Well! So I march up to the North Phoenix Social Security office just as they’re opening the doors. The place is mobbed—turns out every holiday creates a backlog the following Monday morning.
Wait about half an hour for my number to be called. Present the mystifying letter to the highly professional youngish woman behind the window.
The number in the letter does not represent a gross payment (as in previous correspondence). It’s a net payment! So the $1021.70 “regular monthly payment” represents a $64 increase, not a $236 cut in pay.
That’s if we believe this particular representative, something experience suggests is an iffy proposition. She says my gross benefit has increased to something over $1,300. Why? Because of the $14,400 I’ve earned this year!
Apparently if you keep working and keep paying FICA after you’ve claimed Social Security, they adjust your benefits upward for as long as you continue to earn.
If this is true, it’s good news. It should cover inflation in 2011—Social Security recipients again will not get a cost of living increase, because of course we all know that the costs of groceries and gasoline and utilities haven’t increased over the past year and surely won’t go up next year.
However, I’ll believe it when I see the money in the bank. It strikes me as way too good to be true.