Social Security Administration warns the public about a recent scam.
The Social Security Administration launched a new Public Service Announcement (PSA) campaign to continue warning people about the ongoing nationwide telephone impersonation scheme. The scammers mislead victims into making cash or gift card payments for help with purported identity theft, or to avoid arrest for bogus problems with Social Security number.
Social Security officials also warn that people should also be on the lookout for a new version of this scam. Fraudsters are now emailing fake documents in attempts to get people to comply with their demands. Victims have received emails with attached letters and reports that appear to be from Social Security or the OIG (Office of Inspector General). The letters may use official letterhead and government jargon to convince victims they are legitimate.
Social Security Offices Will Soon Be Open Again On Wednesday Afternoons
Starting on January 8, 2020, Social Security offices nationwide will be open to the public on Wednesday afternoons, Andrew Saul, Commissioner of Social Security, announced. This change restores Wednesday public service hours that were last in place in late 2012.
Currently, a field office is generally open to the public from 9:00 a.m. to Noon on Wednesdays. Beginning on January 8, 2020, offices will remain open until 4:00 p.m. on Wednesdays, with typical field office hours from 9:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Report an Online Social Security Scam
In an earlier blog, we reported that scams falsely claiming to be associated with Social Security were on the rise. In response, Social Security recently announced the launch of a dedicated online form at https://oig.ssa.gov to receive reports from the public of Social Security-related scams.
To combat these scams, Social Security and the OIG will use the new online form to capture data that will be analyzed for trends and commonalities. The OIG will use the data to identify investigative leads, which could help identify criminal entities or individuals participating in or facilitating the scams. Ultimately, these efforts are expected to disrupt the scammers, help reduce this type of fraud, and reduce the number of victims.
Earnings Limits for Social Security Recipients Increased
If you work while collecting Social Security benefits, all or part of your benefits may be temporarily withheld, depending on how much you earn. However, those income limits increased slightly in 2019. Prior to reaching full retirement age, you will be able to earn up to $17,640 in 2019. After that, $1 will be deducted from your payment for every $2 that exceeds the limit. The 2019 annual limit represented a $600 increase over 2018’s limit of $17,040.
If you reach full retirement age in 2019, you will be able to earn $46,920, up to $1,560 from 2018’s $45,360 annual limit. For every $3 you earn over the 2019 limit, your Social Security benefits will be reduced by $1, but that will only apply to money earned in the months prior to hitting full retirement age.
Once you reach full retirement age, no benefits will be withheld if you continue working.