Ask Larry

Retirement Benefits

Will My Benefits Be Reduced Because I'm Collecting A Union Pension?

I'm collecting now a union pension and debating about taking my social security benefit early at 62 , will my benefit be reduced because I collect a union pension? I know I will be reduced because of age.


Your union pension won't reduce your Social Security benefit unless the pension is based on your earnings that were exempt from Social Security taxes.

Wednesday, August 5, 2020 - 10:57

Can My Social Security Benefit Be Increased?

I have been getting special security since 2017 when I turned 65. I also quit full time teaching.
Since I quit my job I make more money now that I am a selling my art and am sought after to offer art workshops.
Can my social security benefit be increased (I make much more selling art than I did teaching.)

Also, my current Social security benefit is only about $1000 a month but my husband’s (retired at age 67 in 2018) gets about $1700. Should I be apply for spousal benefit as this is what confuses me the most.

Thanks, Sheila

Wednesday, August 5, 2020 - 10:17

Is There Any Way For Me To Independently Verify That My Social Security Benefit Is Correct?

I began collecting Social Security at age 70 (I am now 72). My wife and I went to the Social Security Office which is actually near our home here in Dallas. They were as baffled as anyone I have ever seen, but gave me a print-out from which I could tell the SSA selection of my 35 "highest earning years". Some of the years the SSA included were not in my highest 35 years. We showed the agent the error, and (supposedly) she "corrected" it -- but my benefit has never changed. I have my complete earnings record.

Monday, July 27, 2020 - 10:06

Is There A Provision For Increasing Monthly Benefits Now Or In The Future Not Counting The CPI?

Born in '46 and waited till 66 BD to apply for benefits. Is there a provision for increasing monthly benefit distribution now or in the future not counting the CPI every year?


No. Other than for cost of living increases (COLA), the only way that your Social Security retirement benefit rate could increase is if you work and earn more in a year than you did in one of your previous highest 35 years of wage-indexed earnings.

Best, Jerry

Wednesday, June 17, 2020 - 09:58

Will My Current Lower Income Significantly Reduce My Full Retirement Benefit?

Hi Larry!
I've enjoyed reading your insights on John Mauldin's newsletter. Thank you.

All of the Soc Security calculators assume that I will be making the same income as I did in 2019. Due to COVID-19, many of us are taking pay cuts and being furloughed. I'm in the trade show industry, so it will be a long slog with lower income.

Thursday, June 4, 2020 - 11:01

Does My Benefit Amount Go Up By 8% If I'm Not Working Or Getting Benefits?

If I am not working and not getting SS yet, does the amount I will receive still go up 8% a year?


If you're eligible for Social Security retirement benefits but you haven't started drawing them and if you're between full retirement age (FRA) and age 70, then yes your benefit rate would increase by 8% per year (i.e. 2/3rds of 1% per month) until you reach age 70 unless you start drawing your benefits before then. Those increases are caused by delayed retirement credits (DRC), and you don't need to be working in order to accrue DRCs.

Wednesday, June 3, 2020 - 08:23
MaxiFi software running on a laptop
Get What's Yours!
Discover tens of thousands in extra retirement dollars with Maximize My Social Security software!
  • Find your maximized strategy
  • Unlimited what-ifs
  • Step-by-Step filing instructions
  • Our software's lifetime-benefit increase for an illustrative couple earning $65K each and planning to take retirement benefits at 62.

    Results will differ based on your specific case and filing strategy.

Getting Started is Easy
Web-based software. Works on ALL browsers. No download.