SSA Warns of Phone Impersonation Scheme

Oct 19, 2018 /

The Social Security Administration issued a warning October 10 about an ongoing Office of the Inspector General (OIG) impersonation scheme. The scheme echoes a pattern where thieves pretend to be from government agencies, like those involving scammers posing as callers from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

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SSA and CMS Make Big Announcements

Oct 16, 2018 /

The big announcements are here! The Social Security Administration recently released the official cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for 2019, and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced 2019 premiums.

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Good News and Bad News For Health Care Costs in Retirement

Oct 12, 2018 /

Americans planning for retirement will find both positive and negative news in HealthView Services’ 2018 Retirement HealthCare Costs Data Report. The projections for health care costs in retirement are a little lower than last year’s report, but legislative changes to Social Security and Medicare have eliminated strategies that increased lifetime benefits and elevated the number of retirees who face Medicare surcharges. The long-term trend of cost-shifting health-related expenses to retirees continues.

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Social Security Around the World

Oct 9, 2018 /

You’ve probably heard a lot about Russia lately, but not this: a pension reform bill increasing the retirement age from 55 for women and 60 for men to 60 and 65, respectively. From an American point of view, one might be surprised that the retirement age was ever this low in the first place, or that retirement ages were and still remain different for men and women. Additionally, there is no early retirement option. Globally, this is not unusual.

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Americans Retiring Later to Boost Social Security Benefits

Oct 5, 2018 /

Something significant is happening in Social Security: People are retiring and taking their benefits later. These trends are at least in part the consequence of policy changes made in the early 1980s that were purposefully delayed in their implementation.

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Early Retirement More Costly for Women

Oct 2, 2018 /

Women who retire when their husbands do may be giving up more wealth than they realize. Married women overall are still in their peak earning years in their 50s and early 60s, while married men’s earnings are on the decline, said economist Nicole Maestas, an associate professor of health care policy at Harvard Medical School and the author of a recent study about couples’ income and retirement patterns. She analyzed the University of Michigan’s Health and Retirement Survey of more than 20,000 people 50 and older.

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SSA Stepping Up Enforcement of Benefits Reductions

Sep 28, 2018 /

The SSA “has made progress” in increasing its enforcement of two benefit offsets that commonly apply to federal employees—the government pension offset (GPO) and the windfall elimination provision(GPO)—but still is making overpayments and should consider acting to recover the excess, an audit has said.

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Accounting for Social Security Claiming

Sep 25, 2018 /

A new paper from the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College examines why most individuals claim Social Security benefits before the full retirement age. Early claiming results in a substantial reduction in pension income, yet many people claim as early as possible, age 62, or soon thereafter. Since delaying claiming is equivalent to purchasing additional annuity income, this behavior is consistent with the so-called annuity puzzle.

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Democratic Lawmakers Launch Expand Social Security Caucus

Sep 21, 2018 / 1 Comments

More than 150 Democratic lawmakers on Thursday launched a group aimed at protecting and expanding Social Security benefits. The group of progressive Democrats, known as the “Expand Social Security Caucus,” is being led by Senate co-chairs Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and House co-chairs John Larson (D-Conn.), Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.) and Conor Lamb (D-Pa.).

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Social Security is the Government Program That Lifts the Most People Out of Poverty

Sep 18, 2018 /

It should come as little surprise as the baby boomer generation ages into retirement, but Social Security overwhelmingly lifts the most people out of poverty than any other government program. That’s according to the Census Bureau’s supplemental poverty measure released last week, which tries to take into account the government programs designed to assist low-income families and individuals that are not included in the official poverty measure.

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Social Security’s Growing Inequality

Sep 14, 2018 /

According to new analysis from the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, big gains in life expectancy among the richest Americans, compared to much more modest ones for the less well off, have given the wealthy more time to collect Social Security benefits.

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3 Steps to Worry-Free Splurges for Retirees

Sep 11, 2018 /

Several of your clients likely have told you about their dreams for retirement: a luxury vacation with their adult children and grandchildren; photography classes and special equipment they’d like to upgrade; or a new swimming pool with professional landscaping to create a true backyard retreat. Of course, each of these dreams carries a hefty price tag. While some people can easily afford to cut a check, some feel guilty or selfish about spending the money. It can feel wasteful, and they fear such a large expense means they’ll need to sacrifice down the road. So how do you know if it’s OK to create your grand experiences? One advisor shares her thoughts.

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SSA Seeking A Virtual Assistant

Sep 7, 2018 /

In a recent solicitation, the Social Security Administration said it is looking for virtual assistant customer service support software that incorporates artificial intelligence and machine learning to allow for conversational interactions with clients and deliver a better self-service experience.

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What Are the Social Security Trust Funds, and What Exactly Is In Them?

Sep 4, 2018 /

In spite of it being such a crucial cog to retirees’ bottom lines, there’s a lot that seniors, and the American public as a whole, just don’t understand about Social Security. Let’s look at what we might call Social Security’s heartbeat—its Trust funds—and explain what they are, how they get funded, and where the money that’s collected winds up.

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SSA Adds 5 Medical Conditions to Compassionate Allowances

Aug 31, 2018 /

The Social Security Administration uses the Compassionate Allowances (CAL) program to help them identify and fast-track cases where people have diseases that are most likely to be approved for disability benefits. It recently announced the addition of five severe health conditions to those that receive quick attention.

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No Cats, No Sleepovers: Boomers Become Housemates

Aug 28, 2018 /

Demographic and economic shifts are reshaping what the golden years look like for baby boomers. Many are realizing they haven’t saved enough for retirement. They are less likely to be married than in years past. At the same time, a historic shortage of homes is pushing up housing costs. Many are turning to an old solution: roommates.

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How Should Social Security Adjust?

Aug 24, 2018 /

How to “fix” Social Security has been a hotly debated topic for decades and likely will continue to be so for many years to come. The problem of funding is compounded by the fact that Americans are now living longer, requiring benefits for more years. The Urban Institute has released a new online tool and report discussing how Social Security should adjust for increased longevity. From the report:

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Millennials Helping Boomer Parents Manage Finances

Aug 21, 2018 /
Since millennials (men and women age 22 to 37) are just getting started managing their money and launching their careers, many of their boomer parents are giving them financial advice. But here’s a twist: Some millennial kids are trying to help their parents get a better handle on money, arranging for their moms and dads to meet financial advisers. Read more ...

Boomer Employment Options Improving

Aug 17, 2018 /

It’s not difficult to find baby boomers out in the job market who will tell you that they have fewer employment options than they used to. The turning point occurs around age 55. According to a recent study, only 4% of people in their early 50s who find a new job are moving into what the researchers label as “old-person jobs”—that is, jobs in occupations that disproportionately employ older workers. The share in these jobs increases sharply, to 13%, by the time they reach their late 50s and to 22% in their early 60s.

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5 Social Security Truths

Aug 14, 2018 /

Statistics show that most retirees will rely at least somewhat on Social Security to make ends meet. Yet if you have been interacting with clients around the topic at all, you know there are plenty of myths and misconceptions. Perhaps you've even fallen for some of them yourself. Here are five concrete truths about Social Security that you can take to the bank. Hopefully none of them are a surprise to you, but you might be surprised how many clients believe the myths.

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