Q. I'm trying to figure out how much I need to save for my retirement. Does the government offer any help with financial education?
A. Yes. For starters, you may want to find out what you can expect from Social Security with a visit to Social Security's Retirement Estimator at www.socialsecurity.gov/estimator. The Financial Literacy and Education Commission has a website that can key you in on the basics of financial education: www.mymoney.gov.
Finally, you'll want to check out the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which offers educational information on a number of financial matters, including mortgages, credit cards, retirement and other big decisions. Visit the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau at www.consumerfinance.gov.
Q. What is the earliest age I can begin receiving retirement benefits?
A. The earliest age you can begin receiving Social Security retirement benefits is 62.
If you decide to receive benefits before your full retirement age, you will receive a reduced benefit.
Keep in mind you will not be able to receive Medicare coverage until age 65, even if you decide to retire at an earlier age. Check out our Retirement Estimator to get fast, personalized estimates of future benefits. You can find them at www.socialsecurity.gov/estimator. For more information, go to www.socialsecurity.gov.
Q. My brother had an accident at work last year and is receiving Social Security disability benefits for himself, his wife and their daughter. Before his accident, he helped support his son from a previous relationship. Is his son entitled to some benefits as well?
A. Regardless of whether your brother was married to his son's mother, his son may qualify for Social Security benefits on his record. Someone should file an application on his behalf. If he is found to be eligible, both children would receive equal benefits. Learn more by reading our online publication, Disability Benefits (Publication No. 05-10029) at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/10029.html.
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 emailing him at dflessner @timesfreepress.com.