SocialSecurityBenefits

Point: The Complete Overhaul Social Security Needs to Survive

Ahead of AARP's planned "secret" salon on the future of Social Security, we offer two retirement experts' dramatically different proposals for solving the Social Security crisis. Chuck Saletta's view: You can't fix this with "tweaks" and small measures.

Why Inflation Is Higher Than It Looks

The Consumer Price Index, which measures inflation, is only as effective as the assumptions it makes -- in this case, about what you buy. If you spend more on certain things than most people, then the CPI will do a terrible job of reflecting the prices you actually pay. In particular, retirees often don't fit the CPI profile well at all.

Should the Rich Lose Their Social Security Benefits?

For millions of retired Americans, Social Security benefits barely beat earning the minimum wage, while rich retirees who don't need the money receive much larger checks. With the iconic safety net program in budget trouble, should the wealthy be forced to sacrifice those benefits?

Social Security Benefit Is Barely Minimum Wage

Good news: Retirees will get a 3.6% Social Security cost-of-living adjustment in 2012 -- their first boost since 2009. Bad news: The average benefit is $1,229 a month, about the equivalent of working for minimum wage.

Why Social Security Is Still Falling Apart

Social Security spent $49 billion more in 2010 than it took in as tax collections. By the time 2011 ends, it expects to outspend collections by another $46 billion. At this rate, the program's much-touted "Trust Fund" is expected to be depleted by 2036; without that fund, benefits are expected to fall to about three-quarters of current promised levels.

Not Much for Social Security Recipients

Social Security recipients, 55 million strong, will get a 3.6% cost of living increase next year. There has not been a cost of living increase from the fund in three years. This one is so small that it may harm consumer spending. It certainly won't help -- another likely drag on GDP.

Social Security to Hand Out First Raises Since '09

Social Security recipients will get a raise in January -- their first increase in benefits since 2009. It's expected to be about 3.5 percent. Some 55 million beneficiaries will find out for sure Wednesday when a government inflation measure that determines the annual cost-of-living adjustment is released.

Dead or Alive: Thousands Mistakenly Declared Deceased

Each year, some 14,000 people are wrongly declared dead by the Social Security Administration, CNNMoney reports. Data-entry errors can lead to major financial turmoil for victims of these mistakes, who they can lose their benefits and credit.

Is Social Security Ripping You Off?

In all the hype and emotion surrounding the debate, it's easy to miss the real point about Social Security -- whether it's worth it for most...

Deciding When to Retire? Consider the Future First

For seniors, delaying retirement can have a big payoff in Social Security benefits. And a new study finds it's easier to decide to wait if you think about the advantages of holding out before you consider the pluses of retiring early.

Your Social Security Benefit: $29.02 a Day

Could you live on less than $30 a day? If you don't have a pension or adequate personal savings, that's what the typical retiree will get in 2036, even setting aside the near-term risks facing Social Security. But don't despair: There are ways to boost your benefits, and ensure that old age doesn't equal penury.

How to Retire Rich Without Relying on Social Security

Even if Social Security weren't falling apart -- which it manifestly is -- the average retiree benefits essentially amount to about what you'd earn working full time at a minimum wage job. That's hardly the retirement lifestyle you want. Here's a plan that will allow you to retire comfortably.

10 tax tips for seniors

Every year about this time, I receive a lot of mail from seniors who are confused about whether they should file a tax return. The confusion stems...