Not affiliated with the US Social Security Administration

Equifax to Offer Free "Credit Freeze" Service After Security Breach

After the massive security leak of 143 million Social Security numbers at credit reporting agency Equifax, the company has announced that it will not charge for "credit freeze" requests for the next 30 days.

Here's where you can sign up for a credit freeze at the big three reporting agencies :

https://www.freeze.equifax.com/Freeze/jsp/SFF_PersonalIDInfo.jsp

Disability Applicant Claim Denied on Appeal

A woman recently appealed her inability to be awarded Social Security disability by an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). The United States Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit affirmed the decision of the ALJ, meaning the woman was not awarded Social Security disability payments.

Although this is one specific case, it is instructive to read the decision if you're considering filing for or appealing a Social Security disability decision.

Social Security Numbers of 143 Million Americans Stolen from Equifax

Equifax announced that the names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and, in some instances, driver’s license numbers of 143 million Americans was stolen.

This link will let you get free credit monitoring and see if you might have been affected :

https://www.equifaxsecurity2017.com/

Not to overthink this, but if you sign up for the "free credit monitoring", and then that data is stolen, maybe you're just telling the crooks that you're alive, and have some available credit that's worth stealing... :-/

When You Should NOT Give Out Your Social Security Number

To prevent identity theft, you should not give out your Social Security number unless necessary.

Here are five instances when you should generally not give out your Social Security number :

1. Before you're hired for a job

2. At the doctor's office (unless Medicare or Medicaid)

3. To attend schools or colleges

4. At supermarkets or other retailers

5. When booking travel

The article linked below has details and is well worth reading.

Virginians Can Now Replace Social Security Cards Online

Until the recent past, everyone had to visit a Social Security office to replace a Social Security card. However, over the past couple years the Social Security Administration has rolled out a program whereby residents of certain states can now replace their Social Security card online.

Now, Virginia is added to list list of states with online Social Security card replacement.

Social Security Reserves and Sources of Income

Good article which outlines how Social Security invests its current $2.9 trillion in excess reserves.

Highlights :

Social Security received generated $957.5 billion in revenue in 2016

Sources of income for Social Security :

- Payroll (FICA) taxes : 87.3 percent

- Taxation of Social Security benefits : 3.4 percent

- Interest from bonds (excess reserves) : 9.2 percent

The problem is the program expects to begin paying out more in benefits than it's generating in income beginning in 2022.

Investment Income Does Not Count in Social Security "Earnings Limit"

If you're receiving Social Security retirement benefits AND you receive income from wages, your Social Security wages may be reduced if you earn more than $16,920 (2017).

However, if you receive investment income, this will not affect your Social Security benefit.

If you have considerable investment income, this may mean your Social Security benefits are TAXED, but they will not be REDUCED.

Social Security Disability Benefits Taxable if Your "Base Income" Exceeds $25,000 or $32,000

Just like Social Security retirement benefits, Social Security disability benefits are taxable if your "base income" exceeds $25,000 (single) or $32,000 (married).

Your "base income" includes half of your Social Security benefits, plus other income (including tax-exempt interest).

Dramatically More Americans Plan To Delay Social Security Retirement Benefits

According to May, 2017 survey, only 28 percent of 61-year-old respondents said they would receive Social Security retirement benefits as soon as possible (age 62).

This is a big decline from 2008, when 45 percent of 61-year-olds said they would file as soon as possible.

There are probably two reasons for this.

One, in 2008, many seniors could not find worthwhile employment, so getting Social Security was perhaps the only option.

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Not affiliated with the US Social Security Administration