Adventures with Social Security    


This is a discussion of Social Security Retirement, as informed by my and Fayne's experiences and reading on the WWW and the SSA website. 

Some of my comments may seem unreasonably negative in tone.  This is the nature of the beast:  I and most other commentors on any topic tend to remember the bad experiences.  Why waste time when there isn't a problem?  All the individuals we have encountered at SSA have been patient, personally helpful, and dedicated to doing their jobs.  But their information can be woefully inadequate and out of date.  Clearly SS representatives are trained to give a quick opinion and thus dispose of the case.  Uncertainty is rarely encountered, even when it should be admitted. 

On the other hand, the SS computers are programmed properly and give accurate and correct results.  Sometimes, the difficulty is in persuading a SS representative to ask the computer the correct question. 

SS is enormous.  This commentary addresses only retirement issues.  Most of SSA's effort seems directed towards disability issues, which are clearly more complicated and difficult.  The result is that SS representatives concentrate on giving quick answers to simple situations, which must fit 99.9% of the cases encountered. 

If you have any reason to think that your SS advice or information is inaccurate, keep at it.  Read the SSA FAQs and use Google to search for cases like yours. 

Our experience with the spousal benefit may be instructive. 



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February 24, 2008