Maximizing Your Retirement: A Guide to Social Security Benefits and Retirement Planning Strategies


Social Security is a federal program that provides benefits to retired workers, disabled workers, and their families. It’s also known as Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance (OASDI).
Social Security benefits are funded by payroll taxes collected from employers and employees on earned income up to a certain amount each year. The tax rate is 6.2% of gross wages up to $128,400 in 2019; there’s no limit on how much you can earn before paying into Social Security if you’re self-employed or work for yourself. If you’re married and both spouses work full time at low-wage jobs–say $15 per hour–your combined income could be well over $100K before paying any Social Security tax at all!

Your Rights as a Taxpayer

You have the right to representation. You also have the right to challenge the IRS’s position, and you can expect that your case will be resolved in a timely manner. If you’re not happy with how things are going, you can request a hearing before an appeals officer or even file suit in federal court.
You have a right to finality; once your case is closed by the IRS or agreed upon by both parties (you and them), it cannot be reopened unless there was fraud on either side of the equation–and even then only under very specific circumstances.

The Social Security Program

The Social Security program is a federal government program that provides benefits to retired workers and their families, as well as disabled workers and their families. The Social Security Administration (SSA) oversees the program, which was established in 1935 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Benefits are available to people who meet certain requirements set forth by law, including:

  • Who can receive benefits?
  • What types of benefits are available?
    In order for you or your spouse to be eligible for Social Security benefits on another person’s record, that person must have worked long enough under Social Security-covered employment before reaching age 62 (or early retirement age). If you were born before 1938 and haven’t worked enough quarters since turning 21 years old–10 quarters total–you may not be able to collect any retirement benefits from this worker’s record; however, if he or she died after reaching full retirement age but before receiving any payments based on his/her own earnings record (or disability), then there would still be some sort of survivor benefit payable through his/her work history instead because he/she had paid into it during his lifetime.”
Thomas Elliott

Education: Brooklyn Law School, Brooklyn, New York. Pace University, White Plains, New York.
Professional Associations and Memberships: American Bar Association, New York State Bar, The Association of the Bar of the City of New York, Brooklyn Bar Association, National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA).

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