I often marvel at how little people know about Social Security and the benefits that are available to individuals and couples upon reaching age 66, the current retirement age. To say Social Security is complicated is to state the obvious. It is, like many government programs, a system that was set up in a bygone age when few women worked (in comparison to men), so the system has built-in biases that are a detriment, particularly to widows.
A recent article in the New York Times highlights these biases very well and is a plea for updating Social Security to better serve widows. It seems this is unlikely as there is a large segment in Congress, not supported by the citizenry in general, to do away with Social Security so this is not a good time for reworking the system.
The article is available at http://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/12/your-money/for-widows-social-security-system-can-provide-rude-shocks.html?_r=0. It is worth a read, as it also contains a wealth of information about Social Security in general. The article also mentions a recent book entitled “Get What’s Yours: The Secrets to Maxing Out Your Social Security.” It’s available from Amazon for around $10 and is worth the price as it is a great guide to making sure you don’t leave thousands of dollars behind due to ignorance and the complexity of the system.
If you are approaching retirement age, or are caring for others who have reached that point in life, do yourself and those you serve a favor by educating yourself about Social Security.