Q. In the future, will older workers experience more years of disability?
A. Possibly. For instance, we know that the number of workers receiving Social Security Disability Insurance is expected to rise as the age for full retirement benefits rises. Disability Insurance ends at full retirement age, at which time the monthly benefits the disabled individual receives are converted into retirement benefits. Since 2005, the full retirement age has been 66. For those reaching age 62 after 2022, the full retirement age will rise to 67. When full retirement age reaches 67, disabled workers will have remained on the disability rolls up to two years longer than at present.
Q. Our Social Security checks are deposited the 3rd of the month. Are they for the month of deposit, or the previous month?
A. Social Security benefits are always received in the month following the month for which they are due. For example, the benefit you will receive in May is for the month of April.
Q. I am 61, in excellent health, make a substantial salary and plan to keep working for 10 (+ or -) years. At what age should I file for my Social Security benefits to obtain the most income over the years from those payments?
A. While this is a difficult question to answer on an individual basis, in general, you may want to consider claiming your Social Security retirement benefit no later than the month you reach age 70. That is the month your benefit reaches its maximum. Delayed retirement credits of 8 percent per year will increase your benefit from the month you reach full retirement age through the last month you are age 69. If you claim benefits at an earlier date, you will receive a smaller payment than if you delay claiming until 70.
Delayed retirement credits are the opposite of early retirement reductions. Early retirement benefit reductions and delayed retirement credits are roughly actuarially fair based upon average life expectancy. In effect, considering the time value of money, the same dollar value is received whether benefits begin at age 62, at age 70, or any month in between. Earnings over the annual Social Security earnings limitation would limit your option to begin reduced, early retirement benefits. There is no limit on earnings once full retirement age is reached. You may want to begin benefits when you reach full retirement age if you are married and your spouse could be entitled to a benefit based on your Social Security earnings record.
Q. We know that every day, people who have worked for 20 or more years die before reaching 65. What happens to all of that money?
A. Payroll taxes not needed for immediate benefit payment remain in the Social Security trust funds. Social Security is not only a retirement and disability insurance program. Social Security protects the dependents and survivors of retired, disabled or deceased workers. The FICA payroll taxes paid by workers who do not live to retirement age or who do not recover their own contributions make possible Social Security’s wide range of family benefits. Over four million young or disabled adult children receive monthly benefits as dependents of retired, disabled or deceased workers. Nearly three million retirement-age spouses and five million widows who have not earned their own benefit receive a check based on the working spouse’s earnings. Numerous wives and widows and some husbands and widowers who have earned their own benefit receive partial spouse and survivor benefits because their own benefit is less than the benefit they are entitled to receive as a spouse or surviving spouse. In addition, nearly 1,700 dependent parents of deceased workers receive Social Security retirement benefits.
Q. My father-in-law is 77. He receives Social Security benefits and plans to marry. His intended receives her deceased husband’s benefits. Do they lose either benefit after marriage?
A. If your father-in-law and his fiancée choose to marry, there will be no change whatsoever in either of their Social Security benefits. Marriage or remarriage never affects a worker’s own Social Security benefit. Marriage after age 60 (50, if disabled) never affects a widow’s or widower’s right to a survivor benefit based on a prior marriage.
Q. I started taking Social Security in February of this year and now realize it may not have been the best decision. Once Social Security monthly benefits are started is there any way for me to change my mind and delay receiving benefits and, if so, what do I need to do to accomplish that?
A. Since it is less than a year since you began benefits, you are entitled to withdraw your original application for benefits. To exercise that option you must repay the benefits received thus far. When you again want to receive benefits, you would submit a new application.
Q. I turned 65 and my Social Security check was reduced $105 for Medicare coverage. Will my next COLA increase be based on the amount of money I was receiving prior to the Medicare reduction or the amount after the reduction?
A. Social Security Cost-of-Living Adjustments (COLAs) are based on the full Social Security monthly entitlement before the Medicare premium is withheld