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Old 08-03-2014, 03:35 PM   #41
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I thought that's how it would work. I'll be starting Medicare next spring when I turn 65. The main question I have is whether my BCBS premiums will go down enough to make up the premium I pay for Medicare. Since BCBS then becomes secondary I'd think so but it'll be interesting to see how that turns out. The effect is lessened because I pay 30% of the premium.

All that said we fully expect SS to be there in full for the next 10-15 years with perhaps some ah, "adjustment" after that.
I am not sure how your BCBS premiums might be affected. Personally I am a retired federal employee with Medicare as primary and FEHB's BCBS Standard as secondary. I don't know if that is your situation or not. But anyway, the cost of BCBS to me remained exactly the same when I went on Medicare. However, it covers more than it did before, so overall, I'm happy with it. Other than BCBS, Medicare Part B, and my prescription costs, I have not paid one dime for any medical treatment since I turned 65; hard to complain about that.

I have no idea what will happen to Social Security. So far, so good.
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Old 08-03-2014, 03:41 PM   #42
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For those of you worrying about SS, know that fixing SS beyond 2033 (the current "run out of $" date estimate) is relatively easy. It does not take much tinkering to keep the program running and healthy.
This is the latest "tinkering" I've seen:

Lew Supports Funding Change for Disability Program - Washington Wire - WSJ

The Social Security Disability pool is on track to run out of money by the end of 2016. The Treasury Secretary is proposing to raid the funds to pay retiree benefits in order to cover the shortfall in the SS Disability program.
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Old 08-03-2014, 04:35 PM   #43
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Does having my DW claim half at FRA (then take her own at 70) work when DW is older than me?
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Old 08-03-2014, 04:50 PM   #44
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Does having my DW claim half at FRA (then take her own at 70) work when DW is older than me?
You have to have filed, though you can suspend under certain conditions, in order for your DW to claim spousal benefits. I think you can only suspend on or after FRA. So if you filed at 62 and your DW claimed spousal benefits at her FRA that should be fine, if the ages work for that. But you would be stuck with your age 62 SS benefit level.

SS benefits claiming strategy: Social Security Benefits Evaluator - T. Rowe Price

Spousal benefits: Retirement Planner: Benefits For You As A Spouse
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Old 08-03-2014, 04:59 PM   #45
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You have to have filed, though you can suspend under certain conditions, in order for your DW to claim spousal benefits. I think you can only suspend on or after FRA. So if you filed at 62 and your DW claimed spousal benefits at her FRA that should be fine, if the ages work for that. But you would be stuck with your age 62 SS benefit level.

SS benefits claiming strategy: Social Security Benefits Evaluator - T. Rowe Price

Spousal benefits: Retirement Planner: Benefits For You As A Spouse
Oh well, she's 9 years older, so apparently this won't work for us.
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Old 08-03-2014, 05:28 PM   #46
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This is the latest "tinkering" I've seen:

Lew Supports Funding Change for Disability Program - Washington Wire - WSJ

The Social Security Disability pool is on track to run out of money by the end of 2016. The Treasury Secretary is proposing to raid the funds to pay retiree benefits in order to cover the shortfall in the SS Disability program.
Yes I've seen this. I was hoping it would start people discussing the issue. IMHO it's all the same pool, just use it. Many people get much needed support from the disability
system.

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Old 08-03-2014, 05:43 PM   #47
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In 1970 when we were married and I was fresh off of active duty and was beginning my first civilian job (which had pension, thrift savings, medical etc.) I began to do adult stuff like plan for retirement at age 25. I had recently read an article that had me worried about what SS would be in 40 years.

I decided to exclude all hopes of SS from my planning and if SS happened to be there at the end then that would be even better.

After receiving spousal SS for the last 4 years, I will begin receiving SS in December under my SS number as I turn age 70 in November.

My plan worked.
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Old 08-04-2014, 12:37 AM   #48
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This is the latest "tinkering" I've seen:

Lew Supports Funding Change for Disability Program - Washington Wire - WSJ

The Social Security Disability pool is on track to run out of money by the end of 2016. The Treasury Secretary is proposing to raid the funds to pay retiree benefits in order to cover the shortfall in the SS Disability program.
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IMHO it's all the same pool, just use it.
Except ... it's not. The pools are legally separate. It's politically problematic to kick the can down the road for the shortfall in the SS Disability pool. The end of the road happens before the end of the current administration. Just maybe, that explains the proposal to drain resources from retiree benefits instead.

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Many people get much needed support from the disability system.
There's no doubt this is true. But, there is also rampant fraud in the system. This has increased in the recent economic slowdown. I believe about 5% of the working age population is currently on SS Disability.
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Old 08-04-2014, 02:16 AM   #49
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...
There's no doubt this is true. But, there is also rampant fraud in the system. This has increased in the recent economic slowdown. I believe about 5% of the working age population is currently on SS Disability.
++ I see & hear about SS Disability fraud all the time. Like the guy who gets SSDI because of a bad back but is out golfing all the time. Another who just doesn't want to work, so he has a mental problem. (And then his kids under 18 also get benefits.) For entertainment, watch how many show up on Judge Judy, if you can take that.
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Old 08-04-2014, 07:09 AM   #50
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Yes I've seen this. I was hoping it would start people discussing the issue. IMHO it's all the same pool, just use it. Many people get much needed support from the disability system.
As a former Section 8 landlord, I have seen countless abuses of the disability system. I wont go into detail here, because I do not want to get controversial, but there are plenty of physically healthy 20+ year old people on disability just because they cannot hold a job.

Do not for a minute think it's all people who want to work, but cannot.

Much has to do with some limits on Welfare. When a person runs out of welfare benefits, they get a Dr. to put them on Disability. It's a different 'bucket'. There is a lot of documentation and studies on this.
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Old 08-04-2014, 08:48 AM   #51
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As a former Section 8 landlord, I have seen countless abuses of the disability system. I wont go into detail here, because I do not want to get controversial, but there are plenty of physically healthy 20+ year old people on disability just because they cannot hold a job.

Do not for a minute think it's all people who want to work, but cannot.

Much has to do with some limits on Welfare. When a person runs out of welfare benefits, they get a Dr. to put them on Disability. It's a different 'bucket'. There is a lot of documentation and studies on this.
In the last few years, we have had a long, ongoing scandal about disability fraud with employees of the Long Island Rail Road conspiring with doctors to being declared disabled and begin receiving disability through the program. Hardly a few weeks go by without someone in the news getting indicted or pleading guilty to some involvement with this widespread scheme. Do a search for "lirr disability fraud" and you find lots of newspaper articles and other links to stories about this issue.
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Old 08-04-2014, 09:12 AM   #52
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A 20% reduction in SSDI would apparently make it solvent. Why not cut benefits?

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Old 08-04-2014, 09:14 AM   #53
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The daytime air wave commercials are full of advertisements for lawyers that will help you get SS disability payments. That tells you something.
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Old 08-04-2014, 09:17 AM   #54
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Do you know if they can do that with ex-county employees as well? (A few yrs to medicare)

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Call them and ask. I would imagine that they do only federal to federal but I don't know.
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Old 08-04-2014, 09:59 AM   #55
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A 20% reduction in SSDI would apparently make it solvent. Why not cut benefits?

Presumably, the people who legitimately need and rely on SSDI would find it difficult to handle losing 20% of their benefit. Just as many people receiving pensions or traditional SS would be hard-pressed to deal with a 20% cut.

As far as SSDI goes, the stories of fraud and abuse are so rampant, that it seems like a lot could be done to stem losses in that area before unilaterally cutting benefits.
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Old 08-04-2014, 10:15 AM   #56
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I don't know much about SSDI, but isn't it based on your income history? My ex-wife, who is bi-polar, was able to get herself on it soon after our divorce back in 1996. Because of her sporadic work history, and relatively young age (28 at the time), she was only able to get around $400 per month. I'm sure it's gone up since then because of inflation, but I can't imagine she's getting more than $550-600 a month today. Hardly enough to live large on.

Seems to me that it's easier to just go find a job, rather than try to scam the system for a mere pittance. And, if you're in your 20's or 30's, I'd presume it would be a comparative pittance.

Even now, at the age of 44, if I was able to get myself disabled, it would only come out to around $2109 per month. I could live off of that if I had to...but I'd rather not!

Now, I could see people in their 50's, maybe early 60's, trying to get themselves classified as disabled, since they're getting closer to retirement anyway. And if you get laid off, it might be more lucrative than trying to find another job. But I don't see how it could be all that beneficial for younger people to try and scam.
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Old 08-04-2014, 10:20 AM   #57
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Walt34, I think I am missing something when you queried if your BCBS health insurance premiums would go down because they are secondary. That's not the way it works. One goes on medicare and gets Part A for free and will pay a little over $100 a month for Part B. Then instead of using a your BCBS plan as a secondary plan it goes away. Then one purchases a medicare supplement plan from one of various insurance carriers of which BCBS can be one to choose from. These plans will run anywhere from $150 to $200 a month and they are not secondary per se but pick up the gaps that medicare does not cover as well as the deductibles. Another choice is a Medicare Advantage plan which is essentially medicare and medicare supplements combined into one package and these are provided by health insurance companies just like with the various supplement plans. Last there is prescription drug medicare Plan D which can be provided separately by health insurers for a monthly fee or would be included automatically in an Advantage plan.

As I type all of this in I have a feeling I misinterpreted what your post was about but if not this is how it works.
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Old 08-04-2014, 10:28 AM   #58
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Brooks, I know several people who have a company funded retirement health plan that functions as their Medicare Supplement. I suspect Walt has retirement health care (a BCBS plan) funded in part by his former employer and is wondering how the portion of the plan he pays for will change once he goes on Medicare and the plan switches from being his primary to being a supplement.
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Old 08-04-2014, 10:54 AM   #59
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I don't know much about SSDI, but isn't it based on your income history? My ex-wife, who is bi-polar, was able to get herself on it soon after our divorce back in 1996. Because of her sporadic work history, and relatively young age (28 at the time), she was only able to get around $400 per month. I'm sure it's gone up since then because of inflation, but I can't imagine she's getting more than $550-600 a month today. Hardly enough to live large on.

Seems to me that it's easier to just go find a job, rather than try to scam the system for a mere pittance. And, if you're in your 20's or 30's, I'd presume it would be a comparative pittance.

Even now, at the age of 44, if I was able to get myself disabled, it would only come out to around $2109 per month. I could live off of that if I had to...but I'd rather not!

Now, I could see people in their 50's, maybe early 60's, trying to get themselves classified as disabled, since they're getting closer to retirement anyway. And if you get laid off, it might be more lucrative than trying to find another job. But I don't see how it could be all that beneficial for younger people to try and scam.
Andre1969,
There are two forms of disability from SS. I believe SSI is there for folks that don't have enough work credits, those folks get a very small sum. SSI payments are subject to means testing. So the 21 year old golfer probaly wouldn't receive enough to pay green fees.

If you've accumulated enough work credits and become disabled you get your entitled amout(SSD). This is based on what your FICA amount payed in, just like regular SS.
Of course you wait for months to receive the benefits. I think there have been some conditions that have been fast pathed to avoid delays.

I know fraud exists in many programs. Having participated in a SSD hearing, IMHO one would have to give an Academy Awards type performance to sneak through. I don't know where the fraudulent DRs. come from, I've never met one that would lie, but I guess they're out there. Then there's the random check ups where the recipient and DRs. have to re justify the disability. Oh yes SS reserves the right to pull in their own DRs. for second/third opinions.

My comment about getting people talking was not about board members, it was about our representatives. My polyana view was if we start to figure out this shortfall, we'd be better prepared for the next one.

I sincerely hope the folks that have a negative feeling towards these programs never have to deal with a legitimate disability issue. Their opinions will be changed.

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This America Life on Balooning Disability Rolls
Old 08-04-2014, 03:56 PM   #60
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This America Life on Balooning Disability Rolls

I thought this was a pretty good piece on the ballooning disability roles -

Trends With Benefits | This American Life

I remember a number of years ago when we would go to my wife's family reunions it seemed like everyone there was on disability. It was almost a way of life.
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