How the SSA calculates benefits Last week, I began a discussion on our Social Security system. The annual statement, beginning in May of this year, can only be accessed online. We went over the procedure for creating an account and accessing that online statement. An important part of the annual statement is the data entered on page 3 titled “Your Earnings Record.” The record itemizes the earnings that the Social Security Administration (SSA) has on file for a taxpayer on a yearly basis. In my case, I started working in 1970 and earned a grand total of $873 that year. I worked for a farmer that summer. The pay wasn’t that good but the fringes, especially the food, were excellent. The meals we ate were always “all you can eat;” heavy on the beef and potatoes. It was perfect for some hardworking farmhands plus it was a dairy farm, so fresh milk was always in supply. No one left the table hungry or thirsty! The last year posted on my record was 2010; 2011 had the note “Not yet recorded” instead of a dollar amount. It’s important to look at the yearly wage figures and compare what your records show you earned versus what the SSA records say that you earned. Why is this important? The SSA calculates your monthly benefit based on what the SSA has for your earnings. If they are missing a year or missing a W-2 amount for one of the years, quite possibly this will affect the calculation of your monthly benefit. Remember that the SSA annually is processing millions upon millions of documents, both paper and the electronic versions. It’s not realistic to think there won’t be posting errors either by the SSA or by the employers. The error rate is estimated to be six to eight percent. I would bet that 100% of those errors are on the lower side of earnings, as opposed to overstating someone’s earnings. It pays to check. The SSA uses these annual earnings to calculate a taxpayer’s monthly benefit. Let’s see if we can remove some of the mystery of how they decide what a monthly benefit should be. For the initial calculation, the SSA looks at the annual earnings between the ages […]
June 28 2012
JUNE 30 Mark Blakeslee, Fred VandenBoogert, Sue Wobma JULY 1 Sonia Andrews, Jean Karloski, Lorraine Rohan, Jennifer Schuhman 2 Kerri TenBrink, Mike Zagumny 3 Maggie Chipman, Tom Gruber, Kristine Stotz, Henery VandenHeuvel 4 Louise Danielski 5 Bob Boyer, Florence Butts, David Klinger, Pattie Lachniet 6 Larry Cunningham Doug Havemeier
Jones J.E. and Wilma (Willie) Jones of Chesterfield, Mich., formerly of Rockford, will be celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary on July 7, 2012 at the open shelter at Townsend Park, Cannonsburg, from 1 p.m. until whenever. They were married on February 16, 1952 in Lansing. In the late 1950s, they moved to their home on Ramsdell where they raised their four children: Jack, Tim, Cindy and Debbi. All four of them graduated from Rockford High School. J.E. spent 20 years volunteering for the Cannon Township Fire Department. Willie was a Girl Scout leader for several years and a member of the Mother’s Club at Cannonsburg Elementary School. They both worked many years on the fire department’s famous pancake dinners and have several fond memories of those dinners. Both have been members of Bostwick Lake Congregational Church, where they attended while they lived in the Rockford area. J.E and Wilma have nine grandchildren and five great-grandchildren and are anticipating the arrival of one more in late August. The family would like to extend an invitation to anyone they might have missed. Please feel free to come and celebrate with them—please, no gifts—on Saturday, July 7. “We thank you, Mom and Dad, for all your love and support throughout our lives. Your support for each other throughout the joys and challenges of your years together is an example for all whom have known you. Your remarkable partnership inspires all of us. An enduring love like yours is something we will treasure always. We love you!” —Jack, Tim, Cindy and Debbi and their families.
York Joan Barbara (Alt) York, formerly of Rockford, passed away on January 20, 2012, in California. Joan, known as Joey, was the widow of Dick York, the actor who played the first Darrin on “Bewitched.” The Yorks lived in Rockford, at the home of her parents, John and Cleona Alt, from 1985 until Dick’s death in 1992, after which Joey remained in the Belding Road home until 2008, when she moved back to California to be close to family. Joey was a model for Coca-Cola, Seventeen magazine, and other clients; a radio and television actress; a poet; a lover of language and master of wordplay; a wellspring of loving, sage advice; and the embodiment of grace under pressure. She met Dick when she was 12 and he was 15. The story of their romance and their struggles is told in “The Seesaw Girl and Me,” her husband’s memoir, for which she penned the foreword. Dick called Joey his seesaw girl, and wrote: “Love, Joey. I’ve learned about love, Joey. Not in a book. Not over the radio or in a movie. I’ve watched it in you since I’ve known you.” Joey wrote: “We had many tough times in our life—a lot of ups, a lot of downs. But Dick and I managed to be together and smile through all of them… Even in the most horrible circumstances, it was a charming, wonderful, exciting existence I shared with Dick.” Besides her parents and husband, Joey was predeceased by her daughter Amanda. She is survived by four children: Kimberly, Christopher, Stacie and Matthew; many grandchildren; her sister-in-law and nieces; and a host of friends and admirers who join in mourning her passing. An informal service is being planned to celebrate Joey’s life and to express loving gratitude for her inspirational strength, her joyful humor, and her compassionate heart.
Thursday, June 28 Free Meal for Northern Kent County Families—6 to 7 p.m. at the Our Lady of Consolation Family Center, 4865 Eleven Mile Rd., Rockford, every Thursday. No charge; no registration required. Provided by a partnership between Our Lady of Consolation Parish and God’s Kitchen, a program of Catholic Charities West Michigan. Open Mic—6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Garden Park Stage, downtown Rockford near the dam, every Thursday through August 16, 2012. Performers sign up at the stage at 5:30 p.m. Could You Survive the Hunger Games?—2 p.m. at Krause Memorial Library, 140 E. Bridge St., downtown Rockford. Imagine yourself a tribute, randomly selected to participate in the dystopian world that spawned the Hunger Games. Each tribute team will amass points as they participate in several challenges that determine who will survive. For teens in grades 6–12. For more information, call the library at (616) 647-3940 or visit www.kdl.org. Rockford Lions Club Meeting—6 p.m. social, 6:30 dinner and 7 p.m. meeting at the Community Cabin, 220 N. Monroe St., Rockford. Meetings held every second and fourth Thursday of each month. Rockford Rotary Club Meetings—7 to 8 a.m. at the Rams Den in Rockford High School, 4100 Kroes St., unless school is delayed or canceled. For more information, call Mark Bivins at (616) 866-1470. Saturday, June 30 “America’s Favorite Farm Market”—8 a.m. to 1 p.m. each Saturday through October 27 in the S. Squires Street parking lot, off Main St., downtown Rockford, featuring “Pure Michigan”-grown produce, fresh baked goods, flowers, plants and much more. Sunday, July 1 Praise in the Park—6 p.m. at Garden Park in Rockford. Open to the public. Christian music every Sunday through August 26, 2012. Tuesday, July 3 Huntington Rogue River Blues Series—7 to 9 p.m. at Garden Park Stage, along the White Pine Trail near the dam, downtown Rockford, every Tuesday through July 24. This week’s band is the Rusty Wright Band. “After the Blues” series is July 31 through August 14. Rockford Rotary Club Meetings— 7 a.m. at Rockford High School. For more information, call Mark Bivins at (616) 866-1470. Free Zumba Class—7 p.m. at Dr. Nylaan’s office, 5011 Plainfield Ave. NE, Grand Rapids, to raise funds for local charities. Open to the public; led by Kate Rehmus of […]