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…
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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