Chapter 1: The History of Social Security Retirement Benefits

Section 1: The Social Security Act of 1935
Section 2: The Social Security Trust Funds
Section 3: The Senior Citizens Freedom to Work Act of 2000
Section 4: 2010 Amendment to the Payback Provisions
Section 5: The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015

Chapter 2: The Basics

    Section 1: Key Definitions
  • Common Acronyms
    Section 2: Benefit Basics
  • Who is Eligible for Benefits?
  • Currently Insured vs. Fully Insured
    1. Fully Insured
    2. Currently Insured
    3. Employees Not Covered
  • How to Apply for Benefits
  • When to Apply and How Benefits are Paid
  • What is FRA?
Section 3: What is PIA and How it is Calculated using AIME?
    Section 4: Reductions and Increases to Benefits
  • Benefits before FRA
  • Benefits after FRA
  • Recalculating PIA based upon Additional Earnings
  • Cost of Living Adjustments (COLAs)
    Section 5: Deemed Filing and the Effect on benefits
  • Exceptions to the Deemed Filing Rule

Chapter 3: Spousal Benefits

Section 1:  Eligibility for Spousal Benefits
Section 2:  Meeting the Marriage Requirement
Section 3:  Calculating the Spousal Benefit
Section 4:  Spousal Benefits and Early Retirement
Section 5:  Spousal Benefits at or after FRA

Chapter 4: Widows and other Survivor Benefits

    Section 1: Who is Eligible for Widow(er)or other Survivor Benefits?
  • Surviving Spouse
  • Deceased Worker’s Children
  • Deceased Worker’s Parents
  • Former Spouse of Deceased Worker
Section 2: When can Benefits be Elected?
Section 3: How are Benefits Paid?
Section 4: How is the Widow(er)’s Benefit Calculated?
Section 5: When Does Entitlement to Benefits End?

Chapter 5: Rules Related to Common Law and Same-Sex Marriages

Section 1: Common Law Marriage
Section 2: Same-Sex Marriage

Chapter 6: Divorce

    Section 1: Eligibility for Benefits
  • Length of Marriage, Minimum Age, Current Marital Status
Section 2: Independently Entitled Divorced Spouses
Section 3: Survivor Benefits of a Divorced Spouse

Chapter 7: Special Provisions Involving Dependent, Minor and Disabled Children

    Section 1: Child in Care Rules
  • Benefits for the Caregiver
  • Children’s Benefits
Section 2: Family Maximum Benefits

Chapter 8: The Earnings Test

Section 1:    When does the Earnings Test Apply?
Section 2:    How are Earnings Defined?
Section 3:    Calculating the Earnings Test Forfeiture Pre-FRA
Section 4:    The “Special Rule” for the Year FRA is Attained
Section 5:    Special Earnings Limit Rule: Grace Year
    Section 6:    Adjustment to the Reduction Factor
  • What is ARF?
  • How is ARF calculated?
  • Adjustment to benefit after ARF
    Section 7: Procedural Considerations
  • How Earnings are Reported
  • How Forfeited Amounts are Withheld
  • The Effect of the Earnings Test on Auxiliary Benefits

Chapter 9: Taxation of Social Security Benefits

Section 1: History of the Taxation of Social Security Benefits
    Section 2: Formula for Determining the Taxable Portion of Benefits
  • Combined/Provisional Income
  • Tax Efficiency of Social Security

Chapter 10: Windfall Elimination Provision

Section 1: History of the Windfall Elimination Provision
    Section 2: Workers effected by the WEP
  • When the WEP PIA is used
  • When the Application of the WEP ends
  • Section 3: How the Reduced Benefit Amount is Calculated
  • A Step-by-Step Analysis

Chapter 11: Government Pension Offset

Section 1: History of the Government Pension Offset
Section 2: Benefits Reduced as a Result of the GPO and How the Offset is Calculated
Section 3: Benefits that are not Reduced by the GPO

Chapter 12: Miscellaneous Provisions

    Section 1: “Do Over” Option Rules
  • Effects of Utilizing the Do-Over Option on later Benefits
  • Important Do-Over Considerations
Section 2: Important Timing Issue: Attained Age
Section 3: Important Timing Issue: Backdating Payments

Chapter 13: Medicare Basics

Section 1: Overview of Medicare
Section 2: Medicare for Higher Income Beneficiaries

    Chapter 14: Claiming Strategies

  • Introduction
  • Our Approach
  • Education
  • A Comprehensive Planning Approach
  • An Understanding of the Claiming Rules
    1. File and Take
    2. File and Suspend
  • Restricted Application
    1. Start, Suspend, Restart
    2. Widow’s Strategies
Sample Case Study