Nolo, the publisher that is passionate about making the law accessible to everyone has published one of the best guides to Social Security retirement and medical benefits for the layperson. Like other Nolo books, “Social Security, Medicare & Government Pensions: Get the Most Out of Your Retirement & Medical Benefits” by Joseph L. Matthews with Dorothy Matthews Berman is written by an attorney, but in language anyone can understand. It is a very good book to help understand Social Security benefits that include retirement, disability, dependents and survivors benefits as well as Supplemental Security Income; the basics of both Medicare and Medicaid programs and how to compare medigap insurance plans; medical coverage options such as HMOs and other plans; government pensions and veterans benefits, and just general advice for anyone thinking about retirement.
The nearly five hundred page book is divided into sixteen chapters and an index. Each of the chapters contain easy to understand advice on the chapter topic, with side bars, tables, cautions, lists, and additional resources. The organization of the book makes it easy to quickly find the parts most relevant to your own situation or needs. Again, the book does a very good job of providing basic information regarding the topics in an easy to understand way. The chapters or topics include: Social Security, The Basics; Social Security Retirement Benefits; SS Disability Benefits; SS Dependents Benefits; SS Survivors Benefits; When to Claim Social Security Benefits, and Which One to Claim; Supplemental Security Income; Applying for Benefits; Appealing a Social Security Decision; Federal Civil Service Retirement Benefits; Veterans Benefits; Medicare; Medicare Procedures: Enrollment, Claims, and Appeals; Medigap Insurance; Medicare Part C: Medicare Advantage Plans; and Medicaid and State Supplements to Medicare.
The book will give anyone a good understanding of these programs and how to navigate them. However, the difficulty comes with the ever changing of such programs and how they are administered. Yes, Nolo updates the books, and I’m reviewing the 15th edition, but things still change fast at times. I see this book as helping people understand what is what as they work with government officials and administrators in the system, or at times, work with an attorney to assist them with certain issues concerning benefits.
The other problem I see is that none of us know what will happen with these government programs. Some suggest they may disappear, others are not so gloomy. There is a good chance things will change. But for now, if you are navigating these waters, Matthews has put together a very good book to help you stay off the rocks and keep afloat. I recommend it for anyone who needs information about these programs.