Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.
Saturday, October 1, 2016

Near the end of last year, around the holidays, I wrote a column that addressed what I called the 12 Myths of Social Security. It was supposed to be a takeoff on the “12 Days of Christmas” — get it?

Anyway, earlier this year, I wrote another column addressing what I said was an even bigger misconception about Social Security benefits (that I hadn’t included in the list of 12 Myths) — the fact that a person may not take reduced benefits on a spouse’s Social Security record and then later switch to full benefits on his or her own account. (But please note that this rule does not apply to widows and widowers.)

  • wackyjacket

    You are quite right; when I applied for disability payments, they originally denied my claim. When I filed for re-consideration, I won my claim.
    However, they put me on SSI because during the relevant period for income determination, I had missed too much work and didn’t qualify for Social Security because my payments into the system were insufficient and I was being put on SSI.
    The difference? I would have received $1200+ a month and on SSI I got $600 a month; you get half as much on SSI as you do on full Social Security!
    I think most people do what I did, exhaust every bit of money you have and then apply, when you have no other choice; and when you do that, you will have made fewer contributions to the system and likely will lose full benefits because of too low payments to the system. I suspect very few get full benefits because of this.

  • CAF

    Tom,
    You should write a few more columns regarding the difference between SS, SSI and SSDI. I am sick of hearing about Social Security benefits being a form of welfare. We work our whole lives and are required by law to pay in to SS and Medicare. So when we hit whatever our magic age is (depends on when you were born now)we get a portion of those benefits back. This is NOT an entitlement. Just because the government does not have a clue how to invest it and chooses to continually rob the fund so that it now broke does not make it an entitlement. I still have paid in for the last 43 years for a little assistance in my later years. Lets get straight on which programs are which!

  • BerniceGreen

    It was my understanding that since SSI began the funding for it was coming from the Social Security Fund. That is why the Social Security Fund is in so much trouble. I too am growing tired of Congress calling Social Security an entitlement. Perhaps you should present this information to Congress, they would probably be surprised!

  • Bets4

    “wackyjacket” says she gets only $600 a months with SSI but would have gotten the “full” $1200 a month from Social Security. Where does she get this figure of $1200 a month if she hadn’t paid in enough to even qualify for SS?
    I am tired of reading about “average” SS payments, which most people assume to be minimum rather than understanding how they are averaged. The assumption is that most SS recipients are living high on the hog. When I filed for SS after turning 65 I did so because for 10 years all I could find were part time jobs and I couldn’t earn enough to live. I calculated with SS and a part time job I could live, not well but manage. At that I was getting only between $400 and $500 a month. Eventualy it went just above $500 and finally, with the recent increase, it went up to $770, before Medicare deductions. Because of my low income, the state is picking up my Medicare premium, except for $5.40 a month, so I now get the full $764.60, which is still insufficient to live on. I live alone with no other support, pay rent, utilities, etc. and my costs exceed my income which because of my health, age, AND the economy I am unable to increase. The part time work I relied on for so long dried up. Even thirty or more years ago it took an income of about $1,000 a month for one person to live reasonably well.

  • Burger Boss

    I fully agree with CAF, I worked my backsides off for this SS benefit, PLEASE do not demean my labor by calling it an “Entitlement”!

  • Dottie Griggs

    As usall people raeely understand the difference and there were good explanations here. However there are always pitfalls that you step into . The people on SSI do not have to pay for the Medicare Premiums Part A and B or D. They do not have to pay say $30. to $50.00 copay to see a specialist or ER Visit deductables, or x # of dollars per day if hospitalized. They do not have $7, $10, $14, $40, $80 co pays on their perscriptions and they do not have a amount to reach then fall into that “dognut” So I wonder who comes out the best the person with the %660. or $1200.
    a month check. Not to mention that neither of these come with insurance that covers dental, dentures, eye glasses are covered on Medicade (with SSI) some states and hearing aids are not included under either. Now thse are pretty important matters, being able to see, having teeth even if it is dentures to fit properly so perhaps you ca eat healthier and have fewer medical claims, sight would decrease accidents and hearing would also decrease accidents. While most people do not want a socialized medical program, those of us who have reached retirement or become disabled and draw their full SSD check should receive medical benefits at no higher fee equal to or greater than those who did not bother to work and earn enough money for disabilty and get SSI or who worked under the table and paid no taxes. Yes I do realize some people have never been able to physically work due to either physical or mental disabilities that occured before work age. That is not the ones I am speaking of naturally we should help them. But when I pay a co pay of %35-$50 to see a specialist and someone who did not ever try to earn a living walks in and goes for free oir shells out $2. while I pay as much as $80. on some perscriptions as a co pay and the SSI or medicade person walks away with the same med fr $2.00 who is coming out ahead. If I subtract what i pay a month for part A &B
    part D, co pays, pharmacies co pays. Who has the greater amount to live on. And then there is the wealthy does it equal out when their co pays and Rx’s are the same as someone trying to live on $1200. a month. My social security disabilty is not a hand out in the 35 years I worked I probally averaged working 50 years, as most those years included part time jobs, or salaried positions where I am sure the hours well over 60 per week didn’t sometimes equal minmun wage. When the seantors and the house looks at these matters, they need a different measuring tape. And “OBAMA CARE” wasted paperwork and wasted man hours, how are you going to fine people who can not afford to pourchase insurance as a joke. Once fined if they can’t pay do we send them to jail and add that to our debt.Jail cost money. Come on, it’s getting harder and harder to get a doctor these days if you are on Medicare or a Medicare Suppliment. And when did a Tetnus vacine for one person start costing $200. for the amount to vacatnate one adult alng with another $200. fee for the nurse to walk in the room and stick the needle containing the vaccine into your gleauts max. It’s all become some sick game our goverment and sad to say our medical world has learned they have to play. Gauging people and playing polotics is not the reason people became doctors, nurses, etc in t medical field. Goverment has taken the resect away there also. People you have to do something as Americans, how proud of you in the way our country is handling these matters, hold Washington, or hold your state representives responsible for the changes needed. It’s time to wake up not play follow the leader, that was a game for kids.