Preparation For The Future Begins In The Present

The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation logoRetirement is a concern for all Americans, and financial planning is one way to make sure we’re ready for it. With this in mind, Social Security is finding ways to encourage Americans to use various financial planning tools to help them plan better for their retirement.

September 15 to 20, Social Security is working alongside the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Inc. during their 2015 Annual Legislative Conference (ALC) to help African Americans become familiar with Social Security and our financial tools. As part of this initiative, we’re reaching out to the African-American community by promoting the online Social Security Statement, available with a my Social Security account.

According to the last U.S. Census Bureau, African Americans comprise more than 40 million of the U.S. population. The African Americans and Social Security section of our website highlights how African Americans benefit from the Social Security program and how certain demographics compare to the entire population. In 2013, the median earnings of working-age African Americans who worked full-time were about $36,000, compared to $43,000 for all working-age people. In addition, in 2013, among African Americans receiving Social Security, 25 percent of elderly married couples and 55 percent of unmarried elderly persons relied on Social Security for 90 percent or more of their income.

Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Carolyn W. Colvin, will speak tomorrow at the 45th Annual Legislative Conference in an Issue Forum hosted by Congressman Gregory W. Meeks. The title of the forum is “Wealth Building in the African American Community.” Acting Commissioner Colvin will speak about the importance of Social Security to the African American community and how using financial savings tools, like my Social Security, can help you plan for your retirement. Social Security will also have a booth at the conference, signing people up for online my Social Security accounts. A personal my Social Security account can help you keep track of your earnings, view your Social Security benefits, and get retirement and disability benefit estimates. In addition, Social Security will have an article in the ALC Daily newspaper penned by the Associate Commissioner for External Affairs, J. Jioni Palmer. The Social Security article will appear in the conference newspaper which is distributed to the conference attendees.

While Social Security is the foundation for a secure retirement, people also need other savings and investments. We’re encouraging African Americans to start planning and saving for retirement today.

If you attend the conference, please visit Social Security at booth #527 in the ALC exhibit hall to sign up for a my Social Security online account. It’s never too late to start planning!


28 thoughts on “Preparation For The Future Begins In The Present

  1. Hi guys I am presently on disability after Tonsillitis cancer. I would like to know, that while I recover, can I engage in any type of work and for how long?


    • You really need to contact your local SSA office. There have been some special plans allowing people to see if they can go back to work.

    • Great news Steve! You can try to return to work while receiving Social Security disability benefits. We have special rules to help you get back to work without jeopardizing your initial benefits. You can learn more about how work can affect your benefits by reading our publication, “Working while Disabled- How We Can Help
      Keep in mind that whether you are receiving Social Security or SSI, it is important to let us know promptly when you start or stop working, or if any other change occurs that could affect your benefits. Good luck !

  2. I would like to express my disappointment when I was told I could not receive ANY of my husband social security benefits due to the fact that I was receiving a State University Retirement pension. This is due to the Windfall Act. Ron and I were married 55 years and he paid into social security for over 35 years, and thought he was helping my future if something should happen to him before me. We knew I would not be able to receive his full amount of benefits but to be told I could not receive ANY is so unfair. We have people drawing off of husband who never worked, people drawing social security disability who are out playing golf or working and being paid cash for their service, yet I am told I can’t draw benefits because I worked at a Junior College. This Act would be repealed!

    • thats terribly unfair. i am an adjunct professor and my husband is much older and I hope I do not have that issue. I have neuroligical and rheumatological conditions and my husband has intellectual disabitieis but we both work and he will retire next year. hope i will be able to draw from his benefits when he passes on bc im an adjunct professor.

      • This is totally unfair. I myself was a teacher for 16 years. Before becoming a teacher I worked as a secretary for 11 years. After my third stroke which left me semi-paralyzed from my right side, I was forced to medically retire from my teaching position. I am receiving retirement benefits from Texas Teacher Retirement System. When I tried to collect Social Security I was told that I did not qualify to collect from both. I paid into the Social Security for 11 years. I feel this is very unfair. I have to pay Medicare $314 quarterly and my payment for my medical insurance is deducted from my Teacher Retirement payment every month. I have to pay for my own dental plan and the co-payment for all my doctor visits and medications. My husband is employed but suffers from heart problems and is also diabetic and has a lot of medical bills and medications. Sometimes we barely have enough to cover all the bills we have. Very sad!

  3. My husband is 63 and I am 61. We have both worked our entire lives. He plans to retire and file for soc sec at 66. At that point, whether I am or am not working at that point, can I receive half of his soc sec, being 64 at that time? I have not decided for sure or not, but may not plan on filing for soc sec until I reach 70. How or will filing for half of his soc sec affect me and my plans.

      • As l understand from the social security office, the ‘yours or your husbands’ operate on a percentage basis. Ithought l would receive more from my husbands SS. So l checked, they stated to me that l am within the percentage range so l do not qualify for his,. When we both worked, he made twice as much as l did, almost to the dollar. What is up with that!

    • Hi Pat, you could not receive half of your husband’s Social Security benefit at age 64. In order to qualify for full retirement benefits on your own record or to receive half of your husband’s benefit amount you would have to wait until you reach your full retirement age. If you are eligible for both your own retirement benefits and for benefits as a spouse, we always pay your own benefits first. If your benefits as a spouse are higher than your own retirement benefits, you will get a combination of benefits equaling the higher spouse benefit.
      If you and your husband are considering delaying your retirement until age full retirement age or later (age 70), you should know that you both may have some additional options. See our Retirement Planner: Benefits For You As A Spouse for complete information. then check out our publication, “What Every Woman Should Know.”

  4. My husband is 67 & I am 60. we both have worked over 38 years & paid social security. I am planning to work up to 65 if he start drawing his social security am
    I able to get half of his social security till I am 65.How or will filing for half of his social security effect me & my plan. please help.

  5. Please tell me why Seniors on Social Security can’t get
    a fair COLA, .0.9% increase/per year for the last 5 years
    is so unfair. Congress has taken 2.7 trillion dollars from the trust fund and no one seems to care.

    • I agree, this is so unfair to American citizens who have worked their whole life, and are now of retirement age. BUT, we will not get increases we are entitled to, because our Government is spending that money on aiding illegals in this country, on aiding immigrants coming into this country who haven'[t paid a dime, of aiding foreign countries that despise us. AND that is the reason we won’t be getting fair COLA increases, or often, any increases. We are no longer important to our government.

      • I agree Dianne. I retired from a branch of the county government. It is scary the amount of money foreign folks get , just for being here, they receive a monthly grant. Our money Dianne. I’ve worked a very long time. I am way below poverty level, Foreigners have brand new
        cars. Mine is 35 years old. Been
        recently looking for part time
        work to supplement my income.
        Forieners are using food stamps to buy meat, l live on peanut butter and jelly.

        the powers that be do not have the money issues we do, they probably never will, l hope they will some day … now that will be fair!

  6. I served 45 years in serving the United States and now am getting messed over by the United States. I served 25 years in the military and 20 years in civil service. I have ran into 2 very bad situations I do not think is right. After serving and paying Social Security over those 45 years the Social Security rules say unless my wife is a United States Citizen she cannot claim from my Social Security. I think I earned it and my wife should be able to claim it when she turns 65.There are others that have not served and wives have not worked at all and are allowed to draw on their husbands Social Security. Would you please help me with this?

    My second request I am requesting help with is my wife will be able to claim the military SBP but the draw back is Social Security will take out 30% tax on it. I think that is a big exuberant, don’t you.

    Thank you very much for any help you can give me!!

    David Knutson

    • Hi David, it seems that you missed our previous response to your questions, but here is the information again.
      If you qualify for Social Security benefits, your wife may be able to get benefits on your record — see “Benefits For Your Spouse” for eligibility information. She would also have to meet the requirements for non-citizens living in the United States. If you have specific questions, please call our toll free number, 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) and ask to speak with one of our representatives, who are available Monday through Friday between 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. Or, you can contact your local Social Security office. For information about the Survivor Benefit Plan or SBP, please contact the Department of Defense.

  7. The commissioner’s advice to do financial planning on MYSSA is bad advice. Not only do a significant number of MYSSA accounts get set up fraudulently resulting in the theft of direct deposit checks from unsuspecting beneficiaries but the best vehicle for getting retirement planning device is to visit an SSA office and talk to SSA experts. Don’t fend for yourself on the internet. Chances are that you will make bad decisions costing you tens of thousands of dollars. Go to an SSA office and talk to an expert. It’s safer and more reliable.

    • I have read about 15 books on Social Security and several on Medicare. Dealing with Social Security personal I have found them wanting to help and generally competent. But several times I had to question things they were trying to do which were positive for me and the wife but were not allowed by the rules. You need to know about the program yourself which is very complex. No one will look out for you like you will.

  8. Ray Fernandez, I am 53 and my husband is 65. He will retire next year. I am an adjunct prof who makes very little like all adjuncts, i also tutor and i am a doctoral student. i have physical neurological and rheumatological disabilities and illnesses. can i get my husband’s survivor benefits when he passes on? he will start ssa at age 66.

    • If you become a widow and your husband worked long enough under Social Security, you can receive reduced benefits as early as age 60 or full benefits at full retirement age or older. A widow or a widower can receive benefits as early as age 50 if he or she is disabled AND their disability started before or within seven years of the spouse’s death. We use the same definition of disability for widows and widowers as we do for workers.

  9. I am unable to find information about collecting retirement at age 63 versus the age of 70 I currently receive disability and my retirement however I am still struggling but receiving disability I’m only allowed to make a small stipend. If l switch from Social Security disability to Social Security retirement then I would be able to work and earn enough to survive each month does anyone know how this works and how it would affect me either positively or negatively I can’t seem to find the answer anywhere on the website here.

    • When you receive disability benefits under the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program, we will automatically convert your disability benefits to retirement benefits, when you attain your Full Retirement Age. The benefit amount will generally remain the same. While you may be eligible to switch from disability to retirement benefits at age 62 or before attaining your full retirement age, your benefits will be reduced. Additionally, your benefits could be affected even further as a result of your earnings.
      Read more about How Work Affects Your Benefits and Working while Disabled- How We Can Help. If you have more questions, please call our toll free number at 1-800-772-1213, Monday through Friday between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. and talk with one of our representatives

  10. I’m still learning from you, while I’m trying to achieve my goals. I absolutely enjoy reading all that is posted on your site.Keep the aarticles coming. I enjoyed it!

  11. I truly feel that we all should prepare for the future in the 21st century.
    I’ve been hearing all sort of stuff about the Social Security Administration going bankrupt,…and I’m thinking that is just to alarm us!

    Also, others have said…that Social Security is outdated…and, that we as Americans shouldn’t be too reliant on it, too much! Well, I disagree!!
    I don’t think that the Social Security Administration is outdated! I feel…that it is very much needed in the United States…cause, if it’d not been for Social Security, we’d be in poverty, right now!
    Poverty…is not, or has to be an option! We can just make up in our minds…to use our moneys properly, and save…and, live within our means!
    We don’t have to be broke! We don’t have to be penniless! We can just watch our pennies…and, save little by little! it’s not nearly as hard as we make it appear top be!

    To save…is easy! All we’ve got to do is do it! It doesn’t take a scholar to figure that out!

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