

Organization uses report to also highlight its opposition to chained CPI to determine COLA for Social Security

Oct. 7, 2013 – AARP, one the organizations representing older Americans that has been a staunch defender of Social Security and opponent of the chained CPI for determining the COLA, released a study last week reporting that each dollar paid to Social Security beneficiaries generates nearly two dollars in spending by individuals and businesses, adding about $1.4 trillion in total economic output to the U.S. economy in 2012. Read more...

Social Security News

Senior Citizen League Projecting Small 1.5% COLA for Social Security in 2014

SSA should make it official on October 15, after September CPI is calculated; advocates keeping close eye on chained CPI proposed by Obama, CPI for elderly ignored for years

By Tucker Sutherland, editor,

Oct. 3, 2013 – Senior citizens will get a very small increase in their Social Security benefit next year, according to the current projection by The Senior Citizens League. With only the cost of living change for September to go to complete the calculation, the 2014 COLA (cost-of-living allowance) will be about 1.5%, according to Shannon Benton, Executive Director of TSCL. The official word from SSA is expected on October 15. Read more...

Social Security News

Chained CPI Affects More Than Social Security COLA, Seniors Would Get Less, Pay More

The Seniors Citizens League (TSCL) continues to be an unrelenting fighter to preserve Social Security and the cost-of-living allowance now in place - COLA for 2014 should be announced this month

By Tucker Sutherland, editor

Oct. 2, 2013 – While most of the media attention on the U.S. government is focused on the Republican efforts to defund the Affordable Care Act, and the government shutdown this has caused, many seniors are worrying more about their Social Security and the cost-of-living allowance (COLA) increase that is normally announced in October. And, too, there is plenty of concern about a proposal to change the way the COLA is determined – using a different consumer price index – that most experts predict will significantly decrease these increases. Read more...

Social Security News

Social Security Checks to Keep on Coming in Government Shutdown

Some services and field offices will manage only limited activities

Sept. 30, 2013 – The Social Security Administration has issued its plan for operation if the federal government is shutdown tomorrow (Oct. 1, 2013) by the effort of congressional Republicans to block funding for Obamacare (Affordable Care Act) and, most importantly, checks will continue to be sent to beneficiaries. Read more...

Social Security Q&A

When to Start Social Security Asked Often; What Happens When You Do Not Return Overpayment

There is an easy way and then there are options a little tougher for SSA to recover any overpayment

Sept. 20, 2013 – The often asked questions is answered again by Oscar Garcia, Informational Specialist with the Social Security Administration. He also has answers for a more touchy question - what happens when you do not repay and overpayment from SSA. Read more...

Social Security Q&A

Social Security Joins Others in Government to Meet Supreme Court Order on Same Sex Marriage

Social Security Q&A author also reminds seniors there is help available to pay for Medicare

Sept. 11, 2013 – Social Security, like other government agencies, is scrambling to swing into action to meet the requirements of the Supreme Court decision on the Defense of Marriage Act, which requires that same sex married couples be treated the same as couples of opposite sex. Oscar Garcia of SSA says those who think they are due benefits should apply now. He also reminds seniors there is help for some to pay Medicare premiums. Read more...

Social Security News

Social Security, Medicare adjusting programs to accommodate married gays, lesbians

Social Security pays spouse claims for same-sex couples; Medicare changes nursing home coverage in Medicare Advantage

Sept. 3, 2013 - Social Security and HHS made announcements in August of changes in their programs to meet the demands resulting from the Supreme Court's rejection of the Defense of Marriage Act. Social Security has begun paying spouse claims for same-sex couples and Medicare is providing spousal nursing home care in Medicare Advantage without consideration of sexual preferences. Read more...

Social Security Q&A

Why contribute to Social Security that will not be around when 30-year-old retires?

And, there are easier questions answered by SSA's Oscar Garcia that apply to benefits, which are a lot more important to most senior citizens

Aug. 1, 2013 – In this week’s Social Security Q&A a thirty-year-old wants to know why he should be made to contribute to a plan that is not going to be there when he reaches retirement age. And, a happy contributor to the system wants to know if his benefits will be penalized because his wife does not contribute to the system. Oscar Garcia, public affairs specialist with the Social Security Administration has answers for them all. Read more...

Social Security Q&A

Senior Wants to Know Why Social Security is So Interested in Our Marriage History When We Apply

Another senior needs to show proof of his income from SSA and wants to know if this is available online.

June 12, 2013 - Many options involving Social Security depend on your spouse and Oscar Garcia, public affairs specialist with the Social Security Administration, explains several of them to a senior who wants to know why there are so many questions about spousal history when we apply for benefits. He also tells another senior how to get proof of his benefit online. Read more...

Retirement News

Looming Retirement Crisis in U.S. Prompts Senator to Announce Bill for Secure Retirement

Average family has $3,000 retirement fund says new study  by National Institute on Retirement Security; Sen. Harking wants ‘secure source of income for life’

By Tucker Sutherland, editor,

June 21, 2013 – With millions of retired senior citizens struggling to make ends meet, there appears to be millions more that will soon join them in battling to stay out of poverty in their final years. A report released yesterday showing the average family has just $3,000 in retirement savings prompted Senator Tom Harking (D-IA) to announce he will offer a bill “to give every American access to a retirement fund that will give people a secure source of income for life.” Read more...

Social Security Q&A

Social Security Specialist Answers Questions About Benefits, Explains Latest Trustees Report

An interesting one today - do family members qualify on your record for Social Security benefits only when you die?

June 7, 2013 - Most questions tossed at the Social Security Administration by senior citizens seem to evolve around the amount of the benefit an individual will receive in a variety of situations. Oscar Garcia with SSA answers several of these in this week's Q&A and explains the trustees' annual report on the status of the program. Read more...

Social Security News

Long-Term Survival of Social Security Unchanged in Latest Trustee Report

Downhill slide will begin with 2021; depleted in 2033

June 3, 2013 – There was little news in this year’s Social Security Board of Trustees annual report on the long-term status of the trust funds, since there was no change from last year. Everything is fine until 2021, when the cost of the program seems destined to exceed income. Read more...

Social Security Q&A

How to Fix a Hole in Social Security Work History; Must You Buy Medicare Part A Hospital Insurance?

As more open ‘my Social Security’ accounts there are certain to be more questions for SSA to answer in this weekly Q&A

May 29, 2013 – As more senior citizens and others create personal online accounts at Social Security, there is a natural increase in questions about their records. Oscar Garcia, writing for the SSA Q&A explains what to do if you find part of your work history missing. He also has an answer for a senior wanting to know if they have to buy Medicare Part A – hospital insurance. Read more...

Social Security Q&A

Should You Take Social Security Retirement Early? Here's Answer From IRS Specialist

Q&A also looks at what happens if you take early retirement and then earn more income than is allowed

May 20, 2013 – One of the questions most asked by those nearing Social Security retirement age is about the decision to retire early or wait until reaching full retirement age. It all depends, according to the Q&A by Oscar Garcia of SSA. He also answers a couple of key questions by seniors who took early retirement or disability retirement. Read more...

Social Security News

Senior Citizens Warned of Fake Emails Urging Enrollment in ‘my Social Security’

Popular new personal online accounts available at Social Security now attracting crooks to try ‘phishing’

May 14, 2013 – As a sure sign of the popularity of the new “my Social Security” account, the criminals are using "phishing" E-mails encouraging senior citizens to create an account. Rest assured, any email promoting this are not coming from the agency, according to information from the Social Security Administration. Read more...

Social Security News

Social Security Enters New World of Smartphones and Social Media for Senior Audience

Q&A column also suggests your lowered benefit from early retirement may get a future boost

May 13, 2013 – There is a new incentive to move senior citizens into the age of smartphones: Social Security has a new version of its website designed for mobile devices and is in the social swirl, according to Oscar Garcia, Public Affairs Specialist with SSA in this week’s Q&A. And, there is more good news: when you take early retirement in Social Security your benefit may still get a boost in future years. Read more...

Social Security News

How Does Social Security Determine Your Benefits? Q&A Answers This and More

SSA information specialists tells how to estimate your retirement benefit; explains factors affecting a widow’s benefits; how to apply for disability

April 25, 2013 – Ever wondered how Social Security determines your retirement benefit? Or, wanted to get an idea before you retire of what your benefit will be? These are some basic questions of the program that are answered by Oscar Garcia, Public Affairs Specialist with SSA in this week’s Q&A. For those younger Americans seeking disability under Social Security, he also has answers at the end of this article. Read more...

Senior Citizen Politics

First Public Hearing Underway on Chained CPI Proposed to Slow Future COLA for Senior Citizens

Republican chair of House Ways and Means subcommittee on Social Security issued news release blasting Treasury secretary; in opening says reducing COLA only would be called ‘benefit cut’ in Washington

April 18, 2013 – The first congressional hearing on the budget cuts to Social Security proposed by President Obama is underway. Rep. Sam Johnson (R-Tx), chair of the Social Security panel of the House Ways and Means Committee, released his opening statement and the prepared testimony of witnesses. The Texas Republican also released a news release this morning accusing Treasury Secretary Jack Lew of making “conflicting statements” about the Chained CPI before the full committee. Read more...

Senior Citizen Politics

Ways and Means Draws Bead on Medicare Cuts, Chained CPI to Limit COLA for Social Security

HHS Secretary Sebelius in witness chair today on total budget for HHS, CMS with Social Security proposal the target this Thursday

April 12, 2013 – The Republican lead House Ways and Means Committee has grabbed the lead in questioning President Obama’s 2014 budget proposals for the Department of Health and Human Services, which includes the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius will testify there today and next Thursday the hearing topic will be on entitlement reform proposals, with emphasis on the controversial Chained Consumer Price Index, which will be used to lower cost-of-living adjustments for seniors and others in future years. Read more...

Senior Citizen Politics

Obama Says Budget Proposal Offers ‘Manageable’ Curbs on Medicare Cost, Social Security Benefits

Most media reports say focus of White House is to strike a ‘Grand Bargain’ with Republicans who want to change Medicare into a voucher-style system;  Medicare proposal has one revenue item - higher premiums for couples making more than $170,000 a year

April 11, 2013 - The White House says its budget is a good start toward controlling government entitlement programs by offering proposals to curb the growth of Social Security, Medicare and other federal benefit programs. The budget blueprint, released Wednesday, includes what the president called "manageable" curbs on Medicare spending growth, but GOP congressional leaders were dismissive, while some Democrats and virtually all senior citizen advocacy groups were unsettled. Read more...

Senior Citizen Politics

How Chained Consumer Price Index Proposed by Obama Works to Curb Social Security Benefits

Bureau of Labor Statistics provides a Q&A about inflation calculation that will slow cost-of-living adjustments for senior citizens

April 11, 2013 – The term “COLA” is a part of the Social Security program that has been highly cherished by senior citizens. It stands for “cost-of-living adjustment,” and was the government’s way of being trying to keep retired older Americans from seeing their Social Security benefits eaten away by inflation. Now, the Obama administration has come up with a new way to calculate inflation that will reduce COLA in the future. It is called the chained consumer price index and below is a Q&A on this method provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Read more...

Senior Citizen Politics

Reporters Dig Into Obama Budget and Find Other Proposals that May Impact Seniors

More spending on Medicaid, mental health; replacing current formula for Medicare pay to doctors

April 11, 2013 – Senior citizens have – rightly so – primarily focused on the cuts to Social Security and Medicare in the 2014 budget proposal from the White House that was presented yesterday. Media sources have found other parts of the budget that may also impact many seniors - funding boosts for mental health and food and drug safety, as well as the elimination of the SGR formula to set Medicare physician payment rates. It also delays funding cuts to hospitals that treat the uninsured. Read more...

Senior Citizen Politics

Congress Could Lose Older Voters by  Cutting Social Security, Medicare, Vets Benefits: AARP Poll

Senior advocates seem solid in opposition to cuts expected to appear Wednesday in President Obama’s budget; Congressional call-in on Wednesday

April 8, 2013 – Groups that advocate for senior citizens and senior issues appear to be solid in their opposition to budget moves advocated by Republicans and now supported by the White House that will cut income from Social Security and reduce spending by Medicare. A survey released today by AARP says 84% of American voters age 50 and older oppose the chained CPI proposal for reducing Social Security benefits for years ahead. Read more...

Social Security Q&A

Think of Social Security as Life Insurance Policy You Didn't Know You Had

Social Security specialists points out many survivors could be eligible for benefits; also promotes Retirement Estimator

April 5, 2013 – A surprising number of people may be eligible to receive Social Security survivors benefits, according to Oscar Garcia, Public Affair Specialist with the Social Security Administration. He says, in answer to a question, “Think of your Social Security taxes as a life insurance policy you never knew you had.” He also has some assurances about the agency's Retirement Estimator. Read more...

Social Security Q&A

Social Security Warns Senior Citizens to Be Sure They Are on the Official Social Security Website

Countless consumers victimized each year by misleading advertisers who use "Social Security" or "Medicare" to entice the public to use their services

March 25, 2013 - Thinking you are doing business with Social Security can be a costly mistake when you have been mislead to a website posing as the official government site, says Oscar Garcia, Public Affair Specialist with the Social Security Administration. He also advises prompt notification of a beneficiaries death to another question in this Social Security Q&A. Read more...

Social Security Q&A

Women May Receive Their Earned Social Security Benefit and Another as a Wife

Women need to familiarize themselves with what the program means to them in their particular circumstances

March 11, 2013 - Understanding Social Security benefits may mean the difference between living more comfortably versus just getting by in retirement, especially for married women. Oscar Garcia, Public Affairs Specialist with the Social Security Administration addresses a question about a woman receiving her own work retirement and benefits as a wife. Read more...


Social Security Q&A

Seniors Should Have Received Social Security Statement for 2012; Four Tax Tips from SSA

If you did not get yours you can request it online; Retirement Estimator is just that – an estimator

Feb. 19, 2013 – The Social Security Administrations says seniors should have received their benefit statements for 2012 and Public Affairs Specialist Oscar Garcia adds four tax tips for seniors and answers a key question about the agency’s Retirement Estimator. Read more...


Senior Citizen Politics

Social Security Head: Program Fraying from Neglect

By Stephen Ohlemacher, Associated Press

Feb. 14, 2013 - Outgoing Social Security Commissioner Michael J. Astrue has some parting shots for Congress, the White House and advocates for seniors. They have all "really walked away from Social Security," he says, leaving the program "fraying because of inattention to its problems." Instead of making the hard choices to fix Social Security's financial problems, policymakers "use it as a tool of political rhetoric," Astrue said in an interview with the AP. Read at Yahoo/AP

Social Security News

Social Security Announces New Online Services Available with a "my Social Security" Account

Critical and practical information available to senior citizens with new Social Security personal account - you need a new password if you used the old account

Jan. 31, 2013 – Social Security wants you to open your personal online account to keep up with the information about you that is maintained by the agency. They suggest people sign up for the free "my Social Security" account when they begin working and continue to use it throughout the time they receive benefits. Read more...

Senior Citizen Politics

Senior Citizens Hear Encouraging Words on Entitlements in President's Second Inaugural

'The commitments we make to each other through Medicare and Medicaid and Social Security, these things do not sap our initiative, they strengthen us' - see video

Jan. 22, 2013 – President Barack Obama generally drew praise from senior citizen advocates for the words in his inaugural address yesterday that signaled his commitment to preserve the “entitlement programs” of Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. Read more, see video...

Social Security News

Senior Citizens May Still Receive Social Security Checks in Mail After March 1 Treasury Deadline

Group backed by Envelope Manufacturers Association may have issue headed to a hearing in the House of Representatives

Jan. 21, 2013 – Senior citizens receiving their Social Security benefits by paper check may continue to do so after the March 1 deadline for converting to direct deposit or prepaid credit card, according to a report in the Houston Chronicle and Print Week magazine. “It turns up the checks still will be showing up in the mail after all,” writes Chronicle reporter L. M. Sixel. Read more...

Senior Citizen Alerts

Time Running Out for Seniors to Meet March 1 Social Security Electronic Payment Deadline

Treasury Department urges remaining paper check recipients to make the switch now to direct deposit or a prepaid card - see video

Jan. 8, 2013 – Senior citizens still receiving their Social Security benefits by paper check must take action soon - March 1 is the final deadline by which all remaining federal benefit check recipients must receive their money electronically. That is the date the electronic payment law goes into effect. Read more...

Senior Citizen Politics

Aging Coalition Urges Policymakers: Don't Reduce the Deficit on the Backs of Seniors in Need

Groups representing 60 million older Americans oppose cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security Cost-of-Living Adjustments

Dec. 17, 2012 - The Leadership Council of Aging Organizations (LCAO) - who together represent over 60 million older Americans - expressed grave concerns about proposed cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, the Social Security Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA), and discretionary programs like the Older Americans Act as part of the emerging budget agreement. Read more...

Social Security Q&A

Suspend Social Security to Gain Extra Credits? Survivors Get Benefits at 60, Can Switch at 62

Retirees may find value in different retirement strategies: some are discussed here in Q&A by SSA specialist

Dec. 11, 2012 – Those nearing eligibility for Social Security need to apply early to be sure the benefits begin when needed, says Oscar Garcia, Public Affairs Specialist, SSA, who also offers some ideas on retirement strategies, like suspending retirement benefits and receiving delayed retirement credits. Read more...

Senior Citizen Politics

GOP 'Fiscal Cliff' Plan with Big Reductions in Social Security and Medicare Rejected by White House

$200 billion in savings to come from GOP trick to change way inflation is calculated, thus reducing COLA for Social Security and slow Medicare benefit increases

Dec. 4, 2012 - The House Republican’s made a counteroffer to President Obama’s earlier budget proposal and it that for big cuts in the critical programs for America’s senior citizens – Social Security and Medicare – while still refusing to allow taxes to rise back to previous levels for the wealthiest taxpayers. The While House rejected the plan because it rejects the tax increase and does not meet his "test of balance." Read more...

Senior Citizen Politics

AARP Says 7 in 10 Older Americans Oppose Medicare, Social Security Changes Now

‘Congress should not make last-minute deals that would jeopardize the promise made to current and future generations that they receive the Social Security and Medicare benefits they have contributed…’

Nov.15, 2012 - In an AARP survey fielded immediately following the 2012 election, 70 percent of Americans age 50 or older say that they believe a separate public debate about the future of Medicare and Social Security is needed and changes should not be part of any end-of-year deal addressing the nation’s budget deficit, often referred to as the “fiscal cliff.” Almost all (92%) older Americans also said that it is very important that Washington listen to ordinary citizens when it comes to decisions about Medicare and Social Security. Read more...

Social Security News

Social Security Offices to Close Earlier Due to Budget Squeeze by Congress

Field offices will close daily at 3 p.m. starting November 19; January 2 will begin closing at noon on Wednesdays

Nov. 13, 2012 -Social Security field offices across the U.S. will begin closing 30 minutes earlier on November 19. Employees, however, will still be at work. The agency says the early closing to the public will allow agency staff to process claims work without incurring the cost of overtime, which has been severely limited by reduced funding by Congress. Read More...

Lack of Social Security Awareness Could Be Costing Retirees Thousands of Dollars

Half collecting or planning to collect benefit before full retirement age; more than half not knowledgeable about maximizing benefits; 83% concerned about program

Oct. 31, 2012 – Many older retired Americans do not understand key issues surrounding Social Security, says the BMO Retirement Institute. Consequently, they are losing out on a significant amount of money that could be used to fund their retirement. Read more...

Social Security Says 1.7 Percent COLA for 2013, Modest Bump More Than Expected

Average retired senior will get $21 per month more; retired couple $34

Oct. 16, 2012 - Senior citizens will get a slightly larger cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for 2013 than most people were estimating. The Social Security Administration announced today the increase in the monthly benefit for almost 62 million older Americans will be 1.7 percent. Read more...

Social Security Q&A

How Early to Apply for Social Security? How Does Divorced Wife Apply? SSA Q&A

Signing up can be done quickly from home but time needed for payments to begin; can divorced wife get benefits from ex’s SS and her own later?

Aug. 27, 2012 – Signing up for Social Security today is a snap compared to just a few years ago, when you had to go a Social Security office. It can be done from home today, but Oscar Garcia, Public Affairs Specialist with Social Security says seniors still need to apply early to be sure the benefits begin when they need them. Here are his answers to questions about applying and about applying as an ex-wife. Read more...

Social Security Q&A

Couple of Things Seniors May Not Know About Social Security, Medicare

There are things women in particular should know about Social Security

Aug. 3, 2012 – There are a lot of things most of us don’t know about our senior entitlements – Social Security and Medicare. Oscar Garcia, Public Affairs Specialist with SSA, answers a couple of them here – are benefits calculated differently for men and women, and does Medicare cover us outside the U.S. Read more...

Senior Citizen Politics

Senate Aging Chair Wants Social Security to Better Inform Seniors About Benefits

More information:

Link to GAO report "Retirement Security: Women Still Face Challenges."

testimony by hearing witnesses

video of Senate hearing

GAO on purpose of report on women and retirement

Summary of GAO report

At hearing on Retirement Challenges for Women, Sen. Kohl also pushes for higher minimum benefit

July 26, 2012 – At a hearing of the Senate Special Committee on Aging yesterday - “Enhancing Women’s Retirement Security” - Chairman Herb Kohl, D-Wis., called on the Social Security Administration to do more to help older Americans understand their benefits. Read more...

Social Security Q&A

Spousal and Survivor Benefits in Social Security Create Challenging Decisions

SSA PR specialist has advice on options for spouses and surviving beneficiaries

July 25, 2012 - Some of the most challenging questions about Social Security benefits involve the rights of those eligible for spousal or survivor benefits. Oscar Garcia, Public Affairs Specialist, Social Security Administration provides answers to a couple of the most common of these questions. Read more...

Social Security News

Online Access to Social Security Statement Draws a Million Users

Provides estimates for benefits. It also provides workers as young as 18 a “convenient” way to determine if their earnings are accurately posted

June 29, 2012 – It has been less than two months since the Social Security Administration kicked off the My Social Security program and already a million people have gone online to create and account and view their Social Security statement. Read more...

Social Security Q&A

When Should You Retire Under Social Security? Here is the Agency's View

Popular questions from those who face Social Security retirement decisions are answered by Social Security specialist

May 30, 2012 – Almost everyone nearing the age when they can begin drawing from Social Security under the early retirement provision faces the question – “Should I take early retirement or wait until I reach the full retirement age?” Here a Social Security specialist provides the facts, answers related questions and points the way to more help by Social Security. Read more...

Social Security News

Coalition Says Saving Social Security Critical to Elderly Women, Families

‘Congress should examine the inequities that have created a poverty rate for senior women and widows that is 50% higher than other retirees’

May 14, 2012 – Three advocacy groups joined forces to make a presentation to congressional staff today on their research examining the challenges facing elderly women and their families and the importance of Social Security. Their report, Breaking the Social Security Glass Ceiling, proposes initiatives to ensure Social Security benefits are adequate for all Americans, particularly for women and women of color. Read more...

Retirement News

Couples Retiring in 2012 Need $240,000 for Medical Bills, $20,000 More if Obamacare Overturned: Fidelity

Senior citizens relying on Social Security to pay medical bills will have only 39% of payment left for other expenses

May 10, 2012 - A 65-year-old senior couple retiring this year is estimated to need $240,000 to cover medical expenses throughout retirement, according to the latest retiree health care costs estimate calculated by Fidelity Investments. And, if the health care reform bill – “Obamacare” – is overturned by the Supreme Court, seniors can add another $20,000 to their costs, according to a report by Read more...

Social Security Q&A

Social Security Rep Answers Questions About Help Paying for Medicare Drugs

Also offers information on other questions about Social Security and Medicare - people who never worked, when do payments start,

May 3, 2012 – There may be as much as $4,000 in financial help available to people on Medicare who need help paying for their prescription drugs, according to Oscar Garcia, Public Affairs Specialist with the Social Security Administration. He also answers questions about Social Security for those who have never worked and when a senior’s benefit begins payments. Read more...

Social Security News

Personal Social Security Statements Now Available Online for Your Planning

Simple, easy to use tool for planning your retirement with better knowledge of your Social Security account

May 1, 2012 – Your Social Security account – or statement – is now available online to help in planning your retirement. The program is “simple” and “easy-to-use,” said Commissioner Michael J. Astrue in making the announcement today. Read more...

Social Security News

AARP Says Social Security, Medicare Trustee Reports Show 'Long-Term' Challenges

2012 Reports underscore the need for a national conversation on strengthening retirement security for Americans; action soon by Washington

April 23, 2012 – AARP’s statement on the Social Security and Medicare Trustees Reports for 2012 emphasized that there is time for action on the looming financial crisis for senior citizens and called for a “national conversation on strengthening retirement security,” which is a campaign it recently launched. The statement emphasized Social Security funding appears secure until 2033. Read more...

Social Security Trust Funds’ Survival Projected to be Three Years Shorter Than Last Year

Social Security Trustees annual report to the Congress contains troubling, but not unexpected, projections about Social Security’s finances

April 23, 2012 – The combined assets of the Social Security Trust Funds will be exhausted in 2033 – three years sooner than projected last year by the Social Security Board of Trustees.. At that time, there will be sufficient non-interest income coming in to pay about 75 percent of scheduled benefits they project in their annual report to Congress. Read more...

Big Questions About Social Security: Age to Draw Benefit, Survivor Benefit Amount

The decision for senior citizens about early retirement is a common one; few know how survivor benefits are determined - video on how to enroll online

April 19, 2012 – Social Security is of critical importance to most older Americans, but few really think about it until the time comes to make a decision about when to apply for the retirement payments, which can be as early as three months before turning age 62. What a surviving spouse will receive is another question most never consider until they lose their loved one. Below are answers from a SSA spokesperson and help on getting more information. Read more..See video

Senior Citizen Politics

AARP Program to Draw Seniors into Conversation on Medicare, Social Security

'You’ve Earned a Say’ gives platform for older Americans who have paid into these programs to have a say in their future - see video

March 19, 2012 - AARP leaders at events across the country today announced the launch of You’ve Earned a Say, which the organizations describes as a national conversation about strengthening health and retirement security. AARP says this program is taking the debate about Medicare and Social Security out from behind closed doors in Washington and making sure that all Americans have a voice in the discussion about their future. Read more, see video

Social Security News

Patty Duke Registers Online for Social Security, Medicare in PJs

Patty Duke Show star has volunteered for years to help promote Social Security’s online services to fellow baby boomers - see video

Jan. 23, 2012 - After years of telling people they can apply online for Social Security in their pajamas, Patty Duke has taken her own advice. Duke turned 65 last month and applied online for retirement and Medicare benefits from home. Read more, watch video...

‘Means testing’ to bolster Social Security? It’s already happening.

By Allan Sloan (Washington Post, 3-1-2012)

It’s almost time for one of Washington’s rites of spring: the arrival of the new Social Security trustees’ report. The report, which is usually issued in April, will show Social Security’s finances deteriorating because of a higher-than-projected inflation adjustment for 2012. This is likely to touch off a debate over whether to help fix Social Security’s financial problems by denying retirement benefits to “the rich.” On the surface, this approach, known as “means testing,” sounds great. Eliminating payments to retirees with incomes above a certain level would make more available to folks in need. Those greedy rich need to pay their fair share, right?

But here’s a dirty little secret: Social Security is already seriously means-tested. And my situation shows it.

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Social Security Suspends Online Services for a Day of Maintenance

System maintenance begins Saturday night, ends Monday morning

Dec. 15, 2011 – Online services provided by the Social Security Administration, including such services as applying for benefits online, will not be available from 11 p.m. Saturday until 5 a.m. Monday. The temporary shutdown is due to regular system maintenance. Read more...

Sen. Casey to Close Social Security Loopholes Allowing Philly Basement Case

Basement case suspects held 4 mentally disabled captives while taking their SSA benefits

Dec. 2, 2011 - A bill introduced in the Senate this week will close loopholes in the Social Security system that allowed suspects in the Philadelphia basement case to bilk their captives of their Social Security benefits and avoid police for years. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) says his bill... Read more...

Social Security Launches New Spanish Online Services Matching English Version

TV superstar Don Francisco helps announce retirement and medicare extra help applications at

Nov. 18, 2011 – Social Security’s most popular online services – the applications for retirement and Medicare and for Extra Help with Medicare prescription drug costs - are now available in Spanish. The new online services are available at, which is the Spanish version of Social Security’s award winning website, Read more...

Senior Citizen Politics

Speaker Boehner Moves the Target for Super Budget Cutters to Social Security

Republicans say 'no' to tax hikes but will consider Medicare price increases

Nov. 1, 2011 – Many senior citizens bolstered by advertising and lobbying efforts by AARP and other advocacy groups to protect Social Security and Medicare, may have been lulled into a sleep by the secretive discussions of the super panel considering how to balance the U.S. budget. The gloves came off yesterday, however, as House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) appeared to move the bulls eye squarely on to Social Security and other senior entitlement programs. Read more...

Medicare Announces Premiums for 2012, Part B Increase Just $3.50 Monthly for Most

Most senior citizens will see an increase in Social Security of about $43 in 2012, producing a gain after Part B cost of 39.50 per month

Oct. 27, 2011 – The wait is over. Medicare announced the premiums and deductibles senior citizens will be paying in 2011, which included the increase for the most expensive premium seniors pay, Part B, which many feared would wipe out the cost-of-living increase in Social Security. The news is good, at least for most seniors, the increase in Part B will be just $3.50, which barely touches the $43 COLA increase for the average senior. Read more...

Social Security News

Part B: Expensive Part of Medicare May Squash COLA for Seniors

Announcement due this week - what will it mean to you?

Oct. 24, 2011 - Millions of senior wait for the other shoe to drop…the one they may squash their 2012 increase from Social Security. This year, for the first time in two years, senior citizens and others depending on Social Security will receive a cost-of-living increase for 2012. The other shoe, however, is the cost of Medicare Part B for 2012, which could wipe out the COLA gain. Read more...

Social Security COLA Increase of 3.6 Percent for Senior Citizens in 2012

Cost-of-Living Adjustment is First Since 2009; see details, questions answered by Social Security

Oct. 19, 2011 - After two years without a cost-of-living increase, Social Security will give senior citizens and others on Social Security a 3.6 percent increase in 2012. The SS monthly payment for the average retired worker will go from $1,186 in 2011 to $1,229 in 2012 – an increase of $43, according to the announcement Wednesday. Read more...

Senior Citizen Politics

Group Fighting to Save Senior Citizen Benefits in Social Security, Medicare Finds An Angel - Maybe

GOP appointee to Super Committee, Rep. Fred Upton, says senior benefits should not be cut for those in program

Aug. 20, 2011 – The group that organized earlier this year to protect the Social Security and Medicare benefits of senior citizens –the Strengthen Social Security Campaign – thinks they have found a possible critical ally in a Republican appointee to the new super committee charged with making a big dent in the deficit. Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) says that current Medicare and Social Security beneficiaries should not face any reductions in benefits, according to the SSSC. Read more...

Senior Citizen Politics

Senate Aging Committee Chair Calls for More Screening, Oversight of Guardians

Sen. Kohl releases GAO report showing need for strong screening of those making financial decisions for incapacitated seniors, others

Aug. 11, 2011 – There is a greater need for screening and oversight of guardians appointed to make financial decisions for senior citizens and other adults that are incapacitated – primarily on Social Security - says Senator Herb Kohl (D-Wisc.), Chairman of the Senate Special Committee on Aging. Read more...

Senior Citizen Alerts

Seniors Can Expect All Social Security Payments to be Made on Time

Agency again urges seniors to switch from checks to Direct Deposit

Aug. 2, 2011 - Social Security payments for August 3rd will be made on time and as scheduled, according to Michael J. Astrue, Commissioner of Social Security. Payments for August 10th, 17th, and 24th also will be made as scheduled. Read more...

Social Security News

Congressional Budget Cut Forces Social Security Offices to Begin Closing Early

All field offices will close 30 minutes earlier each day

July 22, 2011 – A one billion dollar cut by Congress in the Obama budget proposed for Social Security will cause the agency to begin closing field offices nationwide to the public 30 minutes early each day. The new hours will begin on August 15, according to an announcement today by the commissioner. Read more...

Senior Citizen Politics

Senior League Flatly Opposes Social Security Cuts for Those 50+, But Cites Alternatives

Proposals include raising payroll tax cap, raising retirement age, adding public workers

July 18, 2011 – The Senior Citizens League (TSCL) makes clear its opposition to benefit cuts in Social Security that would impact any Americans age 50 or older, but says there are alternatives to reduce the budget in less painful ways. Read more...

Senior Citizen Politics

AARP Fights Back Against Charges of Giving In on Cuts to Social Security; Launches TV Ad

AARP TV ad fighting cuts to senior programs. See video

CEO reaffirms opposition to cutting Social Security, asks seniors to pledge help in fight; AARP kicks off TV ad urging protection for SS and Medicare

June 20, 2011 – The Wall Street Journal stirred up a storm last week when it quoted in a news story AARP’s policy director John Rother saying the senior advocacy group was dropping its objection to cutting Social Security benefits. AARP CEO A. Barry Rand fired back that the report was inaccurate and that AARP has not changed its position on Social Security. Read more, see video

Social Security News

Social Security Trustees Project Trust Fund Exhaustion One Year Sooner

Senior citizen advocacy groups not alarmed by 2036 deadline, see time for fix

May 15, 2011 - The Social Security Board of Trustees late Friday (May 13, 2011) released its annual report on the financial health of the Social Security Trust Funds and said they will be exhausted in 2036, one year earlier than projected last year.  one year sooner than projected last year. Most senior advocacy groups were not alarmed (see comments below news report). Read more...

Senior Citizen Alerts

Treasury Retiring Paper Check for Social Security, Other Benefits; Saves $1 Billion

Seniors, others currently receiving federal benefits by paper check must switch to direct deposit by March 1, 2013.

April 27, 2011 – Starting on May 1, the U.S. Treasury will switch to an electronic payment method for Baby Boomers and others signing on for Social Security, veterans’ affairs payments or other benefits. Senior citizens and others currently receiving their federal benefits by paper check must switch to direct deposit by March 1, 2013. The move is projected to save taxpayers $1 billion over ten years. Read more...

Senior Citizen Politics

Obama Budget Plan Cuts Deficit by $4 Trillion, Strengthens Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security

Around two-thirds of budget is spent on Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and national security - watch video

April 13, 2011 - President Barack Obama on Wednesday shared his plans to cut the deficit by $4 trillion in 12 years, which, according to a fact sheet distributed by the White House, includes saving $480 billion in health care costs by 2023. Obama proposes holding Medicare cost growth down by strengthening the Independent Payment Advisory Board and making Medicaid more flexible without using block grants. And, about the other program vital to senior citizens, Social Security, his fact sheet said, “No current beneficiary should see the basic benefit reduced; nor will we accept an approach that slashes benefits for future generations.” Read more....

Senior Citizen Politics

President to Outline Strategy to Make Entitlements More Secure for Senior Citizens

President Obama lays out his budget reduction plan on Wednesday, to change course for Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security

April 11, 2011 – Still reeling from the Republican proposal to severely cut Medicare and Medicaid and to push Medicare toward a private insurance program, senior citizens are now bracing for cost reduction proposals for entitlement programs expected on Wednesday from President Barack Obama. Read more...

Senior Citizen Politics

Senate Leader Reid to Help Kickoff Nationwide Effort to Protect Social Security

National advocacy group plans week of activities, new radio spots, use of social media

March 28, 2011 – A news conference and rally featuring Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will be held in Washington today to kickoff a nationwide mobilization effort by the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare. It is part of the group's “Hands Off Our Social Security Campaign.” Read more...

Putting Senior Citizens Back to Work Popular Way to Help Social Security Medicare

Even senior citizens like this idea and the idea for increasing eligibility age says Harris Poll

March 9, 2011 – Persuading you (senior citizens) to go back to work, or continue to work, is a popular idea with most Americans for making Medicare and Social Security more financially viable, according to a new Harris Poll. But, guess which age group likes this idea the most – older people. The public and the seniors also likes the idea of raising the age for joining these programs. Read more...

Why Social Security Isn't a Problem for 26 Years, and the Best Way to Fix It Permanently

Social Security isn't responsible for federal deficit - just the opposite. Until last year it took in more than it paid out. It lent the surpluses to the government

By Robert Reich, former Secretary of Labor

Feb. 26, 2011

Nearly Half of Senior Citizens Receiving Smaller Social Security Checks in 2011

New survey finds lack of COLA hurting seniors as over 60% see their expenses rise, Medicare premiums reduce checks

Feb. 3, 2011 - Forty-four percent of seniors are receiving lower Social Security checks this year compared to 2010, while even more are dealing with significantly higher expenses. The findings come from an annual survey of elderly Americans, released earlier today by The Senior Citizens League (TSCL), which claims to be one of the nation's largest nonpartisan senior citizens advocacy groups. Read more...

Social Security Finds Later Retirement Age Reduces Benefits, Costs but Increases Poverty

'Distributional Effects of Accelerating and Extending Increase in the Full Retirement Age,' a policy brief, finds pluses and minuses in raising the retirement age

by Glenn R. Springstead, Social Security Office of Retirement Policy

Jan. 28, 2011 - This policy brief analyzes the distributional effects of increasing Social Security's full retirement age (FRA), the age at which Social Security pays full unreduced benefits. Under current law, the FRA is 66 years for newly eligible beneficiaries and is scheduled to increase incrementally to 67 years between 2017 and 2022. Read more...

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