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Ginell Butler
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Rebekah Miller

Social Security

Planning for your retirement? Let SMI help you!

You’ve probably heard of the many changes and political fights about Social Security. Fact is Social Security is your retirement benefits and proceeds you should receive. As a citizen of the U.S. if you’ve worked at all then you’re entitled to Social Security benefits or Social Security Insurance (SSI) as its known.

In 2016, Social Security provided benefits to nearly 61 million Americans. In fact, beneficiaries age 65 and older, 21 percent of married couples and 43 percent of unmarried people depend on Social Security for 90 percent or more of their income. It is interesting to note that 50 percent or more of income from Social Security shows that 48 percent of married couples and 71 percent of unmarried persons in this age group receive Social Security.

By 2030 the US population aged 50 and over is expected to increase to 132 million and therefore the more we age the more chances of hospitalization and high cost, all which can be taxing on social security benefits.

Here are a few basic Social Security tips to start review NOW:​

  • Look at your earning record
  • Get an idea of your retirement benefits
  • See how much you have contributed
  • Assess the benefits of taking social security early
  • Understand how family members will benefit from social security

One can become overwhelm deciphering truths and falsehoods about Social Security, check out these “need to know”:

Social Security isn’t just for retired workers. Statistic state that as of June 2016,

16 percent beneficiaries were disable workers and their dependents, and 13 percent were survivors (such as widows, widowers and children).

One can start collecting Social Security benefits at age 62, but many wait until age 65 for full retirement benefits. If you are in the categories of any of the following: Widows, widowers, surviving children, the disabled and children of the disabled then you can start collecting earlier. Remember full retirement benefits are based on the year of your birth.

Signing up for Social Security is easy – Call SMI and let them get you signed up painlessly, avoid going online, waiting in line at your local Social Security office or on the phone. TIP: Reach out to Social Security Administration (SSA) three months before you wish to receive your first payment.

How long do I need to work to become eligible for benefits? If you were born in 1929 or later, you need to work at least 10 years to become eligible for Social Security. The SSA determines eligibility with a system of credits. Basically, you earn up to four credits for every year worked, and you need a total of 40 credits to qualify for Social Security.

Must I stop working to collect Social Security benefits? No, you can receive benefits while working. But, if you are younger than the full retirement age and earn more than a certain amount, your monthly benefits will be temporarily reduced. Once you reach full retirement age, however, your benefits will be increased to make up for what was lost over time.

If you’re reaching your full retirement age in 2017, the amount you can earn this year without a reduction in benefits is $44,880. If you’re younger than that, the amount you can earn without a reduction in benefits is $16,920. After you reach your full retirement age, you keep all your benefits, no matter how much you earn.

What’s the maximum monthly Social Security benefit?

For a worker retiring in 2017 at the full retirement age of 66, the highest monthly amount is $2,687. In December 2016, the average monthly Social Security benefit for a retired worker was about $1,360.

Can I receive Social Security benefits based on the earnings of a former spouse? Yes, as long as you were married for 10 years and you aren’t remarried. If so, you’re eligible to claim Social Security benefits under your ex-spouse’s earnings if they turn out to be higher than your own.

How can I boost the amount of my Social Security check? Bottom line: The longer you wait to start collecting after you become eligible at 62, the higher the amount you will receive. For instance, by postponing Social Security until your full retirement age of 66, your benefit will be 25 percent higher than if you started as early as possible. Delay Social Security beyond your full retirement age, and your benefit will go up 8 percent a year until 70 — a 32 percent bonus. Check out AARP social Security Benefit Calculator.

How can I receive my Social Security payments? The Department of Treasury did away with paper checks in March 2013 in favor of direct deposit and debit cards.

When someone dies, how does the Social Security Administration know? The SSA receives reports of beneficiary deaths from family members, funeral homes and other government agencies. You should inform the SSA as soon as possible when a person dies.

There will be monthly updates on Social Security benefits, disability and other pertinent information. Be sure to check the website regularly as a plethora of information on Social Security and how it impacts you will be available. Plus contact SMI Gerontologist for an evaluation and assessment.


Medicare is the hot potato on the tongues of many, especially politicians, who are attempting to make decisions about our health care. The Boomers are and have retired and the last thing needed is to have ‘others’ playing “footsie” with one’s health benefits.

To simplify, let’s start with “what is Medicare?”

Medicare is a government health insurance program administered by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). To be eligible for Medicare, one must be a legal permanent resident for the past five years or a U.S. citizen 65 years or older, or younger with a qualifying disability. If you are not a citizen of the United States, you can contact the Social Security Administration office to learn if you would be eligible

Medicare Insurance has four plans and coverage: Medicare Part A, Part B, Part C and Part D.

Medicare Part A (hospital insurance) and Medicare Part B (medical insurance) together make up Original Medicare. Medicare Part C, also known as Medicare Advantage, and Medicare Part D (prescription drug coverage) programs that let you get Medicare plans through private insurance companies that contract with Medicare. There is also Medicare Supplement insurance (also called Medigap), which is sold by private companies.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). Reports, over 55 million people were Medicare beneficiaries as of 2015, including over 39 million enrolled in Medicare Part D (prescription drug coverage).

Check back regularly with SMI to see the latest updates on Medicare 2017.

Medicare Facts you should know: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/861665341177814214/


Senior Moments, Inc. considers Medicaid and Medicare as first cousins. They are several differences and some similarities.



  • is an assistance program funded by payroll taxes
  • Is for people who have low income
  • has programs that vary state-to-state
  • has people pay very little or no portions for coverage


  • Is an insurance program funded by Federal Government?
  • Is for people over 65
  • Has same program nationwide
  • Has people pay deductibles for coverage


  • Both Medicare and Medicaid provide inpatient hospital care
  • Cover prescription drug consumption
  • Benefit people with disabilities

Contact Senior Moments Inc. for an assessment and evaluation in helping sign you up for these services.


The California Medical Assistance Program (Medi-Cal or MediCal) is the name of the California Medicaid welfare program serving low-income individuals, including but not limited to: families, seniors, and persons with disabilities, children in foster care, pregnant women, and childless adults with incomes below 138% of federal poverty level.

Call SMI to assist with completing and applying for Medi-cal as it can be a lengthy process and a lot of moving parts such as, Long Term Care, Hospice, assistance with ACCESS transportation and numerous other benefits that can be complicated to obtain.

Elder Abuse

Elder Abuse is a ‘silent epidemic’ in America which can affect Elder or dependent adults. In short, elder adult abuse can be defined as the mistreatment or neglect of any elder person (65 or older) or dependent adult (18-64) and physically or mentally impaired. It can be committed by a relative a caregiver, or another person who is in a position to cause harm to the elder or dependent adult. Sometimes the elder/dependent adult can’t take care of her or her own needs. When this occurs, it is called self-neglect.

There are five types of Elder or dependent abuse: Physical, Financial, Mental, Neglect and Self-Neglect. The key signs of Elder and Dependent Abuse can be indicated by ones (a) Physical Appearance, (b) behavioral changes (c) Family or Caregiver Attitude and Behavior.

Any and all observations of Elder Abuse should be reported to Los Angeles County Elder Abuse hotline (877)477-3646, where a ‘live staff’ will gather all information and send to Sheriff and Adult Protective Services (APA) for immediate action.

Who is Adult Protective Services: Adult Protective Services (APS) is 24-hour service program to investigate all situations involving seniors (age 65 and older), and dependent adults (age 18-64 and physically or mentally impaired) who are reported to be endangered by physical, sexual or financial abuse, isolation, neglect, or self-neglect.

Over time SMI will provide a breakdown of each component in Elder Abuse and what to do. Additionally, the most current and up-to-date information and events to attend on Elder Abuse. Contact SMI for an assessment and evaluation on Elder Abuse.

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