Q: I’m retired and the only income I have is a monthly withdrawal from an Individual Retirement Account (IRA). Are the IRA withdrawals considered “earnings?” Could they reduce my monthly Social Security benefits?
A: No. Social Security counts only the wages you earn from a job or your net profit if you’re self-employed. Nonwork income such as pensions, annuities, investment income, interest, capital gains and other government benefits are not counted and will not affect your benefits. For more information, visit the website at www.socialsecurity.gov or call toll-free at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778).
Q: My spouse died recently and my neighbor said my children and I might be eligible for survivor’s benefits. Don’t I have to be retirement age to receive benefits?
A: No. As a survivor, you can receive benefits at any age if you are caring for a child who is receiving Social Security benefits and who is under age 16. Your children are eligible for survivor’s benefits through Social Security up to age 19 if they are unmarried and attending elementary or secondary school full time. If you are not caring for minor children, you would need to wait until age 60 (age 50 if disabled) to collect survivors benefits. For more information about survivors benefits, read the publication “Survivors Benefits” at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs.
Send questions to Robert Fenn, Social Security Administration, Second Floor, Federal Building, 2 S. Main St., Akron, OH 44308. Fax: 330-375-5616 or email: Robert.Fenn@ssa.gov.