Frequently Asked Questions
Find answers to common questions about Social Security and RSSA advisors.
How can I talk to a Social Security expert?
What is a Social Security Plan?
A Social Security plan is an extensive and thorough analysis of your Social Security claiming options. Only a Registered Social Security Analyst (RSSA) can provide a Social Security plan which includes an income optimization analysis, strategies to avoid reduced benefits, explanation of the Social Security rules, benefits and eligibility, claiming strategy options including monthly, annual, and lifetime benefit amounts for each, when & how to file for your benefit options. The Social Security Plan itself is a customized, hard-copy presentation outlining your options and the strategy for maximizing your Social Security benefits for your retirement. The analysis and report you receive from your Registered Social Security Analyst (RSSA) is comprehensive and will answer all of your questions about Social Security benefits.
What's involved in an analysis?
Your Social Security analysis starts with an initial free consultation call or meeting. After you complete a form that lets us know about how much you have paid into Social Security, and your financial goals, we’ll discuss all relevant information related to your Social Security claiming decision. Your RSSA will then run a software analysis to determine the filing ages that yields the maximized lifetime benefit amount, highest annual income, and highest survivor income for couples. Your RSSA will review the reports with you (some RSSAs present a summary spreadsheet as well) and will conduct a further analysis of any other alternative dates you would like to consider. Your final deliverables include a PDF report, and potentially, a summary spreadsheet of all claiming ages considered.
How much does an analysis cost?
The cost of an analysis can be approximately $400 – $1,500 depending on the complexity of the individual client’s situation. Fees are set by individual RSSAs. Factors affecting Social Security claiming age dates vary from client to client and even more so for couples. Details to consider include the client’s age and relative ages for couples; benefit amounts based on past earnings; future projected earnings anticipated; current and past relationship status – single, married, divorced, widowed; whether the client will be receiving a non-covered pension; life expectancy and a general understanding of the client’s retirement finances.
How long does an analysis take?
An analysis usually includes a number of individual optional claiming age dates, or combinations of dates for couples, that are presented to the client for consideration. Further analyses may then be run until clients are confident about their claiming age date decision. If calls and meetings can be set up efficiently, a one to two-week period of time should be sufficient to complete an analysis.
What's required to do an analysis?
The information required to do an analysis includes gathering the personal details on the client intake form and a copy of the client’s Social Security earnings. Analysts will discuss all information with the client to be sure dates and details are understood, past earnings are reviewed, future projected earnings are considered and the client’s desired time of retirement is clear.
What kind of results should I expect?
You should expect a final report showing your chosen filing age date(s), what the maximized lifetime income filing dates are (if different) and how to file for your benefits. The report should include a review with you by your analyst and the opportunity for questions on the contents.
What's included in the report?
The report will be 20-30 pages long and include sections describing and illustrating your Maximized Lifetime Benefits, Maximized Filing Dates, Household Annual Benefit Details, Client (or Spouse 1 and 2) Annual Benefit Details, and sections on How to Apply for Benefits, Understanding Your Options and Software Calculations and Inputs used for the analysis.
The information is presented in charts, graphs and tables showing exactly how much you will receive in Social Security every year. You will see the numbers all in “today’s dollars” for easy comparison.
What if I don't like the results?
The results should be as previously discussed and agreed upon by you and your RSSA after one or more optional filing age dates have been considered. The process of going through an analysis with your RSSA should have given you the opportunity to have further filing age dates considered if desired for comparison.
How secure is my Social Security information?
That is a questions for the SSA! There is never any reason for an RSSA to ask for or to know your Social Security number or other private information. The analysis requires your name, birthdate and past covered earning amounts that are shown on your Social Security statement. And, if desired, your name can be a pseudonym of that shown on your Social Security card.
What training do RSSAs have?
The National Association of Registered Social Security Analysts (NARSSA.org) provides an eLearning program for advisors and accountants who are seeking expertise in Social Security rules and strategies. After passing the national (proctored) exam, an advisor is then credentialed as an RSSA. The online self-study program consists of five module courses, software training, module exams and more. All five courses qualify for continuing professional education and must be passed to be eligible to sit for the RSSA competency exam. The curriculum is described in further detail here: https://www.narssa.org/
Who can I call with Social Security questions?
For general Social Security questions, schedule an appointment here. You can also call us toll-free at 1-844-275-7772 (1-844-ASK-RSSA). We can provide a free consultation over the phone and give you a quote for a Social Security plan with an RSSA. If you have a problem or question, try our toll-free telephone number first.
How do I schedule a call with a Social Security advisor?
Schedule a free consultation to learn how an RSSA can help you maximize your benefits.