Tom Margenau | Social Security and You: Pop-up ads are so misleading | Lifestyles


In the past month or so, I’ve written two columns about Social Security “news” articles with misleading headlines that I’ve seen in various publications.

These are meant to entice you into reading the rest of the story. What is in the article is never as dramatic or newsworthy as the exaggerated headline would suggest.

These Social Security schemes also appear in the form of “pop-up” ads while you are online. For example, today I was online on a news website when an ad appeared with this headline, “Seven Reasons You Might Not Get Your Social Security Check!”

While I knew the content would be mostly fake, I just had to click to see where this went. I also wanted to spare my readers the fear of worrying that they might never get Social Security, or that their current benefits might end.

As always, these come-ons contain little molehills of truth hidden among mountains of misleading information. So anyway, according to this particular pop-up propaganda, here are the seven reasons people may not be receiving Social Security benefits.

Reason No. 1: Moving abroad

Well, that statement in itself is very misleading. You can move almost anywhere in the world and your Social Security benefits will follow you. But there is a small list of countries where Social Security benefits cannot be sent. As the article finally pointed out, if you move to Cuba, North Korea, and most of those “-stan” countries that were part of the former Soviet Union (Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, etc.) your checks will be halted. I’m sure 99.9% of the people lured to this popup ad have absolutely no intention of moving to any of those countries. So my point is, why scare all these people with misleading information that doesn’t apply to them?

Reason No. 2 Dying Before Reaching Age 62

Well, hey! Of course, you won’t get Social Security retirement benefits if you die before you’re old enough to claim them. In any case, the article rightly pointed out that your spouse or minor children are likely to receive survivor benefits on your file.

Reason No. 3 Divorce (sometimes)

In fact, the vast majority of divorced women (and in 95 percent of these cases, women are involved) will almost certainly receive benefits on their own Social Security file, on their former husband’s file, or on their current husband’s file. (Many divorced women remarry and end up receiving benefits into their new husband’s account.) The only divorced women who would not receive Social Security at all are those who divorced before their 10th birthday (you must have been married for 10 years to qualify. to qualify for divorce benefits), who have never remarried AND who have never worked, meaning they do not have their own social security. In the 50 years I’ve dealt with Social Security issues, I’ve never met a single woman on that boat.

Reason No. 4 If You’re Running Out of Social Security Credits

Well, this is another great big “Duh!” Who doesn’t know that you have to work for a minimum of 10 years and pay Social Security taxes to qualify for Social Security retirement benefits? In my half-century of Social Security experience, I’ve learned that there are only two groups of people who don’t have enough Social Security credits by the time they reach retirement age. One group consists of married women who choose to stay at home and be full-time mothers and housewives. However, they will always be eligible for benefits on their husband’s Social Security register. The other group is made up of state, local and some federal government employees who pay into a separate retirement program and not into Social Security. But in the end, of course, they receive a pension from their own pension system.

Reason No. 5 Being a non-citizen

If you entered this country legally and worked and paid social security taxes, you are eligible for benefits just like everyone else. Legally resident non-citizens who have never worked can receive dependents or survivors’ benefits from a spouse’s Social Security file (assuming they meet all other eligibility requirements). However, their benefits may end if they leave the United States. The only non-citizens who will never receive social security are those undocumented workers who have come to this country illegally.

Reason No. 6 Have worked occasionally

This is just a repetition of the points made in reason no. 4. (My guess is that the writer of this piece originally had six reasons, but his or her editor said seven were needed, so they added this redundant part.) Again, the rules say you have to work and tax for at least 10 years. must pay to be eligible for Social Security retirement benefits.

Reason No. 7 You failed the Social Security income test

Well, this is perhaps the only bit of realistic and useful information in the whole piece. The “income test” referred to says this: If you’re applying for Social Security, if you’re not yet full retirement age AND if you’re still working, you’ll have to withhold one dollar from your benefit for every two dollars you earn. you earn over a prescribed annual limit. That limit is $19,560 in 2022. I’ve written many columns in the past explaining why I don’t like this law. Social Security beneficiaries under full retirement age who work and earn more than the income cap always end up getting more Social Security benefits than they owe, and then they have to repay the overpayments.

Here’s some good advice for my readers. Instead of clicking on these deceptive pop-up ads, read my new book, “Social Security: 100 Myths and 100 Facts.” I’ve just read the book cover to cover for the first time since handing it over to my syndicator for publication, and I’d forgotten how good and useful it is.

Try it. You can get it for less than $10 on

(If you have a Social Security question, Tom Margenau has two books with all the answers. One is called “Social Security – Simple and Smart: 10 Easy-to-Understand Fact Sheets That Will Answer All Your Social Security Questions.” The other is “Social Security.” : 100 Myths and 100 Facts.” You can find the books on or other bookstores.)

The Valley Voice
The Valley Voice
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.


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