By RUSSELL GLOOR
Social Security Advisor
I keep receiving emails from different investor groups about “The one word that will get you an extra $570 per month in social security”, which I could use. Of course they want you to buy all sorts of monthly newsletters in order to get their answer. Is there truly a way to get an extra $570 per month and if so how do I go about getting it, or what is “the word”? Signed: Curious
Dear Curious: I’m sure you’ve heard the old adage “If it sounds too good to be true – it is”. I have seen the solicitation you’re speaking of, and I’ve seen many other similar “come-on’s” which are always meant to lure you into buying something in return for revealing a secret way to get more from Social Security.
The reality is this: There isn’t any magical “one word” that will give you an extra benefit, unless that word is “delay”, meaning if you can delay applying for Social Security your benefit amount will be larger. And that’s because your benefit amount increases with each month you delay up until you reach age 70 when it will reach its maximum. Simply put, the more you delay the larger your benefit will be, and that’s certainly no secret. You’ll often see another tempting and mysterious phrase referred to as “FAASF” – an acronym for “file as a spouse first” – which refers to an option called the Restricted Application for Spousal Benefits Only. This option, which allows a person to file only for spousal benefits while allowing their own retirement benefit to grow, was eliminated by The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 for anyone born later than 1953. Those born in 1954 or after are automatically “deemed” to be filing for both their own retirement benefit and any spousal benefit they may be entitled to and cannot apply to collect only spousal benefits. But the ads promising to reveal a special “FAASF” option to you are trying to lure a smaller segment of people who may qualify as well as a majority who don’t to buy their product in return for revealing this “secret” option (which, of course, is no secret at all).
Social Security is a complex program with over 2700 rules and regulations, and there really isn’t any simple “one word” anyone can use to beat the system. My suggestion is to heed that old adage, and if you have any questions about whether or not you’re getting all of the Social Security benefits you’re entitled to, contact an independent Social Security advisory service (such as ours at The AMAC Foundation) which isn’t out to sell you anything. Our only goal is to be an independent free service to AMAC members and other senior citizens, with no strings attached.
The information presented in this article is intended for general information purposes only. The opinions and interpretations expressed in this article are the viewpoints of the Association of Mature American Citizens Foundation’s Social Security Advisory staff. To submit a question, contact the Foundation at firstname.lastname@example.org.