Ask Stacy: Where Can I Get Social Security Advice?

Couple Elderly w Papers
Photo by Dmytro Zinkevych / Shutterstock.com

Welcome to your “2-Minute Money Manager,” a short video feature answering money questions submitted by readers and viewers. You can learn how to send in a question of your own below.

If you’re not typically a video watcher, give it a try. These videos are short and painless, and you’ll learn something valuable. But if you can’t deal with video, no problem: Just scroll down this page for the full transcript of the video, as well as some reader resources.

Today’s question is about finding help with Social Security.

It might seem that applying for and receiving Social Security is a simple process. However, there are claiming strategies that can result in getting thousands more in monthly benefits over your lifetime. Experts offer inexpensive help to make sure you’ll get every possible dime. Watch the video to learn about locating these helpful folks.

For more information on this topic, check out “12 Ways to Maximize Your Social Security Checks” and “This Could Be the Best Reason Not to Claim Social Security Early.” You can also go to the search at the top of this page, put in the words “Social Security” and find plenty of information on just about everything relating to this topic. And if you’d like help maximizing your Social Security benefits, be sure and visit the Social Security page of our Solutions Center.

Got a question of your own to ask? Scroll down past the transcript.

Don’t want to watch? Here’s what I said in the video

Hello, everyone, and welcome to your “2-Minute Money Manager.” I’m your host, Stacy Johnson, and this answer is brought to you by MoneyTalksNews.com, serving up the best in personal finance news and advice since 1991.

Our question today is from Bernadette:

“In one of your discussions about Social Security, you mentioned to speak with a Social Security counselor before deciding on when to sign up. I’ve asked around, and no one seems to have heard of this. Any idea where I might find one?”

Well, Bernadette, here’s the deal:

When you enroll for Social Security, how and when you sign up can mean a big difference in how much Social Security you’ll receive over the course of your lifetime. It’s referred to as a “claiming strategy.”

In short, there are things you can do — especially when you’re a married couple — that might put more money in your pocket.

Example: When you reach your full retirement age, you can make a choice to claim half of your spouse’s Social Security or all of yours, whichever is greater. There may be situations where you might want to take half of your spouse’s Social Security, allowing yours to grow as you approach 70, then claiming your own Social Security at 70 when your monthly benefit is higher. (The longer you wait to claim Social Security — up until you reach 70 — the higher your monthly payments will be.)

That’s just one example of a strategy you might use to increase Social Security payments over your lifetime.

It’s not a traditional counselor you go to for this type of advice. Instead, you just pay a company that uses a computer program. You give it the inputs, like your ages, life expectancies, blah, blah, blah, and then it spits out exactly what you should do.

I used one of these a couple of years ago, and I got back some interesting results. The report said that to maximize our lifetime benefits, I should claim at age 69 and my wife should adhere to her regular Social Security full retirement age. If memory serves, this strategy theoretically netted me an extra $15,000 over the course of both of our lifetimes.

You can get one of these reports for around $30. Here’s how: Go to MoneyTalksNews.com, then go to our Solutions Center, where you’ll find solutions for lots of common questions and problems. Then, click on the Social Security link. That will take you a company we partner with, Social Security Choices, that offers reports for $40. But if you use the coupon code “moneytalks” when you check out, you’ll get a $10 discount.

Personally, I thought it was worth it. You’ll probably find it worth it too, especially if you’ve got a spouse, and you’re wondering when each of you should claim.

I hope that answers your question, Bernadette. Have a profitable day, and I’ll meet you right here next time!

Got a question you’d like answered?

You can ask a question simply by hitting “reply” to our email newsletter, just as you would any email in your inbox. If you’re not subscribed, fix that right now by clicking here. It’s free, only takes a few seconds, and will get you valuable information every day!

The questions I’m likeliest to answer are those that will interest other readers. In other words, don’t ask for super-specific advice that applies only to you. And if I don’t get to your question, promise not to hate me. I do my best, but I get a lot more questions than I have time to answer.

About me

I founded Money Talks News in 1991. I’m a CPA, and have also earned licenses in stocks, commodities, options principal, mutual funds, life insurance, securities supervisor and real estate.

Got any words of wisdom you can offer on today’s question? Share your knowledge and experiences on our Facebook page. And if you find this information useful, please share it!

Got more money questions? Browse lots more Ask Stacy answers here.

How to find cheaper car insurance in minutes

Getting a better deal on car insurance doesn't have to be hard. You can have The Zebra, an insurance comparison site compare quotes in just a few minutes and find you the best rates. Consumers save an average of $368 per year, according to the site, so if you're ready to secure your new rate, get started now.

Read Next
If My Spouse Dies, Can I Get Her Social Security?
If My Spouse Dies, Can I Get Her Social Security?

If a spouse dies, will the survivor collect the other’s share in addition to his or her own?

11 Secret Uses for Everyday Items That Will Save You Money
11 Secret Uses for Everyday Items That Will Save You Money

These are simple solutions for life’s irritations.

Beware These 3 Tax Penalties on Retirement Accounts
Beware These 3 Tax Penalties on Retirement Accounts

Protecting a nest egg is tough — but you can make the situation far worse with some boneheaded mistakes.

5 Common Medical Expenses That Medicare Won’t Pay For
5 Common Medical Expenses That Medicare Won’t Pay For

Don’t let these health care costs catch you off guard in retirement.

6 Reasons Hiding Cash at Home Is a Terrible Idea
6 Reasons Hiding Cash at Home Is a Terrible Idea

Stashing cash around the house is anything but harmless.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
This Gas Station Scam Is Victimizing More Drivers
This Gas Station Scam Is Victimizing More Drivers

For the second straight year, a growing number of Americans believe they’ve fallen prey to this scam.

7 Ways to Boost Your Credit Score Fast
7 Ways to Boost Your Credit Score Fast

Your financial security might soon depend upon the strength of your credit score.

7 Unusual Ways to Declutter Your Home
7 Unusual Ways to Declutter Your Home

Tired of possessions weighing you down? Here are seven ways to declutter painlessly and effectively.

This Is the Most Popular Age for Claiming Social Security
This Is the Most Popular Age for Claiming Social Security

Both men and women are most likely to start receiving Social Security benefits at this age.

21 Things You Should Always Buy at a Dollar Store
21 Things You Should Always Buy at a Dollar Store

Dollar stores have great bargains on both everyday and occasional purchases.

6 Things You Should Never Buy at Trader Joe’s
6 Things You Should Never Buy at Trader Joe’s

We love Trader Joe’s for plenty of reasons. But think twice about this handful of products.

Could You Give Up These 7 Expenses to Save Thousands of Dollars a Year?
Could You Give Up These 7 Expenses to Save Thousands of Dollars a Year?

You could save more than $30,000 by setting aside these costly expenses for just one year.

Don’t Toss These 7 Household Items — Sell Them
Don’t Toss These 7 Household Items — Sell Them

Here’s how to earn cash as you give new life to these unwanted items.

6 Legal Documents Retirees Need — but Don’t Have
6 Legal Documents Retirees Need — but Don’t Have

Few retirees have these documents that are crucial to their golden years — especially during a pandemic.

19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree
19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree

These jobs pay more than the typical job in the U.S. — and no bachelor’s degree is required.

Eat This Food If You Want to Avoid Alzheimer’s Disease
Eat This Food If You Want to Avoid Alzheimer’s Disease

One type of food associated with the Mediterranean diet offers especially large benefits.

5 Awesome Places You Can Retire Overseas on $2,000 a Month or Less
5 Awesome Places You Can Retire Overseas on $2,000 a Month or Less

In this week’s podcast: tips on retiring overseas — from someone who’s been helping American expats for decades.

11 Expenses That Quietly Drain Your Wallet
11 Expenses That Quietly Drain Your Wallet

It’s scandalously easy to overspend in these areas of your life.

9 Dumb Ways You Are Ruining Your Home Value
9 Dumb Ways You Are Ruining Your Home Value

Homeowners, beware these mistakes that can drive away potential buyers.

18 Amazon Purchases That We Are Loving Right Now
18 Amazon Purchases That We Are Loving Right Now

These practical products make everyday life a little easier.

7 Tips for Building an Emergency Stockpile
7 Tips for Building an Emergency Stockpile

A pandemic or natural disaster could leave you reliant on your existing food supply. Is your pantry prepared?

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

15 Outrageously Overpriced Products — and How to Save on Them
15 Outrageously Overpriced Products — and How to Save on Them

Retailers mark up products by hundreds of times their cost — but you don’t have to pay the premium.

Why Half of Retirees Now Owe Taxes on Social Security
Why Half of Retirees Now Owe Taxes on Social Security

Growing numbers of seniors are paying taxes on their Social Security benefits, but you might be able to avoid this fate.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.