Q. I'm retired and the only income I have is from an Individual Retirement Account (IRA). Are my IRA withdrawals considered "earnings"? Could they reduce my monthly Social Security benefits?
A. No. We count only the wages you earn from a job or your net profit if you're self-employed. Non-work income such as annuities, investment income, interest, capital gains, and other government benefits are not counted and will not affect your Social Security benefits. Most pensions will not affect your benefits either. However, your benefit may be affected by a government pension from work on which you did not pay Social Security tax. For more information, visit our website at www.socialsecurity.gov or call us toll-free at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778).
Q I was turned down for Supplemental Security Income (SSI); can I appeal the decision?
A If you disagree with a decision made on your claim, you can appeal it. The steps you can take are explained in Your Right To Question A Decision Made On Your Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Claim, available online at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/11008.html . Also, you have the right to have a representative, such as an attorney, help you. More information is in Your Right To Representation, at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/10075.html. Read these and other publications online at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs
Q. I usually get my benefit payment on the third of the month. But what if the third falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or holiday? Will my payment be late?
A. Just the opposite. Your payment should arrive early. For example, if you usually get your payment on the third of a month, but it falls on a Saturday like it does this November, we will make payments on Friday, November 2. Find more information about the payment schedule for 2012 at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/calendar.html. If you do ever miss a payment, be sure to wait three days before calling to report it missing. Of course, if you get your payments electronically, you'll get your payment without having to wait for the mail. Find out more about electronic payments at www.godirect.org
Submit questions to local Social Security Director Gregory Holmes by writing to Business Editor Dave Flessner, Chattanooga Times Free Press, P.O. Box 1447, Chattanooga, TN 37401-1447, or by e-mailing him at email@example.com.