Have Social Security questions? Call or email us! 888-750-2622 or [email protected]
Launched in mid-2016, the AMAC Foundation Social Security Advisory has now responded to over 30,000 calls for assistance—calls from people desperate for guidance as they navigate the complex network of rules and regulations that comprise our country’s Social Security system. Often, those who contact our service are frustrated by their inability to obtain clear and understandable answers to basic questions about the options available to them and the impact of decisions they need to make. Our trained and accredited Advisors welcome these interactions, offering first a compassionate ear to exasperated callers, followed by a careful analysis of their situation and a well-constructed explanation of the guidelines embedded in this massive senior benefit program.
We know that all who contact us sincerely appreciate the credible information we provide in response to their questions, and we know they appreciate the quick attention we pay to their requests. Their appreciation is illustrated in the routine feedback we receive, and hundreds of our “customers” have taken the initiative to offer direct commentary expressing their gratefulness for the quality of help they’ve received. Here are is a sampling of the types of positive observations that have come our way:
- Marla O. approached our telephone service with several key questions about retirement, one of which dealt with the process for voluntarily suspending benefits and allowing delayed retirement credits to augment her monthly benefit. After receiving contradictory guidance from Social Security Administration (SSA) staff members, she contacted us for clarification. Sharon Kleczka, one of our founding staff members, addressed all her basic questions about when and how to file, the effect of her income level on Medicare Premiums, and even guidance of handling income tax withholding on her benefits. On the issue of suspending benefits, Sharon researched the SSA’s detailed operating documentation and excerpted the relevant rules covering the process for stopping and restarting her benefit later, and provided via email a copy for her use in approaching SSA’s field office. Marla’s response to the service she received was a sincere thank you to the AMAC organization and to Sharon personally, acknowledging the patience and the extraordinary effort she put into not only answering the questions, but providing the documentation to support the correct answer to the file-and-suspend matter.
- The Social Security Earnings Test—the provision that limits earnings for those who filed before their full retirement age—tends to cause much confusion, especially during the first year of retirement. Carmen C. contacted us via email with concerns that she may have missed notifying SSA about her earnings and would therefore suffer some penalty consequences. Our Advisor, Russell “Rusty” Gloor (another founding member of the Advisory Service staff), responded to her with a complete analysis of how the Earnings Test works and the timing for information flow between SSA and the IRS, explained that the “catch up” process between the two federal agencies would lead to reconciliation the following year, and assured Carmen that there would be no dire consequences ahead. In expressing relief, Carmen commented, “I don’t know what I would do without this service that AMAC provides.”
- Maximizing a married couple’s lifetime and survivor benefits requires a complete understanding of the impact of claiming decisions, especially in situations where one of the spouses has a pension earned without Social Security. After researching the matter on his own and attempting to comprehend the published reference materials, Robert A. contacted us for help in determining the most appropriate claiming strategy. Using the details he provided, our staff assembled a thorough analysis of the rules governing the couple’s specific situation, and selected four options for their consideration, singling out the option that would provide them the highest lifetime cumulative benefit. The response, provided to Robert the following day, fully answered his questions and served to prepare the couple to make their decisions on claiming benefits. His feedback to us after the exchange included these remarks, “We’re thankful AMAC is there to help in so many ways with talented/knowledgeable people. Whenever the need for help with things like SS/Medicare come up AMAC is the first thing we think of and recommend to friends, family, co-workers.”
- Paul W., a retired Ex-Patriot living abroad, sought our help for a series of questions and concerns about Social Security policies in the areas of spousal benefits, minor child benefits, child-in-care benefits, and appointment of a personal representative. In this case, his off-shore residency introduced a variety of issues, many of them compounded by long-distance communications and frequent hand-offs among SSA agents trying to understand and unravel his many questions. Paul contacted us eight separate times over several weeks, engaging with Russell Gloor in lengthy dialogue about his unique situation and the various forms and avenues he’d need to follow to resolve his situation. Once completed, Paul expressed his sincere thanks, terming Russell’s work as “amazing,” and describing the Foundation’s work on his behalf to be “better than excellent, if that is even possible.”
- Often, we receive requests from callers who have made multiple attempts through the Social Security Administration to understand complicated details, only to receive conflicting answers. As in all our responses, we take great care to clarify the misunderstandings first, and then provide a clear and straightforward answer, supported by examples and references to specific rules. Jim H. contacted us to explain the “mixed signals” he’d received when questioning the options available to his wife, specifically whether she could file first for her own small benefit and switch at her full retirement age to claim a spousal benefit to SSA. There are occasions where the response to an inquiry is not quite what the caller hoped for, but having a precise and credible answer is most valued by our constituents. Jim thanked us for an answer that was very clear and much appreciated.
- Questions about Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) can be fairly detailed and often lead to questions within questions, especially when spousal benefits are involved. AMAC member Darrell W. approached us with a complicated multi-part query concerning the conversion from SSDI benefits to regular retirement benefits, and included in the exchange a request for advice on a strategy for his wife to use that would maximize her benefits at retirement. Our Advisor Ken Baron carefully outlined the SSDI conversion process as well as the claiming process for Darrell’s spouse, and explained how the “deemed” filing rules adopted several years ago dictate the sequence in which her eventual benefit payment is calculated. In voicing his complete satisfaction with the answers he received, Darrell commended the promptness of the response and the quality of the information he received, saying “I will definitely use AMAC for future Social Security questions…thank you for this great service.”
- One of the Social Security areas most frequently questioned is the subject of survivor benefits and how retirement decisions affect the benefit available to a surviving spouse. Often, the question focuses on one spouse contemplating claiming retirement benefits, but not certain of the survivor benefit that would be available in the event of the other spouse’s death. There are many misconceptions, and it’s not always understood how the age at which one or both spouses claim benefits will affect the resulting survivor benefit. Lesley C. contacted us seeking reassurance of her understanding of the math involved in this area. After explaining the determination process for surviving spouse benefits in detail, she offered these remarks, “Thank you for all you do! I get so much good info and especially in the areas of medical insurance and social security. You have great teams!”
All of us on the Foundation’s Social Security Advisory Staff are committed to fully and expeditiously meeting the needs of those who contact us and, judging from the feedback we receive through our regular quality assessment follow-up, we know that our constituents are well satisfied with the service they receive. One hundred percent of our callers expressed appreciation for the timely response—we shoot for an immediate or less-than-24-hour turnaround—while 100% affirm that their questions were satisfactorily answered. Even more telling is the fact that nearly all (98%) indicate they’d recommend our service to others.
We view the success of the AMAC Foundation, and specifically the track record our Social Security Advisory Service has built in service to America’s seniors, as a major part of AMAC Founder Dan Weber’s vision. Indeed, while his formation of the Association of Mature American Citizens (AMAC) represented a mission to provide Americans an honest, active, and conservative alternative to other 50+ organizations, his focus also centered squarely on providing service to those facing a bewildering array of decisions in their senior years…when they need it most. He knew what was needed and he was right!
How much do you know about AMAC Foundation services?
AMAC Foundation routinely informs and educates America’s seniors through articles posted on their News & Info page on the website, as well as facilitating or working with other organizations to promote helpful events and resources.
AMAC Foundation has a dedicated team of accredited professionals that provides free information and responses to those who inquire with Social Security Benefits questions. The Social Security Advisory Service (SSAS) team is engaged in staying up to date on current information and training. Information on services can be found at https://amacfoundation.org/services/.
Our accredited team receives an average of 500 inquiries per month. The responses are individualized for each inquiry, based on the topic in question. In addition to the inquiries, the SSAS team publish articles, blog posts, and audios that can be found on the AMAC Foundation website and the Foundation’s Social Security Report site. Every day these professionals strive to engage with and help America’s current and future seniors stay in-the-know on popular and important Social Security questions and topics!
While you’re here, we have a small favor to ask…
Support the AMAC Foundation. Our 501(c)(3) powers the AMAC Foundation’s Social Security Advisory Services. This team of nationally accredited advisors offers on-time, on-the-mark guidance for those approaching or receiving Social Security – at no cost.