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AARP AARP States Virginia Finances 50+

Online seminar explains Social Security to newbies

Close-up of social security cards
Douglas Sacha/Getty Images

How much do we really know about our eligible Social Security benefits? So many questions…How do we qualify? When to file? Can we still work while receiving benefits? What if my spouse died? We divorced? I remarried?

The answers to these questions and many more were shared in an informative hour-long AARP – Virginia virtual seminar, “Claiming Social Security Benefits for the First Time: What You Need to Know” by presenters John Tudor and Philisa Johnson.

The format was easy to follow (given the complicated nature of the subject) and included a breakout small group session in which participants could discuss one of three case studies. Participants could apply their new knowledge of Social Security benefits as well as generate questions for the experts to answer. For the uninitiated, “breakout” sessions mean that you are randomly moved into a smaller “room” and can choose to “unmute” to share in the conversation.  Pre-Covid, the previous sentence would not have made sense to many non-Zoomers!

The longer you or your qualifying spouse work and the longer you delay receiving benefits, the higher your monthly payments.  You can’t apply before age 62, full retirement is either age 66 or 67 depending on your birth month and year, and maximum retirement benefits are at age 70.  There are many caveats for what would benefit each worker’s individual circumstances.  Fortunately, this seminar and others like it will be repeated in the coming weeks and months.  There is much to absorb and the breakout approach lends to each seminar being slightly fresher as people share their ideas in potentially different ways than previous seminars.

In the meantime, use the provided Social Security links to make an account well in advance of your desired retirement date to aid in benefit calculations.  Social Security has not yet resumed walk in office availability but is accessible by phone and online. AARP has a web page dedicated to advanced learning about Social Security benefit.

Social Security Administration telephone number: 1-800-772-1213


AARP information regarding Social Security:

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