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Unfortunately, there are a lot of people being filched by these unscrupulous scammers, according to officials with the Federal Trade Commission, who track and prosecute telephone fraud. The phone companies are also alarmed by the scammers. According to The New York Times, T-Mobile was the first of the big companies to install the technology, adding the program in January to some of its phones.

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Cellular, and Windstream Services. This is welcome news and may lead to a reduction in the number of spam calls that all of us get. And they do so at shockingly similar rates. Of the people who reported interactions with Social Security scammers, just 3. Maxson pointed me to the set of tips that the FTC uses to encourage people to guard against scammers and robot callers pretending to be government officials:.

Katz said the better course of action is to jot down the number on your caller ID and report it to the FTC. Ah, yes. But to tell the truth, I enjoyed arguing with that Social Security imposter.

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Contact Us. Here to my best recollection, is how one recent late-morning call went down: Caller: Hello.

Goodbye Drivers License, Social Security Card, and Bank Account

Me: Excuse me. What did you say your name was? We will send the police to come to your house and arrest you for fraud and nonpayment of taxes and — Me: Wait a minute, sir. Remember that the total FICA tax is Your employer pays the rest. Of the money you owe, 1.

I then looked at an individual who started working in and retired in Then I looked at four different income levels during that time period.

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With these earnings numbers, I used the calculator on the Social Security Administration website to calculate the benefits for each of these income levels at full retirement age. In fact, the amount of taxes paid in pales in comparison to the average amount of lifetime benefits paid out! That makes this myth wildly untrue. This would be really nice. If it were true. Some of the other myths on this list seem… well, a little ridiculous.

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That sounds pretty rock solid, clear, and obvious to me. In Helvering v.

A few key details to know

That eliminated the idea of the separate, personal account that the Social Security pamphlet originally implied. And then, in Flemming v.


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That is to say, if a person makes FICA contributions over a number of years, Congress cannot, according to this reasoning, change the rules in such a way that deprives a contributor of a promised future benefit. Under this reasoning, benefits under Social Security could probably only be increased, never decreased, if the Act could be amended at all. Congress clearly had no such limitation in mind when crafting the law.

But just in case people forget that benefits can be changed or stopped altogether at any time, the Social Security Administration puts this reminder on every statement they create:. Congress has made changes to the law in the past and can do so at any time. The takeaway here is that the criteria for eligibility could change with the whims of politics.

I also believe these changes will hit those who have significant assets and income. The government can change the rules. This is a myth that finance folks like to spread based purely on the fact that for every month you delay filing, you get a higher benefit amount — and more must be better, right?

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Not necessarily, and certainly not in every single case. Sometimes there is no strategy; if you are no longer working and you need the income, go file for benefits. Simple as that.

A break-even analysis will tell you the age you need to live to in order to receive the same amount in benefits as you would if you waited and filed later. Another situation in which filing early could be the best route is in the case of a few different spousal issues.


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The first is if your spouse is the higher earner and has health concerns which will shorten their life expectancy. Since their earnings were higher, their Social Security benefits will likely be higher. This means that by filing early, you will receive a reduced benefit, but your spouse will become entitled to a benefit as well.

The reason we include this is that once your spouse reaches his or her full retirement age, their spousal benefit will not increase. So if they are older than you, they could be missing months or years worth of benefits while waiting on you to file. Finally, if you have minor or disabled children at home, you might want to consider filing early because they may qualify for a benefit when you file.

By delaying your filing, you miss out on your own reduced benefit plus the benefit payable to your child. Just keep in mind that if you file before your full retirement age, the earnings limit will apply. Once you pass your full retirement age, the earnings limit will no longer apply. Devin Carroll runs his own firm, Carroll Investment Management , and blogs on Social Security Intelligence , where this first appeared. Economic Calendar Tax Withholding Calculator.

Retirement Planner. Sign Up Log In. By Devin Carroll. Comment icon. Text Resize Print icon. Courtesy Everett Collection. And of course, Social Security is anything but simple to understand.