62 thoughts on “Skip the Trip! Retire Online

  1. They want to raise the retirement age for Social Security again. When are the going to raise the age for SSI for people over 65?

  2. Forget receiving assistance in the Social Security office, no help in there, retire online, reps were not helpful or knowledgeable, waste of taxpayers money.

    • Not true. Their staff was very helpful in Delaware when I applied for SS benefits in 2010 when I was abut 65. I guess you may just have been unfortunate to be attended by maybe a new recruit? Eventually you do get benefits of the system that is due to you if you had contributed to it.

    • It would be great to get a raise for dissenting! It took me quite a while to figure out you meant decent 🙂 The COLA should never be less than the Medicare premium increase. This year, there was basically no COLA at all since the Medicare premium ate it up.

      • Medicare cannot be increased if there is no COLA to the Social Security benefits. .03% increase in benefits and 5% or more in Medicare premiums.

  3. Since contribution didn’t start until 1937, Ida May couldn’t have contributed for more than 3 years, yet she received benefits for 35 years. After seeing the contribution to payout differential for Ida May, you would have thought the geniuses in Washington would have figured out this Ponzi scheme is not sustainable. If there is any hope of saving social security, they will need to raise the eligibility age, increase contributions and decrease benefits.

  4. Yes, the current SSI is not sustainable. Either current workers must be allowed to choose the way their future retirement dollars are invested.

    Hopefully, the new Adminstration and President Trump will allow the American worker to have a say in how their deducted amounts are protected and allowed to get market rate increases in value. The previous President did nothing to address this problem.

    • Social Security gives a guaranteed return of 8%. What other investment offer this.?
      President Obama saved social security &Medicare. Trump will destroy both.

        • I remember years when my stocks lost almost 50% of their value – social security is a solid safety net. Most people don’t have the discipline to save long term, and with the removal of fiduciary responsibility to the saver, stockbrokers will be the only one making money in those markets.

          • We are all little people before and after elections. I agree taking the CAP off of contribution limits would be a help. There still is a lot of money here and more than a few would love to raid what is in there. You put in the funds, dont let someone talk you out of them.

      • Congress is way ahead of you. They voted on whether to end Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid the second Tuesday in January. Lucky for everyone here who is on any of these programs, the vote was 11 to 11, although 2 Republicans were absent – who would have who voted with their party to end the programs. (One was Jeff Sessions; had he not been tied up in a confirmation hearing, you wouldn’t be griping about Social Security and Medicare anymore because they’d be gone.)

        This information is available to everyone on the Congressional Reports website; all bills that are proposed are here from day of introduction to final passage (or failure) and you can see every action throughout the process; who sponsored a bill, all changes and amendments, and the results of the votes (who voted “yea” or “nay”). Congress.gov is the site. For laws already passed you can also go to Federalregister.gov. Just FYI, Congress has already passed dozens of bills so far this year reversing laws already in place, and currently there are are over 28,000 bills in progress, from both last years’ Congress and this one.

        Its definitely worth taking a look at- while we’re still able to. Congress is writing up all the bills they’ve been dreaming of to eliminate all social programs, protections, and benefit of any kind for the average American as fast as they can and Trump is signing everything they send to his desk.

  5. Before I retired a couple of years ago, I researched my SS eligibility on line and learned the answers to all my questions that way.
    However, I was not successful in setting up the MySocialSecurity account because the web site would not accept the answers that I gave to the “security questions” intended to verify my identity.
    I was able to set up an appointment on-line for my local SS office. I then took the necessary documents to my appointment, where they accepted my application documents for benefits and set up the MySocialSecurity account for me. The service at the local office was fine. The waiting room was almost full, but the process still moved quickly.

  6. One of the SS recipients with whom I was debating in 1989-90 about the impending insolvency of the Social Security and Medicare programs had then been retired for 5 years. I showed her that she had already collected more than she had contributed. She shrugged her shoulders at me and said, “So what?” She is still alive. No solution to this problem except putting able-bodied 90-year-olds back to work.

    • Most people, will, receive more than they actually put in. But a few points to take into consideration that most people don’t realize. 1) Not only do you put in 6.2% of your gross salary your employer matches it with another 6.2%. an amount they could give you for retirement if not for SS. If you’re self employed you pay all the 12.4%. 2) The average retiring (66) worker puts into SS about $50,000 in a lifetime that is matched with another $50,000 from their employer. Yes $100,000 and the average person receives about $1200 in benefits a month. A) the accumulation of the $100,000 if put in a retirement IRA at the overall yearly market average of 3.5% would be worth over $250,000 at retirement. B) Including a 1.5% raise in benefits and a 3.5% market gain. That person could start pulling $1200 month out over the next 25 years (with an average yearly increase of 1.5%), totaling $421,000 and still have over $115,000 left in their IRA, with their final benefit of $1,700 month. The miracle of compound interest. So yes, the average person would retire with $100,000 given to SS and pull out $421,000 till age 90, BUT invested they would have had access to $571,000 and $115,000 of that left to family. 3) The more you put in the less your % of return. Minimum monthly distribution for someone who only works the minimum $1260 a quarter for life (part time, and this isn’t too many people but we are talking minimum payout required by SS. Also all benefits are calculated on a then year basis for prior years), that’s $5040 salary a year for 35 years (input into SS would be ~$14,200). Their payout is $830 a month for a single. They definitely do pull out more than put in. Since 1973, the Social Security Administration has used an alternative way of determining benefits for low-income retirees known as the special minimum benefit. Basically, it uses a worker’s “years of coverage” to establish a minimum Social Security payment, not their earnings. For a person at the upper limit salary $118,500 they pay in with employer match, over a lifetime, about $330,000 (in an interest bearing IRA they would have about $570,000 at retirement) yet they get a check for $2640 a month. Quick math shows without interest, the low one on the totem pole gets 830/14,200 = .0584 of their input back per month, the average person gets 1200/100000 =.012 of their input back per month, yet the highest person gets 2640/330000 = .00745 of their input back per month.

      • Bill you did a nice copy and paste but your statement about your employer giving you the 6 percent they are lawfully bound to give SS to the employee is often not going to happen. That money is going back to the board room.

        If the board rooms were fair in the first place, this safety net wouldn’t have needed to be created. Board Rooms dont do the right thing by employees they do what is good for themselves….That is Business sense.

        taking the cap off the upper limit would be very helpful. but this notion of others getting more than their share is bogus, cause everyone needs a share. not no share at all

        • Ahh… where do you get this idea that the money goes to the Board Room?

          As a company owner, I cut a check that went directly to the IRS for it’s 1/2 of the required payment (in addition to the employees other 1/2).

  7. Would love to apply on line but had to reset password twice because each reset resulted in a denial of access! Get it together as….10,000 people a day applying for benefits aren’t making your jobs with limited staffing any easier. Get the IT people on the ball! Respectfully, submitted.

    • We apologize for any inconvenience. If you have trouble creating or accessing your account, please call 1-800-772-1213 for assistance. After you hear “Briefly tell me why you are calling,” say “Help Desk” for help with a my Social Security account. The help desk will be available to callers between 7:00 a.m. and 12:00 a.m. (Eastern Time). Thank you for using our online services!

      • good luck with that. the website is a disgrace. I have been trying for days to get my ss 2016 benefit statement which they didn’t mail to me.

        • The link is on the first page.
          Pretty darn clear, but you do need a computer and the internet.

          create a my Social Security account and view your Social Security Statement online at any time.

  8. As usual few constructive comments. Filing on line is simple only if you know what your doing. If someone has questions about survivor’s benefits, the pension offset and complex marriage situations, you’ll not get your answers on line. It is better to apply by appointment in person. Think about it, if you have questions do you want to get mechanical answers from a machine? That is where we are going as SSA continues to cut staff in order to justify closing offices down the road.

    • Thank you for your feedback, John. With more than 160,000 visitors on a daily basis, our more than 1,200 field offices nationwide are the cornerstone of our operation. Our employees in offices across the country handle millions of transactions yearly — taking applications, answering questions in person and on the phone, verifying benefit amounts, and reviewing appeals, among other things. We continue to work on providing relief to our frontline staff by expanding our use of alternate methods of service delivery to our customers, such as our online services, video service, self-help computers, and express customer service stations. Again, we appreciate your feedback and want to assure you that we are committed to providing superior customer service, whether it is online, on the telephone or in-person. Thanks!

  9. The reason that social security is in trouble is that congress over the years could not stand to see all that so called trust fund money sitting there. So they voted to take out the money , democrats and republicans alike , and spend it all, leaving only a paper I O U.

    • Harold, Social Security is a pay-as-you-go system. Social Security taxes collected from today’s workers pay the benefits of today’s retirees. Any funds in excess of what is needed to pay today’s benefits are invested in special issue, U.S. Government, interest-bearing securities. This investment – the purchase of U.S. Government securities – is what constitutes the “borrowing” that people are sometimes concerned about. Any funds that have been “borrowed” from the Social Security Trust Funds have always been paid back in full, plus interest. Please check out our Trust Fund Frequently Asked Questions page for more information.

    • Unfortunately, but for security reasons, we do not have access to personal records in this blog. Please contact your local Social Security office. If you are unable to visit the local office, you can call our toll free number at 1-800-772-1213, representatives are available Monday through Friday between 7:00a.m. and 7:00p.m. Generally, you will have a shorter wait time if you call later in the day or later in the week. Thanks.

  10. I am happy with what I receive from social security $1800 monthly, but you people should know it takes more than one check to make it after you retire. I hope you have a pension from a private company mine is $1750 a month like I do because that sure helps a lot.

    • Social Security benefits were NEVER meant to be a person’s sole source of income after he/she retires. That is very clearly stated. I still am working full-time and am past my “normal” retirement age, therefore what I collect is not subject to any sort of penalty. Working past what S.S. says is your normal retirement age is not the worst thing that can happen for most people; contrary, it allows you to add alot to your savings for when you really are going to need it.

  11. I have been told that Veterans Affair personnel, if they show signs of intelligence, caring, and a want to help, are immediately transferred to Social Security. So, in view of some of my experiences and what I have heard and read about it all, I feel sorry for those poor VETERANS, who have no choice but put up with the civil service laziness and incompetence.

    • With the hiring freeze, they cannot hire new employees. They could however transfer an current existing employee to fill the vacancy.

      Since there is no hiring freeze for the military, they can transfer the military personnel and replace them with a new hire.

  12. Social Security is one of the most beloved programs in the history of the United States.

    It has lifted millions of senior citizens out of poverty since Ida Mae collected her first check.

    It was never designed to provide the sole income for a retiree. It was designed so that along with employer provided benefits and personal savings a retiree can live a secure life.
    Too bad employer provided benefits are disappearing and the high cost of living has prevented many from saving.

    For too many Social Security is the only source of income in retirement.

    We must work to protect the great program it is as well as to improve it.

    By the way every contact I ever had with a Social Security or Medicare employee has been efficient, polite and helpful.

  13. I recently applied for retirement benefits and, in fact, just received my first payment today. I wound up using a combination of both “in person” and online application. It would be a good idea to do a “dry run” of the online process to see if there are questions that may arise. I know that happened for me, so I just wrote all of my concerns down on paper and trudged to a local Social Security office, “bit the bullet” and waited for two hours to be seen. It turned out to be one of the best “waits” of my life. I got an agent who went through everything. I learned about benefits and methods of payment I never even knew existed. I don’t know where the people on this blog went to for their little, or no, information, but the office I went to was First Rate! With all of the info that I received, I went home and took my time deciding which option I wanted to go with. Once I made my decision, then I did the actual application online. I had all of the documents handy that it asked for and within a half hour everything was completed. A few days later I received a call from a processing center so we could “dot the i’s and cross the t’s” and that was it. And a week after that my money started flowing into my checking account. This process worked for me, it may work for you too! Remember the old saying: Forewarned is forearmed. Gather the documents that they require ahead of time and it will make the process as simple as possible.

    • Thanks for your feedback, Gary! Your thoughts are important to us and we’re pleased when feedback is positive. We try hard to provide the best possible service to our customers and your satisfaction is our reward.

  14. I have had different agents of SS tell me different information, when I first applied for SS after reaching full retirement age. I was informed that deductions for SS would not be taken from my regular job paycheck since I had reached the required age for SS. The company continued to deduct for SS, and asking the company rep., said they had no info to that effect. Then asking another SS rep, informed me that as long as you are working deductions will be made for SS.
    The result of this process is your net gain for receiving SS prior to retirement from your job results in a much smaller net gain. Also the fact that my income more than doubled over the next 10 years seemed to make no difference in my SS benefits. So those considering taking SS payments when they become eligible might want to do more intensive research.

  15. Instead of raising up the retirement age for Social Security, Congress can double up on the amount of credits needed to collect Social Security retirement to 80 credits.

    More people would not qualify decreasing the roll. If they don’t work for at least 20 years, then they lose all their contributions.

    • Here is another idea. The SSA can keep the 40 credits the same. Going forward from this point, the maximum credit they can earn per year is 2 credits.

      People who have already earn their credits and have 40 credits are not affected.

  16. I will be 66 in March2017. My wife will turn 66 in October 2017. She plans to file for her SS . I plan on waiting until I am 70 to file for my SS. When my wife files for her SS at 66, I plan to file for spousal SS based on her record. Can we file on line for both or do we need to make an appointment?

    • Thank you for your question Denny. You and your wife –both- should be able to apply online. If you reach your full retirement age and if you are eligible for a spouse’s benefit and your own retirement benefit, you may have the option to file for only spouse’s benefits and wait to file for your own benefit at a later time, to increase your own retirement benefit amount. Since you were 62 prior to January 2, 2016, deemed filing rules will not apply if you file at full retirement age or later. This means that you may file for either your spouse’s benefit or your retirement benefit without being required or “deemed” to file for the other. Visit our Retirement Planner for more information. Our system is set up to take applications three months in advance. If you cannot apply online or you decide not to finish applying online, for whatever reason, you can apply in person at any Social Security office or by calling our toll-free number, 1-800-772-1213 for assistance. Representatives are available between 7a.m. and 7p.m., Monday through Friday. Generally, you’ll have a shorter wait time if you call later in the week. Happy retirement!

  17. A word to the wise-Don’t ever apply on line;

    Here is why.The Social Security Administration Would Frighten Franz Kafka
    and Amuse “Ernestine.”

    It might seem a stretch to conflate the Social Security Administration with the writer Franz Kafka, the author of TheTrial and the Castle , and the comedienne Lily Tomlin’s portrayal of “Ernestine”, a phone company “spokes person,” but walk with me down absurdity lane.

    In his two works, Kafka focuses on the absurdity of the world exacerbated by anonymous, domineering, insensitive bureaucracies pursuing governmental policies that are at best illogical and at worse, patently unfair, unforgiving, and often deadly. Lilly Tomlin’s “Ernestine”, frequently opined disdainfully about customer complaints by saying, “ we don’t care, we’re the phone company.” These two themes, faceless bureaucracies inefficiently and unfairly doing a government’s business, reinforced by a monopolistic attitude of not caring about citizen redress, applies to the Social Security (SS ) Administration. As a Kafkaesque governmental entity its leadership doesn’t care about legitimate complaints , because , to channel “Ernestine”- “we don’t care, we’re the Social Security Administration”.

    A recent article in the Baltimore Sun highlighted the absence of a permanent Social Security Administrator, and that there is a 20 month backlog in reviewing disability claims. For me, this backlog has nothing to do with a lack of leadership or personnel, but is a deliberate ploy to stone wall legitimate claims so as to make the claimant go away because of sheer despondency at getting a resolution to the appeal.

    I am a retired Baltimore Police Sergeant and when working I did not contribute to the SS system. But after retiring I earned enough quarters to qualify for SS benefits and consequently Medicare. I applied , on- line, for benefits on January 3rd 2010, and answered yes to the questions regarding pension benefits. In an anonymous letter dated March 15, 2016, SS stated that I allegedly owed $27,577.00 in over payments based on the Windfall Elimination Provision because of my pension, and I had 30 days to repay. I say allegedly when I refer to any of the figures quoted by SS because I have no idea of their accuracy. Included with the letter was a repayment envelope and I didn’t have to use a stamp-how considerate. Now this SS saga became Kafkaesque, instead of just consummate incompetency.

    SS has a multitiered appeal protocol. I filed on March 29, 2016 and stated SS was at fault for the alleged overpayment. Naively, I thought requesting an informal meeting, per a SS’s appeal protocol, would resolve the issue. Approximately eight months later, in a letter dated November 15, 2016, SS admitted fault in processing my application without taking into account my pension. However, I would be getting a letter explaining my “new overpayment”- a decision that I could again appeal. These SS letters are sent regular snail mail with SS assuming you get them without proof of delivery. Nice gambit, particularly when you are given a 30/60 day window to appeal.

    A letter dated January 24, 2017 claimed I allegedly owed $23,841.00. No mention of my informal meeting request or that the alleged overpayment added to my gross income for tax purposes. SS used $3,736.00 of my benefits to recover part of the alleged overpayment, and if I didn’t remit the $23k plus in 30 days, my entire SS benefit would be used to recover the money.But, I could appeal for a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALD) to contest.

    This depressing Kafkaesque joke became more surreal. On February 2nd, I submitted an appeal for an ALD hearing with supportive documentation to my assigned SS office. On Saturday , February 4th, I received a letter from SS ,dated February 3, 2017, and with this letter the hammer fell . My benefit was terminated effective the March 2017 payment, including my Medicare premium, until November 2020. Consequently,I will have to pay out of pocket for my Medicare health coverage and I recently received the first premium bill with billing date if 1/27/2017. Meaning, that SS /Medicare processed a premium bill 3 days after the date of the last SS letter I received stating I could appeal. So much for this scam of an appeal system. The insane thing is that there are two more appeal steps I am entitled to, but I know what they are worth. Your appeal is denied even before your appeal steps are exhausted, and you are punished accordingly based on an anonymous whim. – Kafka smiles in his grave. No wonder there are signs in SS offices stating that it is a federal crime to assault SS employees, and no firearms allowed.

    Compared to what many Americans experience at the anonymous “hands” of the Social Security Administration, my SS absurdity pales, but it exemplifies what the Administration thinks of the American public, “we don’t care, we are the Social Security Administration.”

  18. I have not read any comments on when a person is on disability WHEN THEY CAN RETIRE and get on SS. Would SS be more than Disibility?

    • Hi Janet. For those individuals receiving disability benefits under the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program, we automatically convert their disability benefits to retirement benefits when they attain their Full Retirement Age. Generally, the benefit amount remains the same. Disability payments are established at the highest rate possible, based on your earnings record.

  19. I retired in 1995. When I turned 65 I applied for SSW I was told that I qualified for 1600.00 a month. I retired from the C ity of LA. I have a pension that I paid for. When I applied for SS I was told that I could receive 1600 a month. Then I was told that since I had a pension from the city of LA I could only get 150.00 a month. I was told that if I did not work I could get 1600.00 a month. I paid for my SS for somebody else. The system sucks. I think we should be entitled to what we earned. People on SS who have never worked are getting my pension. This is BS

Leave a Reply - (comment policy)

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *