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60 Plus Association
60 Plus Association
August 13, 2010

Forced to retire, some take Social Security early

Unable to find work, unemployed turn to reduced Social Security checks early to stay afloat

Associated Press | By Matt Sedensky | August 9, 2010

Paul Skidmore’s office is shuttered, his job gone, his 18-month job search fruitless and his unemployment benefits exhausted. So at 63, he plans to file this week for Social Security benefits, three years earlier than planned.

“All I want to do is work,” said Skidmore, of Finksburg, Md., who was an insurance claims adjuster for 37 years before his company downsized and closed his office last year. “And nobody will hire me.”

It is one of the most striking fallouts from the bad economy: Social Security is facing a rare shortfall this year as a wave of people like Skidmore opt to collect payments before their full retirement age. Adding to the strain on the trust are reduced tax collections sapped by the country’s historic unemployment — still at 9.5 percent…

Read rest of story here.

Personal Stories from 60 Plus Members

I was laid off in Jan. 2009 and have not been able to find full time work.  In order to survive I registered to take early Social Security for monthly income.  I am now doing limited contract work with no benefits, plus I am learning to do taxes to hopefully open a franchise or at least prepare taxes for a source of income.  Unemployment is running out, I have gone through all retirement funds and am selling my house.

I opted for early retirement at age 63. I was a self employed Information Technology Consultant for over 20 years. When the recession hit, I couldn’t find any assignments that paid a decent billing rate for my expertise. Additionally, the IT jobs dried up in my field and any available assignments were going to low cost IT firms in India. Instead of taking menial jobs, I decided to pack it in and go on Social Security to supplement my retirement needs. Initially, the Social Security Administration hassled me to no end about being a self employed professional, but eventually I received my first check on October 28th, 2009. I am very happy that I went for early retirement since the break even point financially for retiring at 63 vs. 66 years of age was 89 years of age. So it was a good move on my part.
New York

I was working for a company who provided aviation support to another company. The company I supported was purchased by a larger company who has their own aviation assets. That was a major contract lost. This turned out to be the beginning of the end. Those of us who were supporting the purchased company were laid off immediately. A couple months later our whole operation was closed. I certainly understand- no work- you have to lay people off, bad timing for me. Actually it’s bad timing for everyone.
At the time I had just turned 62, and even though there’s no such thing as Age Discrimination I seemed to be have a tough time finding another job. Especially with the economy in the toilet and so many companies cutting back.When my unemployment ran out, I decided I must be retired and started Social Security. I was a little over 63 by then. Had I known unemployment would be extend I wouldn’t of started Social Security.
I still would like to continue working and am still looking for work. I hope to find something. I would love to find a job that pays enough, to allow me to pay back Social Security. Then I could start Social Security over, when I decide to retire.
Unfortunately, with the current band of morons and idiots in DC, I don’t see things improving anytime soon.

I have been unemployed and underemployed since 2000, when the company I worked for dissolved their partnership. I was on unemployment for 9 months, then I did part time work in In-Home Support Services, childcare through state programs for mothers returning to work and off of welfare. I finally filed for my Social Security at age 62 because I couldn’t get any work at all. I suppose I’m too old for construction work, but for the last 10 years of my job, I was the office manager, did all the paper work, paid out payroll and all office bills. Still can’t get a job even in an office. It very difficult at this age to get in anywhere. I just found out that by taking it early I gave up 25% of my monthly payment. I only get $176.00. How much living can you do on that?

I had to retire early, three to four years ago, on SSD. I am NOT happy about it, but grateful that I get a, barely, subsistant ‘allowance’.
I, OFTEN, wonder if I’d been able to manage/spend my Earnings, My Way, if I’d be Able To Live Better??
What the libs are doing to Our GREAT Nation IS ABHORRENT!
Thank you for this forum.


I am a male, age 61(next month).  I retired early in part because I knew I could receive my benefits at age 62 1/2.  That looks a little precarious at this point.  It appears that we can not trust the promises of our own government.  I believe that any changes in the system should either be voluntary, or only apply to the beginning wage earners.  This is only fair as they have the time to plan for the changes.  At 60+, it’s a little late for me to redo my retirement plans.  I would like to see Obama bail us out instead of the unions!!

I struggled with my travel business after 9/11 and in 2006 finally closed it. My wife had found a Job in Yuma, so I followed her here.  I took whatever job I could get; had several part time jobs, one with the Office of Personnel Management giving tests and worked as a temp for Kelly’s.  Yes I was a Kelly Girl! I found full time work with NCO as online rep for T-Mobile, in May of 2007.  I was looking forward to the raise I would receive at the end of two years; instead I was laid off in May of 2009.  I had 26 weeks of unemployment.  Towards the end of my unemployment: I started a Community College program for Medical front office, then applied for Social Security. I had only one interview in six months.

Thank you for this opportunity to vent.
In May 2006, I settled on a 20 yr old condo – the first home I have ever owned. On the day I settled I was 60, had $50,000.00 in an IRA, $30,000.00 equity in my condo and a full time job as an office manager. I planned to retire in 2010, sell the condo, and move to Florida so I asked for an interest only loan.  Condo prices were up $20,000 on a similar unit within 3 months.  Things looked great. Six months later I lost my job immediately after the yearly health insurance quote arrived. I received unemployment off and on through that year while I looked for a job with or without benefits. I set a tight budget and started paying off my debt.  For two years I worked as a temp without benefits. However, I never regained full time employment so my unemployment benefits finally ran out, my IRA funds were wiped out, my interest only loan payment grew, my credit card balances went unpaid, and I stopped buying anything but essentials.

Where was the help that I kept reading about?  The help that was promised always edited me out.  Debt relief programs want a minimum payment which I could not promise; refinancing was out because my credit rating was in the tank; and bankruptcy in Maryland expects you to pay off your debts.  Loan modifications? First the banks just blew you off and now the only people who can actually get you a loan modification want $2500 to do it. Where do you get money when no one will hire you, the “help” programs you desperately need think you have too much, and the only people who know how to get you meaningful relief want thousands to do it for you?

At 62, I was at my wits end and staring at a cut-off notice from the Baltimore Gas and Electric.  I went to the local Social Security office just to see what kind of income I could expect in 2010 when I turned 65. I had no idea what I was going to do in the meantime.

They told me that I could get $1939 a month right away and, with COLA raises, I thought I’d certainly make it through this rough patch.  Who knew that 2007 would be the only COLA I would ever see. So I immediately took care of the paperwork and started getting my SS checks. I’m going to make it I thought. And, in the main, I survived.  I can’t make the repairs I need to the broken toilet, leaking shower, my incomplete dental work, my tv, or sputtering refrigerator but I was happy everyday to be able to stay in MY condo.

It is now August of 2010 and here comes the next backbreaking expense – health care.  After all my expenses including $200 monthly for food, I will have $58 left. I usually spend about $300 a year on prescriptions so I don’t want to get health care now.  But I am mandated to spend $1326.50 a year on hospitalization while I still pay for prescriptions, dental and vision myself. What kind of realistic health care insurance is this?

My utility bills have climbed higher and higher and I can’t afford to replace my 20 year old appliances with more energy efficient ones. I don’t have any disposable income which prohibits me from entering into a debt payment plan so I have gotten a IRS lien placed against my property.

Don’t let me forget to mention that I “can’t” file income tax returns anymore which makes my mortgage interest deduction ($7,000 a yr) worthless to me. I only got to deduct it TWICE and got 1 COLA raise.

This is the first home I have ever owned. It is the most important accomplishment of my life. No matter what obstacle comes up, my first check is to pay the mortgage. I have lost all my cash, credit, and investments. However, during this time of financial crisis, I paid off my car, lived by a budget without allowances for any unnecessary expenses, and made my mortgage payments on time.

What’s wrong with this picture?

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59 Responses RSS

  • joseph says:

    For what I’ve been reading on the internet … couples with income from $50,000 to $250,000 are having trouble as they reach late 50’s to early 60’s. They are having health problems, being laid off when thinking they could work forever, and not saving enough for retirement. Most are spending too much on cars, vacations, homes, their children’s education .. both private schools costs and college debt / loans. Habits are hard to break .. but when we had Unions to protect us and help keep Pension plans .. we had something to fall back on in our old age. Now that the wealthy has taken those things w help from the Republican party … we are on our own to .. to save for our future .. which we are very bad at.
    Obama did not do this .. It was the wealthy Company owners, stock holders and CEO’s of this country. supported by Republicans

  • joseph says:

    My wife and I got jobs right out of college and stayed for 30 plus years before retiring … not doing too bad. But we have many friends that are hurting, in and outside of our church and neighborhood. It’s hard being Christian and not feel for your brothers and sisters .. we do what we can for the church and others .. but you can only do so much while in Retirement and on a budget.

  • Jose Romero says:

    Want to claim as benefits and retire at 61 can you help?

  • Paul says:

    Let us see: Bought condo in Sun City in 2006 valued at $173,000 and today’s value is $110,000 (maybe); lost lots in market crash and now living on social security and been trying to find a job but four score plus is seen apparently as a liability. Need to move to a state where death may be dignified.

  • Dave S says:

    I was laid off in May 2012 at age 59. I was a systems engineer earning just under $100K. By the end of 2012, unemployment ended. By the middle of 2014, all my retirement savings were spent. Now we are living on borrowed money, for the most part. My wife earns enough to cover food and bills except rent. We’ve been borrowing to cover the rent as no charity or county government will help “because your wife has an income”. At this point, if she left her job, we could get SNAP (food stamps) and housing. What is wrong with this picture? If you think social security can help, you are wrong. I just turned 62 and it will be one more year before I can get any Social Security. Early retirement no longer 62. Check their web site. So where are we supposed to live for the next 12 months? Eviction likely by January.

  • Marta says:

    I was laid off Oct 26, 2012, had a few temp positions and unemployment. Went from $65,000 a year to $16,000. Moved to Arizona because it is cheaper to live there. But even with a part time job not making ends meet. I get a small pension under $400 a month. Ran out of unemployment and now just qualified for food stamps. I do not want to borrow money. Two credit cards are at the limit, I hope to work in Jan again a temp position. I need to stretch out my support until I turn 62 in May 2016. I am hoping I can get Social Security. Glad to hear I am not alone in surviving.

  • Brad W says:

    After working and paying into OASDI since age16 at age 58 due to several chronic diseases I was forced to retire on DI. I loved my job but struggled the last 10 years to continue until it was impossible to go on. I did not use a lawyer, submitted all my paperwork from 4 physicians which all said if anyone qualifies it is you. I thankfully got approved first try. I am just pointing this out because I am not one that gamed the system. What a relief to have this income now and Medicare coverage, although it is not a lot and I still draw on some savings, I get by, and can still preserve my hard earned 401K/IRA to help with my security later. But what is this I read? The House is not allowing the DI fund to be routinely rebalanced as it always has been and I will see a severe 20% cut in my benefits unless changes specifically meet the Rules committee guidelines? So if the Congress cannot agree and pass a fix the House GOP demands, which I am skeptical will happen, I am going to be held hostage and pay the price? I have long been a moderate independent voter and have voted Republican and Democrat but this outrageous move if it remains will turn me into a GOP hater, and I don’t use that word often.
    This is outrageous, immoral, and cruel. Sure there is need for reform, lets go after the gamers and fraudsters with a vengeance, perhaps eligibility need to be tightened, so lets enact some reforms. But please don’t take it out on the vast majority that deserve this essential benefit which we have paid into our whole working lives and qualified for by current guidelines. We earned our full benefit of this crucial program just as much as all retirees deserve their full OAS benefit.

  • Victoria says:

    WHO I AM. . . Single woman since 1995. At 60 yrs old, in 2008, I was laid off from my 18 yr job in the Building Industry. Went on unemployment and finally got a job 8 months later as a personal assistant and general manager of an out repair business. Boss was a exocentric ADHD man. I was laid off Dec 2012 at age 65 (6 months from my 66th birthday).This screwed up my retirement Plan A to retire in Dec 2013. Went on unemployment and started retirement Plan B. I had already downsized home rental to a 1 bedrm 630 sq ft duplex for almost $200 a month less than previous rental. I had paid off my car, most of my bills, quit smoking, got new cell phone with a $35 unlimited plan, purchased TV antenna for local channels on my Smart TV to avoid cable bill, lowered car insurance, and had given myself 1 more year to complete Plan A which now shifted to Plan B ( always have to have a Plan B). Closed out my small retirement account of , paid off all my debt, set aside $ for taxes and deposited the rest into my grandsons savings account. Enrolled in Kaiser Senior Advantage HMO $41 a month, includes Medicare Part D to supplement Medicare A & B. My 2 successful children will be helping out also. I have a budget I stick to as much as possible which includes food, weekly cash allowance and gas. I live simply when it comes to clothes, activities and entertainment. I own a Kindle for reading, Smart TV for online movies etc ($7.99 for Netflix) and have a library card. I spend time with 2 yr old grandson who lives close by, visit friends, explore interests I never had time for in my busy working/living life: painting, asts & crafts, gardening meditation, repurposing things, Tia Chi, volunteering, and reading. I am also a Breast Cancer survivor since 2012. Know it is possible to set aside all the material things, high cost travel, social should & shouldn’t that are not realistic and discover who you really are instead of who you were told you should be and believe. Will keep you busy for the rest of YOUR life. Whether lower, middle or upper class lifestyle, you can change to a much more fulfilling life on a reasonable budget that fits your $ resources in retirement. Enjoy and may you find inner Peace and Happiness♥ 1/20/15

  • Lorri gambino says:

    We all in the same boat but some of ur stories r uplifting. Tu n God Bless!!

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