Couple in RetirementSocial Security is available only to those who pay into the program—about 96% of American workers. While you may think that everyone pays into Social Security, some people do not—employees of some railroads and state employees who participate in state pension programs, among others. Social Security offers participants a predetermined, steady, lifetime income based on the amount of money they have put into the program. To a certain extent, it adjusts for inflation and offers survivor’s benefits. You probably know that the longer you delay receiving your Social Security benefits, the more money you will receive each month.

Why do so many people get it wrong?

Well, it may have something to do with the fact that the official Social Security Handbook contains no less than 2,728 separate rules governing Social Security benefits. Let’s put it another way. In a recent book on Social Security planning published for financial professionals, over 40 percent of the book is devoted to a discussion of various Social Security strategies for couples! Many more pages are devoted to discussions of strategies that are designed for singles and non-traditional couples.