Edward Lafferty, Public Affairs Specialist with the Social Security Administration, discussed discussed the system’s funding, since his last appearance we gained a year before the trust runs dry, by 2035 there will be just two workers paying in to every beneficiary. He advised us to visit the SS website to see the various scenarios and proposals to keep the system afloat, important information in an election year. We discussed the first attack, raising the age of full benefits.
He described Social Security as part of a planned retirement. He noted that the entitlement was never intended to be the sole source of income, and that we should look at it in conjunction with pensions, investments and savings. He recommended that everyone sign up for a My Social Security card, it creates a portal that allows you to track your payments into the system, catch missing info early, interface via text with the Administration to ask questions, request a replacement SS card and later, apply for retirement benefits.
Mr. Lafferty described the various programs that are part of the system, retirement, disability and survivor and children’s benefits. Disability he described as an ‘insurance’ – when you are verified as disabled – and he noted it is a stringent criteria used – you and your dependents receive funds. Survivor and children’s benefits help should you die with children under the age of 18. He also spoke of the benefits available to children who are disabled from birth or before they become a wage earner.
He talked about the decision to take benefits, early with a permanently reduced monthly payment, or delayed, which, up to the age of 70, can dramatically increase the amount you can receive. He noted that it is a personal decision; consider your family’s longevity, your need and how much you’re willing to gamble on it!
We also discussed scams, Mr. Lafferty encourages everyone to report any phone or mail solicitations, even if you are not a victim, to help track where and how scams are originating. He reminds us that the Social Security Administration DOES NOT call unless you’ve initiated a conversation and that you should NEVER share information about your account or send money to clear any ‘problems.’
If you receive a suspicious call, you may report that information online at https://oig.ssa.gov/report or by calling (800) 269-0271, Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern Time. You can also report these scams to the Federal Trade Commission through a new site specific to Social Security scams: https://identitytheft.gov/ssa.
Finally, he reviewed the top baby names from 2018! Once again nationally it was Liam and then Noah on top for boys, and Emma and Olivia leading the girls. Mr. Lafferty noted that the states will often show regional differences, for example, PA follows the nation’s lead at the top, then veers off and adds Benjamin and Mason to the top five! The list reflects cultural influences, such as sports heroes and actors and films and television. He encourages parents to consider Edward for their next son, number 169 on the list.