Means-Tested Benefits

What Does “Means-Tested Benefits” Mean?

Many public benefits programs are “means-tested.” But what does that mean? Some programs are based on participation in an insurance model. Those include Social Security retirement benefits, Social Security disability benefits, and even survivor’s and children’s benefits. Medicare eligibility is also based on participation in the program (through employment and withholding or quarterly estimated payments).…

2020 COLA

Social Security’s 2020 COLA Increase

Each year the U.S. Social Security Administration calculates an adjustment in the cost of living (COLA). The 2020 COLA increase has now been set at 1.6%. That means that, starting January 1, 2020, a number of changes will cascade through the benefit structure. How will the 2020 COLA increase affect you, or your family member?…

Changes in Social Security Claiming Strategies Arrive Next Month

MARCH 14, 2016 VOLUME 23 NUMBER 10 Our good friend Amos Goodall, a nationally-known elder law attorney in State College, Pennsylvania, wrote our newsletter for this week. Amos explains a particularly confusing and complicated issue. The Social Security retirement program basically gives back, with some small interest, funds you and your employer have deposited into…

Planning for Retirement: Does the Three-Legged Stool Work?

DECEMBER 16, 2013 VOLUME 20 NUMBER 47 For decades accountants, financial planners, lawyers and government workers have talked about Social Security and the “three-legged stool.” The metaphor had a simple attraction, especially when Social Security was a young program. The three legs? Social Security, private retirement programs and personal investments. You should have some of…