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January, 2009  Here's something the new administration could do at practically no cost: beef up Social Security education so that people don't make bad decisions. One of the most costly mistakes seniors make surrounds the issue of working in retirement. Once you reach age 62, you're eligible to start collecting Social Security benefits. If you keep working, your check will be reduced by 50 for every dollar you earn above $13,560. The notion that you'll "forfeit" that benefit forever prompts legions of people to stop working at 62, says Andrew Biggs, a Social Security expert at the American Enterprise Institute and a former deputy commissioner of the Social Security Administration.

And that's a real shame because it's not true. Once you reach full retirement age (anywhere between 65 and 67, depending on when you were born), the size of your check is increased to make up for any benefit reduction you experienced. But don't expect to hear that from the Social Security Administration.

"They rarely mention it in publications or face-to-face meetings," says Biggs. "That's not good policy; we need to encourage people to keep working." This is the kind of low-hanging fruit the Obama administration can pluck right away.

(Above is an excerpt from: Memo to Washington: Here's how to help retirees, CNNMoney.com)


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