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SOCIAL SECURITY

Expect less from Social Security

>> The folks at the Social Security Administration tell us your payments in 2010 may stay the same or actually go down, for two reasons: First, there hasn’t been much in the way of inflation, so there’s no reason for your payments to go up. Second, Medicare Part B premiums, which are deducted from your payment, will probably rise. So if you have Part B, you can expect a slightly smaller check.

For maximum survivor benefits

>> How can you be sure your spouse will get the maximum survivor benefit allowed by the Social Security Administration? What determines the size of that benefit? You need to get the right answers to these questions, because the wrong answer could cost your spouse many thousands of dollars.

Self-defense: There are two vital steps to assure your spouse gets the maximum benefit: One is to learn his or her “full retirement age.” The Social Security Administration uses this term to refer to when a person is entitled to collect his or her full retirement benefit, not the survivor benefit, which is often a different number. Your spouse can look up his or her age for full retirement benefits at www.ssa.gov/retire2/retirechart.htm

With that fact known, the second step to maximizing survivor benefits is simple: Your spouse avoids taking survivor benefits until he or she reaches “full retirement age.” If the survivor benefit is taken before that age, your spouse will not get the maximum benefit. The Social Security Websites offer lots of good information, but in case you’re still not clear, you can call 800-325-0778.

 

Getting the best deal from Social Security.

 

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