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Social Security For Dummies

ISBN: 978-1-118-20573-0
336 pages
April 2012
Social Security For Dummies (1118205731) cover image
The easy way to get a handle on Social Security

Are you or a loved one looking to understand how Social Security benefits work? Social Security For Dummies helps you better understand and navigate the U.S. Social Security Administration, covering important topics such as how benefits are funded and distributed, the various Social Security options and how to qualify, and deciding when to start accepting Social Security benefits.

Additionally, it explains the history, regulations, and significant changes to U.S. Social Security, as well as considerations for the future of the program.

  • Advice for ensuring you're receiving your maximum benefits
  • Gives you a thorough breakdown of how benefits are determined and what programs are sponsored by the Social Security Administration
  • Covers challenges and considerations for those with special circumstances

Whether you're receiving Social Security benefits, helping someone who is, or thinking about beginning to accept benefits yourself, Social Security For Dummies is a must-have resource for navigating this complicated (and sometimes confusing) landscape.

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Introduction 1

Part I: The Nuts and Bolts of Social Security 9

Chapter 1: What Social Security Is and Why You Need It 11

Chapter 2: A Breakdown of Benefits 23

Chapter 3: Deciding When to Start Collecting Retirement Benefits 41

Chapter 4: Protecting Your Number and Securing Your Card 59

Part II: Taking the Plunge: Filing for Social Security 73

Chapter 5: Signing Up for Benefits 75

Chapter 6: Determining How Much You've Earned 87

Chapter 7: Navigating the System 95

Chapter 8: When You and Social Security Disagree: The Appeals Process 117

Part III: Who Benefits and When 135

Chapter 9: Spousal Benefits: Watching Out for Each Other 137

Chapter 10: Family Benefits: Who Gets What 153

Chapter 11: When You Can't Work: Social Security Disability Benefits 169

Part IV: Social Security and Your Future 195

Chapter 12: Enrolling in Medicare 197

Chapter 13: Working in "Retirement" 217

Chapter 14: Shaping a Financial Future You Can Live With 237

Part V: The Part of Tens 249

Chapter 15: Ten Myths about Social Security 251

Chapter 16: Ten Reasons Young People Should Care about Social Security 261

Chapter 17: Ten Choices Facing the Country about the Future of Social Security 269

Part VI: Appendixes 277

Appendix A: Glossary 279

Appendix B: Resources 289

Appendix C: Play the Game: You Make the Choices to Strengthen Social Security 295

Index 299

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Jonathan Peterson is Executive Communications Director at AARP and an award-winning journalist. He is a former Washington correspondent for the Los Angeles Times. During his news career, he covered the White House, state and national political campaigns, and various facets of U.S. domestic and economic policy. He was a 2007 National Press Foundation fellow in the Retirement Issues in the 21st Century program.

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April 19, 2012
AARP’s Social Security For Dummies® Security System

Social Security protects almost every American family, covering more than nine in 10 workers (157 million). Retirees, workers with disabilities, survivors and family members of all ages receive benefits, and for many millions of people, Social Security is the foundation of financial well-being in retirement. Yet for all its importance, the program can be a complicated maze. People wonder whether they’re eligible, how much of a benefit they may receive, when they should start collecting and whether Social Security will be there when they need it.

For people who want the answers, AARP presents Social Security For Dummies® (Wiley, 978-1-118-20573-0, April 2012), giving readers the nuts and bolts of this far-reaching program in language that’s easy to understand. The book explains the benefits you and your family might qualify for, how to apply, rules you should know, how Social Security fits into your retirement plans, and much more useful information. The book also offers considerations about the future of Social Security, leaving it up to readers to make up their own minds.

AARP's Social Security For Dummies answers these questions and more:

-       When should you claim retirement benefits?

-       What strategies can married couples use to get the most?

-       Can your spouse collect benefits based on your work record?

-       How does Social Security define disability?

-       How do you challenge a decision by the Social Security Administration?

-       How does continued working affect retirement benefits?

-       Will Social Security be there for you?

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