Shining a light on a murky election-year Social Security debate

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In North Carolina, a television ad attacks incumbent Democratic Senator Kay Hagan for supporting a “controversial plan” that “raises the retirement age” for Social Security. The ad comes from Crossroads GPS, the super PAC run by Republican Karl Rove. A Republican attack on a Democrat for cutting Social Security benefits? It’s just one instance where […]

Timing your Social Security filing: Where to get assistance with the big decision

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Deciding when to file for Social Security is one of the most consequential financial decisions most Americans will make about their retirement. Opting to claim benefits early, at the Full Retirement Age (FRA), or later can mean hundreds of thousands of dollars in higher–or lower–lifetime benefits for a married couple. But Social Security’s rules are […]

When can the government garnish your Social Security?

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It’s a rude awakening for a growing number of seniors: They file for Social Security, then discover that the federal government plans to take part of their benefit to pay off delinquent student loans, tax bills, child support or alimony. The practice came under a spotlight this month when the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) […]

A landmark law at 40: How well is ERISA protecting workers’ retirements?

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Every American who has retired with economic security – or hopes to – should know these two dates in our history: August 14, 1935, and September 2, 1974. The Social Security Act was signed into law by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1935, and 40 years ago today President Gerald Ford signed landmark pension reform […]

How to interpret your Social Security benefit statement

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The Social Security Administration will be mailing annual benefit statements for the first time in three years to some American workers. That’s good news, because the statements provide a useful projection of what you can expect to receive in benefits at various retirement ages, if you become widowed or suffer a disability that prevents you […]

The truth about Social Security and Medicare, straight from the trustees

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If you worry about the future of Social Security and Medicare, this is the week to get answers to your questions. The most authoritative annual reports on the long-term health of both programs were issued on Monday, and while the news was mixed, there are reasons to be encouraged about our two most important retirement […]

Twitterverse has questions about retirement; we’ve got answers

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The Twitterverse has questions about retirement. What’s the best way for young people to get started saving? Are target date funds good or bad? Should we expand Social Security to help low-wage workers? Those are just a few of the great questions I fielded during a retirement Tweet-up convened this week by my colleagues at […]

Hello, Congress: Americans want a strong Social Security system

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Political polarization is at a historic peak. Americans are divided on gun control, abortion, healthcare and privacy, according to a study released last month by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press documenting our increasing ideological rigidity and partisan antipathy. Then there’s Social Security. The public is worried deeply about the finances […]

Retirement and same-sex couples, a year after DOMA ruling

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Something big happened in the world of retirement benefits a year ago today: The U.S. Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act. The court’s recognition of marriage equality has transformed life for many same-sex couples. In the realm of retirement benefits, the DOMA ruling opened the door for couples to receive spousal benefits […]

Senate turns up heat on cuts in Social Security offices, services

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Until earlier this year, there was a Social Security field office in Gadsden County, Florida, in the state’s panhandle. It’s the kind of place where seniors need to get in-person help with their benefits rather than pick up a phone or go online. “Our poverty rate is nearly double the state average, and we trail […]