Discover more from Economics Matters by Laurence Kotlikoff
Please Watch 60 Minutes Tonight. I'm on with Terry Savage Discussing Social Security's Super Scary Clawbacks.
Also, our new book -- Social Security Horror Stories -- is now available.
I’ve been writing about Social Security Horror Stories — its clawbacks and scams — for years. I’m a huge fan of Social Security, but not its terrible financial abuse. This Spring I made acclaimed personal finance journalist, Terry Savage, aware of what I had been seeing in sporadic emails. We decided to investigate the extent of the problem by soliciting horror stories from Terry’s readers. Overnight, we had 150 stories — one worse than the next. At this point, we decided to write a book and interest 60 Minutes in the scandal.
Yesterday, Terry Savage and I self published, on Amazon, Social Security Horror Stories -- Protect Yourself from the System and Avoid Clawbacks. Here’s the link and cover. Tonight, Anderson Cooper will interview Terry and me, as well as clawback victims, on 60 Minutes.
As you’ll hear, almost 1 million Americans are having their benefits clawed back each year!
Please grab a copy of the book. (It’s only $14.99). And please send copies to your members of Congress. Also, please spread the word to friends and family.
As the book's title and dramatic cover convey, the system we all cherish has an extremely dark and dangerous side. It's been paying us benefits only to claw them back years or decades later. The clawbacks are almost all due to Social Security's mistakes. They can equal $89 or $301,000. All 77 million Social Security recipients are at risk of receiving a massive bill in the mail. So are people that are years from retirement.
Age 87 and impoverished? Age 73 and retired from a long career teaching third-graders? Age 5 and orphaned? Age 43 and disabled? It doesn't matter. Here’s Social Security’s mantra:
Our mistake is your mistake. Pay up or lose your benefits. Yes, we realize that this may mean financial ruin? Not our problem. Yes, you can appeal? But, fair warning, you’ll almost never win. You’ll be trapped in bureaucratic hell and, after years, come face to face with an administrative law judge who will decide in our favor. Why? Because they work for us. We pay their salaries.
Social Security Horror Stories covers the system's horrific scams in their awful detail.
Clawbacks are just part of the system’s hidden malevolence. Social Security is running a series of scams, many targeted at women, particularly widows, which can cost a small fortune in lifetime benefits. It’s also coercing tens of millions of early retirees from returning to work.
Trust me, the 60 Minutes episode and this book will turn your stomach and make you mad as hell. But the book has a silver lining. You’ll learn how to avoid your own Social Security clawbacks or mitigate those you already face, but don’t know it. You’ll also learn how to recognize the system’s scams and how to stay clear. Most important, you’ll join our campaign to get Congress to force Social Security to become the system we love, not the one we — that’s you, your parents, your kids, your best friend, everyone you know — truly must fear.
My image is each member of Congress’ office filled to the brim with a book shouting Social Security Horror Stories. This and this alone will get them to act. You and you alone can make this happen.
The way to eliminate or, at least reduce your personal exposure to Social Security’s financial malevolence is to compare what Social Security is paying with the correct amount. My company’s very inexpensive maximizemysocialsecurity.com software tool will provide this information whether you will file in the future or are already collecting. Hence, if you are already collecting, you’ll be able to check if you are being over or, indeed, underpaid. Yes, Social Security makes mistakes in both directions.
Please buy the book. It will protect you and start filling up those Congressional offices. When that happens, our do-nothing Congress will end Social Security abuse overnight.