Planning ahead for Social Security

Social Security is the cornerstone of retirement plans for most Americans. For individuals preparing to start their Social Security benefits, current and future changes may impact their retirement plans. Advisors say advance knowledge and a few simple tips might save thousands of dollars.

To that end, “Social Security Retirement 2017,” a free presentation for anyone anticipating their benefits in the year ahead or already receiving benefits, is scheduled for 4 p.m. on Dec. 8 at Evergreen State College-Tacoma, located at 1210 Sixth Ave.

The presentation will be given by Kirk Larson, a western Washington public affairs specialist for the Social Security Administration. SSA is co-sponsoring the event with the Pierce County Community Connections Aging and Disability Resource Center

Larson has worked with SSA for more than 24 years in technical and supervisory roles. He has presented Social Security information throughout the west coast and has appeared on television and radio shows to discuss Social Security issues.

According to Larson, one of the best ways to understand benefits is by opening and using a mySocial Security Online Account. Before attending the Dec. 8 session, participants should open an account at, print their Social Security statement and take it to the meeting. Larson can also help set up accounts after his presentation.

“Social Security 2017” will include strategies that can maximize benefits, such as when to begin receiving benefits and the advantages of making claims based on spousal work history.  Participants will also learn how to negotiate the rules about working full-time or or part time while receiving benefits.

“The Social Security program has been much talked about,” said Aaron Van Valkenburg, manager of Pierce County Aging and Disability Resources. “Current and prospective beneficiaries need to get the facts so they will know what’s coming.  It is especially important for individuals planning on retirement in the next year or two need to be accurately informed.”

Additional information about the workshop is available from Aging and Disability Resource Center at 253-798-4600 or 800-562-0332.