Social Security: Did You Know? (Part 1)
|February 16, 2017||Posted by Marcia Mantell under General, Retirement Resources|
Wow, the misconceptions and mistakes people have around Social Security are shocking. There is a dizzying amount of information that you’ll need to know to make the best possible claiming decision. The implications of your decision are long-lasting and directly affect your hard-earned savings. Yet, most people seem to throw up their hands to just grab and go at age 62.
The two entitlement programs, Social Security and Medicare, are wildly complicated in and of themselves. Add the mystery of what might happen to the programs—both of which need some shoring up if they are to remain solvent for the next 50 years—and it’s no wonder we have no idea how to tackle our retirement claiming strategy.
To help you get your arms around the all-important Social Security topic, I’ll post several “Did You Know?” articles during the year. If there is a particular topic you’d like help with, just let me know and perhaps I can cover that in a future blog post.
Did you know Social Security and Medicare are integrated under the Social Security Act? They are essentially two parts of the same law. The latest print edition was in 2013, and at that time there were more than 1,450 pages of the laws and regulations. Just for these two programs! The important take-aways here are:
- The Social Security Administration (SSA) is your single destination for applying for both programs.
- You direct most of your Medicare questions to the SSA.
- And, you may be surprised to find that your Social Security payment is less than you expected. That’s because your Medicare Part B premiums will be automatically deducted from your Social Security before you receive your payment.
From time to time, I have the opportunity to run full-day retirement readiness workshops. One of the tools I’ve developed to help those who attend is a Social Security Scavenger Hunt. Follow the hints and clues on the Scavenger Hunt to find the basic information you need to get started. Good luck and feel free to send me questions. If you are in doubt about a specific topic, you can be sure others feel the same way! You can download the PDF for your own fun as your discover the Social Security website. SSA.gov is your most important resource for starting to tackle this program.
Important first steps in getting to know and understand Social Security:
- Download the Social Security Scavenger Hunt. Use it as an initial guide to take a look around SSA.gov. There are thousands of pages of content, so getting focused on what you need will make it all less daunting.
- Make sure to set up your own mySocialSecurity account. This is where you’ll access your statement and you’ll receive timely email updates from the SSA plus their blog about interesting Social Security topics.
- Print and review your statement for accuracy. You can make corrections to your date of birth, address, and name, but you’ve only got 3 years, 3 months and 15 days to correct incorrect wage records. (Yes, that really is the rule!) However, if you have W-2s or other proof of earnings, you can go to the SSA to request a correction that goes back further.
Keep coming back for additional helpful information on Social Security and many other retirement topics and stories!