March, 2023

What Women Should Know About Social Security

Social Security Spotlight: Women & Social Security
NARSSA | Social Security Newsletter | March 2023
March 2023 Newsletter


Hi there. Please enjoy reading our newsletter filled with news and information on Social Security, retirement, and Medicare. Please reach out at with any feedback on our newsletters. We are always happy to hear from you!


Top Stories


Protect Yourself and Your Money From Scams

Source: RSSA


March 9th was National Slam the Scam Day. According to the FTC, there were 191,079 reports of scams in 2022 alone. Close to 40,000 of those reports were associated with Social Security Administration scams. From January through December 2022, consumers lost more than $500 million dollars to government imposter scams. Read the story to learn about ways to protect yourself and your money.


The Value of Social Security Advisory Expertise for Medicare Agents and Insurance Professionals

Source: RSSA


Social Security is a cornerstone of retirement planning, and by offering advisory services in this area, you can position yourself as a one-stop-shop for clients’ financial needs. Learn how the RSSA program can help medicare and insurance agents become important trusted advisors for clients.


The 5 Elements of a Comprehensive Retirement Plan

Source: ThinkAdvisor


Martha Shedden writes a story for ThinkAdvisor about the components of holistic retirement planning. Tax planning is one of those five elements and Social Security is a part of that. “Social Security is one of the first retirement financial decisions to be made. By examining retirees’ claiming age(s), in concert with the tax ramifications of using other funds to bridge an income gap if waiting to claim, a more tax-efficient withdrawal strategy can be achieved.” Read the full story.


Social Security 2023: Can You Be Asked To Pay Back Past Benefits?

Source: Yahoo


Did you know that the Social Security Administration can ask you to return money/paid benefits if they have reason to do so? Martha Shedden shares her insight and tells writer Gabrielle Olya two potential reasons why the SSA would request money back. One reason is working while claiming early benefits and another reason is receiving a non-covered pension.


If Social Security Sent You Too Much Money, Do You Have to Pay It Back?

Source: CNET


Martha Shedden shares her experience on this topic with writer, Nina Raemont. Martha has “seen clients receive notices that say the beneficiary owes the Social Security Administration over $30,000. That’s a lot of money to pay back when you weren’t expecting it, especially if you rely on these benefits programs for financial assistance and are strapped for cash.” Read the full story now.


Ask Martha  

Question: I get survivors benefits now. I am 65 and have worked 27 years past my husband’s death. If I continue his until 70 and then switch to mine (I’m still working) will I get a larger check? 
Martha’s response: Yes. If you are currently collecting a survivor benefit, you may be able to switch to your own retirement benefit, up to age 70, if it is more than your survivor benefit. Survivor benefits do not increase after your Full Retirement Age, but your own retirement benefits increase until age 70. If your own retirement benefit amount exceeds the survivor benefit amount when you reach 70, then you can certainly switch….Read Martha’s full response or Ask Martha your own question.


Listen up: Social Security Podcast   

In this episode Martha sits down with Melissa Warren and Thomas Drapala and they discuss what it’s like to work at NARSSA, how they help financial professionals, and details about what their program offers. Melissa is a Senior Analyst at NARRSA, she works with clients to address their unique claiming situations. She also is a contributor to the coursework to earn the RSSA designation.  And Thomas is an RSSA Client Relations Manager at NARSSA and an expert at explaining Social Security rules and claiming options to clients. He is instrumental in creating and updating the many RSSA Resources available for registered members to help them succeed with their clients.
You can listen to Social Security Answers from the Experts on Spotify, Google, Apple or anywhere you listen to podcasts. You can even watch the live recordings on our YouTube channel. Listen here or watch on YouTube.


Catch up with Devin  

What income counts towards the Social Security earnings limit? Devin Carroll, RSSA, dives into this question and goes over some of the more nuanced types of payments. Watch the video.


Social Security Spotlight: Women & Social Security

March is Women’s History Month. While women have overcome countless challenges and inequalities in order to achieve success – it is important to remember that they are still faced with obstacles today. Preparing for retirement and attaining financial security is no easy task for anyone, but let’s consider the hardships women face and how they can overcome them.
Historically, women spend less time in the workforce than their counterparts. How does this impact their Social Security? Working less negatively affects many women because Social Security eligibility and benefit payments are based on how long you work and how much you earn.
Does the gender pay gap affect women’s Social Security benefits? Yes. In 2020, it was reported that a woman earns 83 cents for every dollar that a man makes. Security benefits are calculated based on an individual’s earnings. Therefore, the less income a woman has, the less Social Security benefits she will receive.
Women have a longer life expectancy than men. That’s a win, right? Living a longer life comes at a cost. When a woman lives longer, she needs more money. There are many associated costs with growing older and as a result of living longer, women have the potential to outlive their money. This “longevity risk” is a big concern.
What Social Security rules are important for women to understand? There are many important concepts that can help women make the most out of their potential Social Security benefits. Understanding your eligibility for benefits or multiple benefits, knowing rules regarding spousal, ex-spousal, and survivor benefits, analyzing strategies to maximize your benefit, and much more. 
Can women overcome these hardships? Yes! And working with a professional, like an RSSA, can help you make the best decisions for your personal circumstances.


Case Study of the Month  

Recently I worked with a couple where the husband worked for the railroad for 35 years and the wife worked for 25 years paying into Social Security. A major difference between Railroad Retirement benefits and Social Security is that if one has 30 or more years of railroad work, they can receive the Tier I full retirement age (FRA) benefit as early as age 60, and their spouse is eligible for 50% of this amount at age 60 as well. Income limits must still be considered until FRA.

This couple, each with an FRA of 67, will both collect their full benefits 7 years earlier than expected due to the Railroad Retirement Benefit (RRB). Additionally, he qualified for a Tier II benefit, and she is also eligible for an additional spousal benefit of 45% of the Tier II benefit. Many of these complex rules were unknown to this couple and working with me, an RSSA, helped ensure they received all of the benefits they were eligible for. Had they not received guidance, they could have lost out on hundreds of thousands of dollars in the years between 60 and 67.


Did you know?

Did you know that if you’re past your Full Retirement Age, you can move Social Security income into next year to reduce the amount of tax you pay on it? For those with significant income in the year they plan to stop working and file for benefits, you can delay filing for benefits until the following year and potentially avoid paying a higher tax rate on your Social Security benefits. Yes, you can retroactively file for benefits in January, with a retroactive date of up to 6 months. Assuming that you have less income after retirement, you will be in a lower tax bracket. That means you’ll pay less tax on those benefits and potentially none at all. This strategy is especially helpful if you’re working up to age 70 and waiting until then to file for your benefits. The only drawback to this would be if you passed away during the time you delayed your benefit as Social Security will not pay retroactive benefits to a deceased person.


Sign up for the RSSA® eLearning program: Get immediate access to the RSSA Roadmap® Social Security software.

The RSSA® program is the only program where you will receive Social Security software, the training to use the software, and the education to become a Social Security expert. This program will teach you how to analyze and provide comprehensive reporting that will help your clients maximize their Social Security benefits. After passing the proctored national exam and earning the RSSA® designation, you’ll be positioned to help clients potentially gain tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars in incremental Social Security income. The knowledge and software training that you will gain by completing the RSSA® course will be meaningful for your practice and your clients as the demand for expert Social Security advice is unprecedented. This training program is approved by the IRS, NASBA, CFP Board, and Broadridge Fi360 Solutions for CE credits. Get Started.


Consult with an RSSA to optimize your benefits  

Most people make a sub-optimal filing decision, losing out on money they are entitled to. An RSSA can help you optimize your Social Security benefits and support you in making the best decisions for your personal situation. Get help now.


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