Wouldn’t it be nice to stay current on news from Social Security? Sometimes there are significant changes to Social Security’s benefits and regulations that may have an impact on you and your family. The dilemma is that the Social Security universe is so vast that staying current with specific aspects that will affect you and your family is a challenge.
While you are still employed, there are changes that occur with Social Security, but because the impact may be years away the changes may not immediately connect with you. A great example of this was the announcement of the 1983 change in the Full Retirement Age (FRA) for Social Security. Americans since that year no longer had age 65 as an FRA, yet I met several people this month who are a few years away from their retirement and expressed shock upon my sharing their FRA will be at age 67 vice 65 because of their date of birth.
Why stay current on Social Security? Because knowledge is leverage. You may regret not saving more in your Thrift Saving Plan and other retirement savings if you wait until age 62 to learn about the consequences of a decision to apply early for your Social Security retirement benefits. Understanding the long-term financial impact of applying early for your Social Security benefits may even alter your thinking about when to retire.
An example of understanding changes to Social Security and their impact on married couples was a decision made by the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015. This 2015 decision made changes to Social Security’s laws about filing for retirement and spousal benefits.
This change made seven years ago is still confusing to some. Before the legislation, one could receive spousal benefits at the full retirement age and let retirement benefits based on his or her earnings record grow by delaying filing for benefits. If you need clarification on this issue, Benefits Planner: Retirement | Filing Rules for Retirement and Spouses Benefits | SSA, at the Social Security website should set you straight.
The reality is there is a plethora of online information about Social Security. At the time this article was being composed, there were about 1,600,000 Google results for “Social Security and the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015.” That was a lot of information I didn’t need.
What you appreciate from the Social Security link on the spousal benefits I shared is the end product of bureaucratic protocols for editing and posting ongoing modifications to the initial legislation in 2015. Social Security listens to feedback from beneficiaries and refines its communication narrative online. The agency wants you to understand what is going on. But it cannot be assured the message content connects with us until we provide feedback. Be patient. It sometimes takes time for the refinement process to occur on the website.
You probably do not have the time or inclination to monitor all Social Security issues. If you are single and don’t have children, for instance, then there may be no need for you to be concerned with spousal or family benefits. Maybe you are not interested in disability benefits. Perhaps the only relative Social Security topic you desire to monitor is retirement benefits.
To obtain updates from Social Security for specific topics, such as retirement, go to Get updates | SSA. You will have to enter your email or cell phone number to subscribe to this service. You will then be taken to another site for the menu directory of Social Security topics.
Subscribing to Social Security’s updates assures you of timely delivery of what topics are important to you. Among the topics available for subscription besides retirement, disability, and survivors are podcasts, blogs, press releases, actuarial publications, and even popular baby names!
No one has a crystal ball for forecasting what changes and when they may occur with the various aspects of Social Security subjects that may affect you or your family. That is why you need to consider enrolling for a subscription. Then as changes and refinements occur relating to a specific topic, you will be informed directly through your personalized email or cell phone subscription.