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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.

When to Take Social Security in Retirement - Think "MATH"

MATH translates to :

* Market
* Affordability
* Taxes
* Health

Health -> Take Social Security early if your life expectancy is limited

Affordability -> If you NEED the money now, maybe you need to start benefits

Taxes -> If you're still working, your up to 85 percent of your Social Security benefits may be taxed

Market -> If the stock market is way down, maybe you need to start benefits soon

Five Social Security "Secrets"

Here are five Social Security "secrets" according to Motley Fool :

1. Your benefits increase each month you wait

2. Your benefits are taxable (at higher income levels)

3. You may be able to claim benefits based on ex-spouse's work history

4. You may be able to claim benefits despite no work history (ex. spousal, surviving child)

5. Social Security is not going "bankrupt" (but benefits may be cut)

US CFPB Cautions About Using Reverse Mortgage to Delay Social Security Benefits

Lately, some financial advisers have suggested that seniors delay taking Social Security retirement benefits. Instead of taking Social Security at age 62, for example, these advisers suggest using a reverse mortgage to "fund" your retirement and delay initiation of Social Security benefits until later. Delaying benefit initiation means a larger retirement benefit.

However, the US Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB) has cautioned that this strategy has drawbacks. The CFPB says the best way to increase future benefits is to keep working past age 62, if possible.

Avoiding Income Taxes on Social Security Benefits Through Loans

This is an interesting paper which looks at how a relatively well-off retiree can avoid paying income taxes on Social Security taxes by taking out a loan against their life insurance policy (or, presumably against other assets).

Under scenarios studied, instead of making taxable withdrawals from their 401k, a couple could obtain similar "cash flow" by borrowing against their life insurance policy (or presumably other assets).

SSS.gov and Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)

Two-factor authentication (2FA) generally combines a cell phone with a username and password to increase the security associated with a login. You need both the username/password AND the cell phone (to receive texts) to log into a system.

In 2016 the Social Security Administration first required 2FA, and then dropped this requirement.

The use of 2FA when signing into ssa.gov is still under study, but not currently required.

Residents of 20 States and DC Can Get Replacement Social Security Cards Online

Residents of the following states can get replacement Social Security cards online :

You can can a replacement Social Security card online at ssa.gov if you :

* Are a U.S. citizen age 18 or older with a U.S. mailing address;
* Are not requesting a name change or any other change to your card; and
* Have a driver's license or a state-issued identification card from one of the following:

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What Social Security May Look Like in 2035

Interesting article which looks at how Social Security may fare in the year 2035.

Highlights :

* The worker-to-beneficiary ratio will drop from 2018's 2.8 to 2.2-to-1.

* Workers will have to wait longer to receive "full" benefits

* Social Security's "trust fund" will be exhausted

* Substantial benefit cuts may be needed

* Payroll taxes will be critical to pay for benefits

* Social Security benefits will continue to decline due to inflation

Four Factors that Determine Your Social Security Retirement Benefit

Your Social Security retirement benefit largely depends on the following four factors :

* Your work history => Longer yields a higher benefit

* Your earnings history => Higher earnings yields higher benefit (at decreasing rate)

* Your birth year => Born earlier means higher relative benefit

* Your claiming age => Starting benefits later means higher benefit


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Not affiliated with the US Social Security Administration