ORP and Social Security

Coordinating the Optional Retirement Program and the Windfall Elimination Provision


Texas ORP and the Social Security Windfall Elimination Provision

Not too long ago I saw a massive mistake made by a participant in the Texas Optional Retirement Program. It was a simple little move that cost her thousands of dollars.  To make matters worse, she made this move on the recommendation of her financial advisor.

I’ve seen this mistake more than once, so I’m going to tell you what to watch out for!

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The Power of a Power of Attorney

Power of Attorney

Many people consider themselves familiar with a Power of Attorney, but may not fully understand what a Power of Attorney can and cannot do for them and their loved ones. If you have not had the need for one, or you have one that has worked for your needs, you likely haven’t given much thought to what a Power of Attorney actually says, or should say.  Many businesses or agencies accept a Power of Attorney without reading it, however, the reality is that a Power of Attorney grants you only the powers specifically outlined in the document. If you exercise a power as the agent not granted in the document, you have breached a fiduciary duty and may be personally liable. If you as the principal fail to give sufficient authority to your agent, you may hinder their ability to handle your business in a manner that serves your best interests and protects your assets. It has been our experience that far too few individuals and businesses pay attention to the language of the Power of Attorney and fully understand the consequences of what that language provides and does not provide, when it is the details of this document that give it its power.

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The Social Security Income Limit and Special Payments After Retirement

Not All Earnings Apply To The Social Security Earnings Limitation


Many individuals know that if they continue to work while collecting Social Security benefits before full retirement age, their benefits may be reduced if their earnings exceed an annual limit.

If you need a refresher, watch my video on How Working Affects Your Social Security Benefit.

But what happens if you retire and then receive payments from a former employer in the form of severance pay, bonuses, sick leave or unused vacation days?

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The Best Way To Fix A Social Security Overpayment Letter


Social Security Overpayment letters are becoming more common.

For those who depend on Social Security payments, receiving a Notice of Overpayment is no fun.  These notification letters will often show up after a change in income or family status and generally allege that the Social Security Administration has paid you too much money.  In this letter they offer you a 30 day window to repay the benefits.

This leaves many shaken who count on this income to buy their groceries or some other necessity.   Fortunately, the Administration is often incorrect in their calculations.

However, there is still a process to follow if you receive one of these letters.  Unless otherwise stated, you have three options.

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Common-Law Marriage and Social Security Benefits

Common-Law Marriage and Social Security Benefits

Lately, the definition of marriage has been a hot topic. With all of the court cases and resulting news, I knew it wouldn’t take long for someone to ask me about Social Security benefits and common-law marriages.

Thankfully, the Social Security Administration is pretty straightforward on their rules. In their eyes, a common-law marriage is a valid marriage. As such, a common-law couple will be able to claim the same benefits as a couple who followed the “traditional” marriage route. These benefits include spousal benefits, survivor benefits and even benefits from an ex-common law spouse.
The tricky part is meeting the requirements of a common law marriage. These requirements are not as easy as some may think. Many people incorrectly assume that a common-law marriage is sealed after a certain time period of living together. The truth is, it goes much deeper than that.

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