Ask Larry

What are your Social Security questions? Ask Professor Larry Kotlikoff and the experts at Maximize My Social Security

Ask Larry

My weekly Ask Larry column ran for almost four years at PBS NewsHours' site. We've now moved Ask Larry to the best place to both answer your general questions and let you calculate your particular optimal benefit collection strategy. I pledge to answer as many questions as possible in the columns below. Please share Ask Larry on social media and consider purchasing our Maximize My Social Security program, which will show you precisely how to get everything you paid for. All my best, Larry.
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Laurence "Larry" Kotlikoff, Professor of Economics, Boston University, and President of Economic Security Planning, Inc., makers of Maximize My Social Security
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Latest Questions and Answers

Will The COLA Increases Since My Husband's Death Apply To My Widow's Benefit?

My spouse was collecting Social security when he died in 2012. His monthly benefit at that time was$2425. If I begin receiving his benefit this year when i turn 64 will the COLA increases between then and now apply to my 82.5%?

Hi. I'm sorry for your loss. Yes, the Social Security cost of living increases that occurred since your husband's death would be added when calculating your survivor benefit rate. Your rate wouldn't necessarily be just 82.5% of your husband's primary insurance amount (PIA), though, unless he started drawing his benefits at age 62 . . . Read More

Category: Widow's Benefits
Posted: Apr 22 2021 - 6:00pm

Will My Wife's Spousal Benefits Be Reduced When She Starts Receiving Her UK State Pension?

My wife and I are US citizens aged 68 and 67. We both worked in the UK for 30 years. I am receiving a UK state pension and a US social security pension which is reduced by the WEP. My wife receives a US spousal pension ( she did not have enough points to apply for a SS pension) which was determined at the same time as my WEP reduced pension.
My wife is entitled to a UK state pension. When she claims that will she need to notify the SSA and will it reduce her spousal pension?

Hi William. No, your wife's spousal benefits won' . . . Read More

Category: Non-Covered Pension - WEP / GPO
Posted: Apr 22 2021 - 3:24pm

How Will Six Years Of Zero Earnings Affect My SS Benefit?

Hi larry. I h ave put in 29 years of work. and have decided to stop working. I am now 54.6 years. How will this last 6 years of zeros (total not adding up to 35 years) effect my SS benefit

Hi. Including 6 years of zero earnings in a 35 year earnings average obviously lowers the average annual amount. For example, if a person earned an average of $50,000 per year for 29 years, their 35 year average earnings would be $41,428.57. That lower average would in turn result in a lower Social Security retirement benefit rate for that person.
However, the . . . Read More

Category: Calculating Retirement Benefits
Posted: Apr 22 2021 - 10:06am
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