Become a Social Security Expert

Complete this course and qualify to take the exam to earn RSSA credentials

Become a Social Security Expert

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Become a Social Security Expert and Earn Your New Credential as a Registered Social Security Analyst Today

Add a new valuable year-round billable service to your practice that your clients are asking for. Take the only 5-course self-study online program that integrates software training so you can make money after completing.

When tax season is over you will have a new year-round billable service to introduce to clients.

This program is approved by the IRS, the CFP Board and by NASBA for CPAs for continuing education - Earn your credits.

This course will teach you everything you need to know about offering Social Security advisory services as a new fee-based service to your clients.  You will learn how to use sophisticated software that generates a 24-page custom client report that you can bill your clients for.  Use of software and all materials are included with the course at no additional cost.

New Update - The Biden administration is proposing changes to Social Security that will make this service more valuable.Over 11 million more individuals may become eligible for Social Security benefits. Are you ready to help them? That's in addition to the 70 million baby boomers that are becoming eligible currently - 10,000 every day! Save clients hundreds of thousands of dollars in lifetime benefits by planning for their future retirement. Help families with disabled children, immigrants, divorced and widowed clients get what they are entitled to from the government. Help self-employed individuals and business owners pay thousands less annually in payroll taxes without sacrificing future benefits.

Did you know most individuals currently collecting social security did not maximize their benefits? Many tax professionals and CPAs take the course to fulfill their CE and CPE credit obligation. You have one full year to complete the 5-course program which takes 15-25 hours depending on your level of knowledge.

As featured in Accounting Today, Smart Asset, Yahoo Finance and Financial Advisor. This is the ONLY course that is approved as a prerequisite for sitting for the national RSSA Competency Final Exam. After taking the course why not earn your RSSA credential. Become a recognized expert in Social Security - a Registered Social Security Analyst."

There is a tremendous demand for professionals that understand Social Security. More than 70 million Baby Boomers will collect Social Security. They will need personalized answers. As a Social Security expert, you can help clients potentially gain tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars in incremental Social Security income. Licensed professionals who are confident in their understanding and knowledge about Social Security will quickly become the go to resource, not only in their own organization, but community-wide. Social Security expertise builds trust and adds value for existing clients and is a topic that easily attracts prospects. Take advantage of this smart opportunity and get started with your training today.

This program will provide you with everything you need to know about Social Security rules, strategies, how to build your very own practice, and how you can help clients maximize their Social Security benefits. The online courses cover spousal benefits, claiming strategies, government pension offset, windfall elimination provision, acronym definitions including PIA and FRA, retirement income taxation, survivor and disability benefits, delayed retirement benefits, Medicare Part A and Part B, when and what to file.

Most retirees are confused and misinformed about the topic of Social Security and many are seeking expert advice. As professionals working in the tax and financial services, many of you may be getting questions from your clients about their Social Security benefits. 

What will you learn with our Social Security Advisor Online Course?

  • How to obtain a foundation of education in social security issues for the purpose of advising their clients
  • How to become a Social Security Expert - IRS/CPA approved CE training - Earn your RSSA credential
  • Social Security Training for Financial Professionals & Advisors
  • How to help clients maximize Social Security benefits
  • How to save clients hundreds of thousands of dollars in future lifetime benefits

Who would benefit from this course?

  • Tax Professionals: Adding Social Security advisory services transforms a seasonal tax practice with a year round client opportunity.  As a Social Security Expert, the final billable 'product' you provide your client is a written custom analytical report.
  • Financial Advisors: Retiring seniors represent the wealthiest segment of the population. As a Social Security expert, you'll differentiate yourself from other advisors.  Provide the answers and strategies seniors need to maximize their retirement income.

To successfully complete this course, a student must:

  • Have access to the internet and the necessary technical skills to navigate the online learning resources
  • Have access to any mobile device with internet connectivity (laptop, desktop, tablet)
  • Be a self-directed learner
  • Possess sound language and literacy skills

Quick Course Facts:

  1. Course content is structured for easy comprehension
  2. Approximately 15-25 hours of study is needed to complete the course
  3. Registered students gain 12-month access to your online course
  4. All course material is available online 24/7 and can be accessed using any device
  5. Study your course online from anywhere in your own time at your own pace
  6. All students who complete the course will be awarded with a certificate of completion

Social Security Advisor Online Course Outline

Module One: Social Security Basics

Most retirees are confused and misinformed about the topic of Social Security and many are seeking expert advice. As professionals working in the tax and financial services, many of you may be getting questions from your clients about their Social Security benefits.

This first module will provide you with detailed basic Social Security information that pertains to all retirees, including a history of the Social Security program, how funding works and how benefits are calculated, descriptions of benefits available for married, single, divorced and widowed retirees, and critical information to consider when evaluating the election claiming decision.

Case examples will be used to illustrate the most commonly used rules and strategies needed to optimize Social Security benefits through the comparison of best versus worst claiming decisions.

Licensed professionals who are confident in their understanding and knowledge about Social Security will quickly become the "go to" resource, not only in their own organization, but community-wide. Social Security expertise builds trust and adds value for existing clients and is a topic that easily attracts prospects.

Learning Objectives

Upon successful completion of Module I, participants will be able to:

  • Choose the most commonly used terms and acronyms using the Social Security definitions learned in the course.
  • Identify the effect of life expectancy on lifetime Social Security income amounts and survivor benefits using a given couples' case example.
  • Recognize important Social Security program historical facts and changes to the program.
  • Recall the funding mechanisms of Social Security, including the maximum taxable earnings amounts.
  • Specify the steps used to calculate a retiree's PIA.
  • Calculate a client's PIA given their AIME.
  • Choose the Full Retirement Age (FRA) for a retiree given their birth year.
  • Select the correct amount of annual decrease or increase in Social Security benefits for retirees who claim prior to their FRA or after that date.
  • Identify the current year earnings test income limits and the amount of Social Security benefits to be withheld given a retiree's age and earnings.
  • Recognize the rules and requirements for retirees to collect spousal and survivor benefits.
  • Specify the factors that determine eligibility for domestic partners to collect Social Security under the spousal rules.
  • Recall how quarters of coverage are calculated and the number required to qualify for Social Security benefits.

Module Two: Social Security Advanced Topics

Every year more retirees see their Social Security benefits subject to Federal income tax, due to the taxation threshold limits that have not been adjusted for inflation since their initial inception in 1983 and 1994. This critical fact makes the timing of collecting benefits and withdrawal of funds from taxable retirement and other investment accounts an even more complicated decision for retirees each year.

Module II begins with a description of the Social Security program rule changes included in the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015. The legislation contained changes to Section 831 of the Social Security program that phased out two couples' claiming strategies.

The "restricted application" claiming strategy is still available for several more years, but only for couples in which one or both were age 67 or older by the end of 2020 (and including Jan 1, 2021). The claiming strategy will be explained, including which age group is affected, the phase-out timing for the rule and a case example.

The Social Security income claiming decision is often more complex for retirees who have special situations such as minor children, a dependent parent, a disabled adult child, or a pension from non-covered employment. Also, due to the earnings test, those who are still working between the ages of 62 and FRA and also collecting Social Security benefits may discover upon filing their Federal income taxes that some of their future benefits will be withheld.

Module II covers family maximum benefits, factors that make the benefit claiming decision so important for women, and in Chapter 2, the two pension-related rules, the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) and the Government Pension Offset (GPO).

Chapter 3 of this module focuses on the Federal income taxation of Social Security benefits - the history of that taxation, the method of determining if and how much of a retiree's Social Security income will be taxed, and case studies illustrating the need for education and retirement planning to include and manage this taxation.

Chapter 4 addresses Social Security disability, including the general rules, eligibility criteria, application and determination details, and family disability benefits. Like Social Security retirement benefits, disability rules are highly personal for each case and to be eligible a worker must meet both work and medical requirements.

Module II concludes with a discussion of the future of the Social Security program. Options to be considered include changing the amount of payroll tax to the Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA), raising the earliest age of benefit collection and/or the full retirement age (FRA) for younger workers, and adjusting the income thresholds that determine the amount of Federal taxation on benefits.

Some of the topics covered in this module may not be frequently encountered, but must be understood to provide accurate, in-depth advice when offering Social Security and retirement income planning services to a broad base of clients and prospects.

Module II prepares you for the complex interplay of Social Security income, retirement account and other investment fund withdrawals, and the impact of Federal taxation of benefits as you move on to Module III, Bridging to Retirement Planning.

Learning Objectives

Upon successful completion of Module II, participants will be able to:

  • Recall the two major Social Security claiming strategies that are being phased out due to changes made in the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015.
  • Recognize possible future adjustments to the Social Security program that will help the trust fund to remain solvent.
  • Determine the monetary impact of the Windfall Elimination Provision and Government Pension Offset provisions on retirees Social Security benefits given specific case information.
  • Specify which family members are eligible to collect Social Security benefits based on a worker's earnings when given the family's information.
  • Calculate how much individual family members may collect in Social Security benefits based on the Family Maximum Benefit rules.
  • Estimate the Family Maximum Benefit for a given case example.
  • Identify the factors that support the need for women especially to fully understand their Social Security benefits and claiming choices.
  • Choose the correct definition of combined (provisional) income.
  • Recall the two different combined income thresholds for single and married taxpayers and the portion of their Social Security income than may be subject to taxation.
  • Define the two eligibility requirements for Social Security disability insurance.
  • Name the five steps in the process used to determine a worker's eligibility to receive disability benefits.
  • Specify which family members are eligible to collect Social Security disability auxiliary benefits based on a disabled worker's earnings when given the family's information.
  • Select the two amounts of Social Security benefits subject to taxation and the years those laws were enacted

Module Three: Bridging to Retirement Planning

Planning to retire requires a major shift from years of working and accumulating wealth to suddenly relying on that nest egg and other sources of income for the retirement years. Recognizing the value of making a smart Social Security income election decision in the context of all other retirement finances is just the start of analyzing cash flow throughout retirement years.

Chapter 1 of this module starts with a review of some important Social Security terms and abbreviations and then moves on to retirement planning 101, a discussion of the retirement planning team, retirement income streams, and how Social Security is the foundation of retirement plans.

The elements of retirement planning are described, including gathering, reviewing and assessing all retirement financial information, income, assets and expenses. A discussion of lifestyle, goals, expectations, needs versus wants and other retirement topics is critical to understanding retirees' complete retirement financial picture.

Clients should also be encouraged to evaluate their tax liability, medical and insurance needs, legal documents and legacy planning prior to reaching retirement age. This module provides a system and process to guide clients on setting goals that will allow them to achieve the retirement they desire.

Often retirees are surprised to discover their Social Security income may be taxed. The impact of this taxation can play a role in the longevity and stability of their portfolios. Chapter 2 addresses the taxation of retirement income and the importance of Social Security income taxation management in the context of overall retirement planning.

Chapter 3 will provide case studies that illustrate the tax implications from making the interrelated decisions of maximizing or optimizing Social Security income and the sequence of withdrawals from retirement accounts and other funds. Social Security maximization may not be the best strategy when accounting for taxation and the types of retirement funds providing income. Initial software results are often just the starting point for discussions with clients about income gaps, referrals to other professionals, legacy planning and more.

Social Security and Medicare are very interconnected and no discussion about retirement is complete without a general understanding of Medicare. Chapter 4 includes an introduction to Medicare, the eligibility requirements, a description of Medicare benefits, what Medigap, or supplemental insurance plans, are available, and the Medicare application process.

Learning Objectives

Upon successful completion of Module III, participants will be able to:

  • Choose the common retirement planning terms and acronyms used in the course.
  • Select the reason(s) why Social Security income planning is the "foundation" of a retirement financial plan.
  • Differentiate between the funds in a retirement planning "stool" versus a retirement planning "pyramid".
  • Recognize how consideration and inclusion of Social Security taxation and income planning in a comprehensive retirement plan can increase the longevity of portfolios.
  • Determine features to consider when choosing a software to help with Social Security claiming decisions.
  • Recognize the difference between optimization and maximization of Social Security benefits.
  • Identify client information needed to evaluate Social Security and retirement financial information to optimize net after-tax income for retirees.
  • Recall how the timing of claiming Social Security benefits and the sequence of retirement account and other asset withdrawals can impact retirement finances.
  • Determine for given retirement planning case studies, the impact that claiming Social Security at certain ages can have on total taxable income and taxation of benefits.
  • State the four Medicare parts and the different types of care and services each part covers.
  • Choose the eligibility criteria for Medicare Part A.
  • Identify the work requirement to qualify for premium-free Medicare Part A.
  • Select the correct way that Medicare Part B premiums are calculated.
  • Recall the benefits provided by Medicare Part and Part D.
  • Differentiate between the various Medicare supplemental insurance (Medigap) plans.

Module Four: Marketing Social Security Income Planning Services

Chapter 1 of Module IV will focus on the current Social Security advisory environment and retirees' need for Social Security income planning services. We will address questions you may have about offering this service, and how changes to the Social security program can provide an enhanced marketing opportunity for providers of this service.

A detailed Social Security analysis will include a report and recommendations generated from software calculations. However, your "product" is really your expertise on the Social Security program. This requires an in-depth understanding of the rules and the ability to interpret case-specific recommendations and answer clients' questions.

Chapter 2 discusses the value of this expertise, education needed to become confidently knowledgeable and conversant on the subject and some further resources, websites, and columnists that will help keep you current with that understanding. Suggested steps to practice your skill are also explained in this chapter.

Chapter 3 begins with a general discussion of marketing service-based businesses versus those selling products. As with all service businesses, you are selling the intangible product of your expertise, and developing trust with your clients is vital to success. Especially in today's online world, the power of social networking, including referrals from satisfied clients, will play a significant role as you grow your business.

Chapter 4 includes suggestions on offering your services, the team of other professionals that can help you succeed, recommendations of both business to business (B2B) and business to consumer (B2C) marketing niches if you want to specialize, and further advertising tips that can accelerate your new business growth.

Anyone who sincerely wants to help retirees with their Social Security income claiming decision can become an expert on Social Security if they are truly "all in" with their knowledge and interest in offering this service.

Learning Objectives

Upon successful completion of Module IV, participants will be able to:

  • Identify factors contributing to the need for Social Security income planning advice.
  • Choose the correct answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about providing Social Security income planning services.
  • Select the impacts on the need for expert Social Security advice that result from changes to the Social Security program.
  • Specify useful steps to take to become an expert on Social Security.
  • Recall the educational resources available to Social Security income planning experts.
  • Recognize the options available to practice and highlight your knowledge about Social Security and your skills working with retirees to analyze their optimal claiming age(s).
  • Differentiate between the marketing of a service business and the marketing of a product business.
  • Identify the characteristics of a "trusted advisor" who offers expert advice on a topic.
  • Select the attributes of social networking that make it such a powerful marketing tool.
  • Choose other professionals who would be valuable team members to work with a Social Security expert.
  • Name some of the specific Social Security claiming niches available for working with groups of retirees.
  • Recall some cost-effective advertising tips for service businesses.

Module Five: Social Security Software Case Studies

Besides offering you education and CE credits on the topic of Social Security, the RSSA program is designed to train you to become a Registered Social Security Analyst (RSSA), if you wish to use your expertise on the topic to offer Social Security income planning services to workers approaching retirement.

In this final module, you will learn to use the sophisticated, cloud-based analytical software program, Maximize My Social Security. The knowledge you learned in the first four modules will be applied to analyzing real-world Social Security client cases using this software.

The Module V training is only an introduction to the capabilities of this software and continued real case analyses are needed to become proficient with its use. Using Maximize My Social Security gives you the ability to examine any number of optional claiming age strategies that you would like to provide for your clients, or that they request.

The software refers to these options as "What-If" filing dates and you may be examining several of these for any particular client. As you know, for each person, the month and year that they file and start collecting Social Security results in a different benefit amount. There are, therefore, thousands of possible collection strategies to examine.

It is only due to this type of software that we can provide our clients with precise, numerical options to help them make the decision of when it is best for them to claim their benefits. As you transition from advisor to analyst, this software program will enable you to help your clients collect tens of thousands of dollars, or more, over their lifetime by making the right choices. You will be able to easily enter your clients' data, including uploading their Social Security earnings history, with their permission, directly from the Social Security Administration website.

The software program generates custom, client-personalized PDF reports with your company's logo and contact information. It is important to thoroughly review the report's details with your clients so they can understand and appreciate your advice.

The Maximize My Social Security PDF reports include benefit amounts for each family member, comparison charts and graphs, and detailed notes with explanations. Side-by-side report comparisons between different Social Security claiming ages and strategies provide you with the ability to clearly show clients the amount of income they will receive by using each alternative.

Although the software strives to maximize the lifetime income for each client case, it is often not financially possible for retirees to follow that particular claiming strategy. Many workers must claim earlier than the maximized claiming ages and strategy recommendations. You provide value to your clients by explaining the results and reviewing the precise numerical comparisons between alternative claiming ages and strategies so that they may make the most optimal claiming decision for their situation.

Once you become comfortable with the software, you will see the ease with which you can run one version of a claiming age decision, save it, and quickly run another to compare to the first. Most clients like to examine a number of different claiming age options to see the different amounts of annual income they will be receiving. It may be helpful for you to create an excel spreadsheet of their "What-If" claiming options for clients to see at a glance, the critical numbers they care about.

A word of caution: As with any software, the precision of the input is what determines the accuracy of the output. Always check your work! Once you complete one client case, do not proceed to the next chapter case module until you feel confident about the results you have produced for the current chapter case.

You will be introduced to each of the four clients with their specific case explanations, the Social Security information forms they have filled out, and their earnings records. Follow the instructions in the explanations to analyze each client case using the software.

In Chapter 1 you will meet Mark Hamill, who is single and will be receiving a non-covered pension in addition to his Social Security benefits. This case highlights the changes to Mark's Social Security benefit due to the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP).

Chapter 2 presents the case of a married couple Robert and Sarah Marsh, who have an adult disabled son Greg. Determining the best Social Security claiming dates and strategies for couples involves analyzing thousands of possible claiming ages. In this case, it is even more complex since their son is also eligible for benefits when they start collecting their retirement benefits.

Your client in Chapter 3 is a single woman Julie Woods. She was married for over 20 years and has been divorced now for about ten years. She is nearing her Full Retirement Age (FRA) and understands that by waiting to collect Social Security up until age 70, she will receive a higher monthly benefit. She is surprised to learn that she may also be eligible to collect an ex-spousal benefit.

The example in Chapter 4 illustrates the case of a self-employed attorney Thomas and his wife Anne. Thomas, in his early 60's, is planning to collect his Social Security retirement benefit at age 70 and Anne will then be eligible for a spousal benefit. He is trying to determine how continuing to work part-time or retiring now will affect their ultimate Social Security benefits, including the survivor benefit.

For each of the four Social Security case examples, you will produce one or more PDF reports that you will download to name and save to your computer. Some of the chapter review and module exam questions will be based on the results in these reports.

Learning Objectives

Upon successful completion of Module V, participants will be able to:

  • Differentiate between the WEP and GPO rules.
  • Recognize the reason(s) estimating maximum life expectancy is important when deciding which age to start claiming Social Security benefits.
  • Recall how collecting a non-covered pension can affect a retiree's Social Security retirement, spousal, and survivor benefits.
  • Identify why certain Social Security retiree cases will be subject to the Family Maximum Benefit rules.
  • Determine the difference in lifetime benefit amounts between the maximized and alternative filing age(s) for a married couple Social Security software case example.
  • Select the Social Security rule(s) that determine if an adult disabled child is eligible for Social Security benefits.
  • Choose the requirement(s) that divorced retirees must meet to be eligible to collect an ex-spousal benefit.
  • Recall the conditions that a retiree must meet to be eligible to use the "restricted application" claiming strategy.
  • Estimate the difference in lifetime benefit amounts between the maximized and the default alternative filing age for a divorced Social Security software case example.
  • Recognize the Social Security claiming factors that a self-employed owner, and sole shareholder of a corporation, must consider when determining whether to collect "reasonable compensation" in the form of salary or a company distribution.
  • Specify one of the most important issues that couples must consider when deciding when to begin collecting Social Security.
  • Calculate the amount of Social Security and Medicare taxes that a self-employed worker will pay on a given salary.

Course Delivery

The self-study program consists of five self-study modules that must be taken in a specific order. The modules are designed so that you can study and pass them at your own pace. It is estimated it will take you 15-25 hours to take these modules. Each module is divided into chapters. You must take the chapters in order. Each chapter will have practice questions, which you must answer. Each module will have its own exam of 40 multiple-choice questions. To pass the module exam, you must answer at least 30 of the 40 questions correctly. Module exams are open-book and have no time limit. You cannot begin the next module until you pass the exam of the previous module.

Recognition & Accreditation

The training curriculum meets QAS requirements and is accepted for self-study in all states for CPAs by the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy, for Enrolled Agents and PTIN holders by the Internal Revenue Service, and for CFPs by the Certified Financial Planner Board. All students who complete the course receive a certificate of completion. Courses For Success is committed to high completion rates and therefore 100% student satisfaction. The courses offered by Courses For Success are unique as they are taught in a step by step process enabling students to complete them quickly and easily so that you can obtain your qualification sooner.

Module One - Social Security Basics

Chapter 1: Getting Started with Social Security

  • History of Social Security
  • Terms & Abbreviations
  • Annual Automatic Determinations
  • Full Retirement Age
  • Funding Social Security

Chapter 2: Retirement & Family Benefits

  • Types of Benefits
  • Qualifying for Benefits
  • Calculating Benefits
  • Dual Entitlement

Chapter 3: The Election Claiming Decision

  • Life Expectancy
  • Decision Considerations
  • PIA Reductions & Credits for Retirees Born in 1954 or Earlier
  • PIA Reductions & Credits for Retirees Born in 1955 & Later
  • Claiming Age & Life Expectancy
  • The Earnings Test

Chapter 4: Social Security Optimization

  • Spousal Benefits
  • Divorced Benefits
  • Survivor Benefits
  • Non-Marital Legal Relationships

Module Two - Social Security Advanced Topics

Chapter 1: Claiming Strategies

  • Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015
  • Evolution of Claiming Strategies
  • The Restricted Application Case Examples
  • Family Maximum Benefits
  • Women & Social Security

Chapter 2: Pensions & Social Security

  • Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP)
  • Government Pension Offset (GPO)
  • Case Studies

Chapter 3: Taxation of Social Security Benefits

  • History of Social Security Income Taxation
  • Determining Social Security Taxation Levels
  • The Case Example of Bob & Jane

Chapter 4: Disability

  • Eligibility for Benefits
  • Application & Determination of Benefits
  • Working & Other Payments
  • Family Disability Benefits

Chapter 5: The Future of Social Security

  • The Problem
  • Solutions to the Problem
  • What You Can Do

Module Three - Bridging to Retirement Planning

Chapter 1: The Big Picture

  • Retirement Planning 101
  • Retirement Financial Information
  • Retirement Expectations
  • Optimizing Retirement Finances

Chapter 2: Taxation of Retirement Income

  • It's Not That Simple
  • Required Minimum Distributions
  • Putting It All Together

Chapter 3: Social Security & Retirement Case Studies

  • Social Security & Taxation Case Study - Ted & Alice
  • The Power of Software Case Study - An Example of Retirement Planning Optimization - Sam & Sarah

Chapter 4: Medicare

  • Introduction to Medicare
  • Eligibility for Medicare Benefits
  • Medicare Benefits
  • Medigap Plans
  • Applying for Medicare

Module Four - Marketing Social Security Income Planning Services

Chapter 1: Social Security Services

  • The Social Security Income Planning Environment
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Changes to Social Security

Chapter 2: Becoming an Expert

  • The Value of Expertise
  • Education Resources
  • Practicing Your Skills

Chapter 3: Marketing Your Services

  • Service vs. Product Businesses
  • Developing Trust
  • The Power of Social Networking

Chapter 4: Getting Started

  • Your Services & Team
  • Social Security Niches
  • Advertising Tips

Module Five - Social Security Software Case Studies

Chapter 1: Mark Hamill - Single with a Pension

  • Mark's Information
  • Mark's Analysis & Report - Option A
  • Mark's Other Options

Chapter 2: Robert & Sarah Marsh - Married with Disabled Adult Son Greg

  • Robert's & Sarah's Information
  • Robert's & Sarah's Software Inputs
  • Robert's & Sarah's Analysis
  • Robert's & Sarah's Report

Chapter 3: Julie Woods - Divorced

  • Julie's Information
  • Julie's & John's Software Inputs
  • Julie's Analysis
  • Julie's Report

Chapter 4: Thomas & Anne Miller - Self-Employed

  • Thomas' & Anne's Information
  • Thomas' & Anne's Software Inputs
  • Thomas' & Anne's Analysis
  • Thomas' & Anne's Report Comparisons

Entry requirements

Students must have basic literacy and numeracy skills.

Minimum education

Open entry. Previous schooling and academic achievements are not required for entry into this course.

Computer requirements

Students will need access to a computer and the internet. 

Minimum specifications for the computer are:

Windows:

  • Microsoft Windows XP, or later
  • Modern and up to date Browser (Internet Explorer 8 or later, Firefox, Chrome, Safari)

MAC/iOS

  • OSX/iOS 6 or later
  • Modern and up to date Browser (Firefox, Chrome, Safari)

All systems

  • Internet bandwidth of 1Mb or faster
  • Flash player or a browser with HTML5 video capabilities(Currently Internet Explorer 9, Firefox, Chrome, Safari)

Students will also need access the following applications:

Adobe Acrobat Reader

1.  Who are Courses For Success?

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4.  Are there any requirements to study this course?

No, anyone who has an interest in learning more about this subject matter is encouraged to take our course. There are no entry requirements to take this course.

5.   Do I require to have finished high school to complete this course?

No, you do not require a High School Diploma or to have finished school to study this course, this course is open to anyone who would like to take this course.

6.  What if English is not my first language?

This course is provided in English, however, due to the digital nature of our training, you can take your time studying the material and make use of tools such as google translate and Grammarly.

7.  Is this course online or conducted in person?

All our courses are accessible online on any device. You may complete them at your own pace and at your own time.

8.  How do I receive my course?

After you have completed the payment, you will receive a confirmation email and tax receipt. You will also receive an email containing your course login details (username and password), as well as instructions on how to access and log in to your course via the internet with any device, please check your junk/spam folder in the event that you do not receive the email.

9.  When does this course start?

Providing you have internet access you can start this course whenever you like, just go to the login page and insert your username and password and you can access the online material.

10.  What is online learning like?

Online learning is easy, if not easier than a traditional academic situation. By studying an online course, the usual boundaries caused by location and time constraints are eliminated, meaning you are free to study where and when you want at your own pace. Of course, you will need to be able to self-manage your time and be organized, but with our help, you’ll soon find yourself settling into a comfortable rhythm of study.

11.  What computer skills do I need for my course?

You don't need to be a computer expert to succeed with our online training, but you should be comfortable typing, using the internet and be capable of using common software (such as Microsoft word).

12.  How long will you have access to the online course?

You will have 12 months online access to this course

13.  How long will my course take?

Please see the number of hours to complete in Course Duration, under the course summary

14.  What is included with the course?

The onetime fee includes all training materials, including online content, diagrams, videos if included, interactive instructions and quizzes, plus you will receive a certificate upon completion.

15.  Do I need to buy textbooks?

All the required material for your course is included in the online system, you do not need to buy anything else.

16.  Is the course interactive?

Yes, all our courses are interactive.

17.  Is there an assessment or exam?

Yes, you will be required to complete a multiple-choice test online at the end of your course, you can do this test as many times as you require.

18.  What type of certificate will I receive?

You will receive a Certificate of Completion that is applicable worldwide, which demonstrates your commitment to learning new skills. You can share the certificate with your friends, relatives, co-workers and employers. Also, include it in your resume/CV, professional social media profiles and job applications.

Wendy Sue Hunt - 5 STAR REVIEW
"If you are considering taking any “Courses for Success”, I would highly recommend it. I have always been a firm believer it’s important to always sharpen your skills. You are never too old to learn more. I found the courses very helpful, interesting and easy to understand.
The term “Courses for Success” helped me in my current position to succeed. After completing the courses, I gave my manager the completion certificates. Recently I received a promotion too."
Valencia Marie Aviles - 5 STAR REVIEW
"I had a very good experience with my course. It has helped me to get multiple jobs and prepared me for almost everything I would need to know. The course was very informative and easy to understand and broken up perfectly to be done in a short amount of time while still learning a good amount! I would recommend Courses for Success to anyone trying to get abs certifications for job advancements, it is well worth it!"
ELENA GRIFFIN - 5 STAR REVIEW
"I have absolutely enjoyed the materials from Courses for Success. The materials are easy to understand which makes learning enjoyable. Courses for Success have great topics of interest which make you come back for more.
Thank you Courses for Success for being part of my learning journey and making education affordable!"

Our completion certificates are very valuable and will help you progress in your work environment and show employers how committed you are to learn new skills, you might even get a promotion.

19.  Will this course be credited by universities?

No, it is not equivalent to a college or university credit.

20.  Am I guaranteed to get a job with this certificate?

The RSSA program is designed to train you to become a Registered Social Security Analyst (RSSA) if you wish to use your expertise on the topic to offer Social Security income planning services to workers approaching retirement.

21.  How will this course assist me with my career?

Studying and completing this course will help you become a Social Security Expert and help you earn your RSSA credential

22.  How long is the certificate valid for?

The Certificates are valid for life and do not need renewing. 

23.  Can I take more than one course at a time?

Courses are studied online at your own pace and you are free to study as many or as few courses as you wish, we also offer online course bundles that allow you to save on additional courses so that you may get all the topics related to your training goals in one go. 

24.  What are the Payment Methods available? Is there a payment plan?

We accept payments via PayPal, Credit Card, Bank Transfer and Amazon Pay for the USA. For payment plans, we offer Sezzle for USA & Canada, Afterpay for Australia & New Zealand. *For faster transaction Credit Card payments are preferred. Please purchase online via our website course product page or contact us at info@coursesforsuccess.com, to pay via bank transfer.

25.  Can I purchase for multiple people?

Yes, you can do this by purchasing individually via website or send us a request via email at info@coursesforsuccess.com

26.  Can I request for an invoice before purchase?

Yes, you can request for an invoice via email at info@coursesforsuccess.com

27.  Purchase for a gift?

Yes, you can purchase this course as a gift, simply send an email to info@coursesforsuccess.com, with the course details and we can accommodate this.

28.  Can I create my own course bundle?

Yes, you can customize your own bundle. Please send us the complete list with the exact course link of the courses you'd like to bundle up via email info@coursesforsuccess.com and we will create them for you. *Each course access, time of completion and certification varies depending on the course type.

29.  How will I contact Courses For Success if I have any questions?

You can contact our support team, at any time through live chat on our website, or email at info@coursesforsuccess.com, or by calling one of our phone numbers depending on which country you are in.  

30.  I live outside the United States. Can I still obtain the RSSA certification?

Yes. Even if you live outside the United States you may sign up as an Associate Member, take the course and upon passing the final exam will be entitled to use the RSSA credential.

About this Course

Become a Social Security Expert and Earn Your New Credential as a Registered Social Security Analyst Today

Add a new valuable year-round billable service to your practice that your clients are asking for. Take the only 5-course self-study online program that integrates software training so you can make money after completing.

When tax season is over you will have a new year-round billable service to introduce to clients.

This program is approved by the IRS, the CFP Board and by NASBA for CPAs for continuing education - Earn your credits.

This course will teach you everything you need to know about offering Social Security advisory services as a new fee-based service to your clients.  You will learn how to use sophisticated software that generates a 24-page custom client report that you can bill your clients for.  Use of software and all materials are included with the course at no additional cost.

New Update - The Biden administration is proposing changes to Social Security that will make this service more valuable.Over 11 million more individuals may become eligible for Social Security benefits. Are you ready to help them? That's in addition to the 70 million baby boomers that are becoming eligible currently - 10,000 every day! Save clients hundreds of thousands of dollars in lifetime benefits by planning for their future retirement. Help families with disabled children, immigrants, divorced and widowed clients get what they are entitled to from the government. Help self-employed individuals and business owners pay thousands less annually in payroll taxes without sacrificing future benefits.

Did you know most individuals currently collecting social security did not maximize their benefits? Many tax professionals and CPAs take the course to fulfill their CE and CPE credit obligation. You have one full year to complete the 5-course program which takes 15-25 hours depending on your level of knowledge.

As featured in Accounting Today, Smart Asset, Yahoo Finance and Financial Advisor. This is the ONLY course that is approved as a prerequisite for sitting for the national RSSA Competency Final Exam. After taking the course why not earn your RSSA credential. Become a recognized expert in Social Security - a Registered Social Security Analyst."

There is a tremendous demand for professionals that understand Social Security. More than 70 million Baby Boomers will collect Social Security. They will need personalized answers. As a Social Security expert, you can help clients potentially gain tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars in incremental Social Security income. Licensed professionals who are confident in their understanding and knowledge about Social Security will quickly become the go to resource, not only in their own organization, but community-wide. Social Security expertise builds trust and adds value for existing clients and is a topic that easily attracts prospects. Take advantage of this smart opportunity and get started with your training today.

This program will provide you with everything you need to know about Social Security rules, strategies, how to build your very own practice, and how you can help clients maximize their Social Security benefits. The online courses cover spousal benefits, claiming strategies, government pension offset, windfall elimination provision, acronym definitions including PIA and FRA, retirement income taxation, survivor and disability benefits, delayed retirement benefits, Medicare Part A and Part B, when and what to file.

Most retirees are confused and misinformed about the topic of Social Security and many are seeking expert advice. As professionals working in the tax and financial services, many of you may be getting questions from your clients about their Social Security benefits. 

What will you learn with our Social Security Advisor Online Course?

  • How to obtain a foundation of education in social security issues for the purpose of advising their clients
  • How to become a Social Security Expert - IRS/CPA approved CE training - Earn your RSSA credential
  • Social Security Training for Financial Professionals & Advisors
  • How to help clients maximize Social Security benefits
  • How to save clients hundreds of thousands of dollars in future lifetime benefits

Who would benefit from this course?

  • Tax Professionals: Adding Social Security advisory services transforms a seasonal tax practice with a year round client opportunity.  As a Social Security Expert, the final billable 'product' you provide your client is a written custom analytical report.
  • Financial Advisors: Retiring seniors represent the wealthiest segment of the population. As a Social Security expert, you'll differentiate yourself from other advisors.  Provide the answers and strategies seniors need to maximize their retirement income.

To successfully complete this course, a student must:

  • Have access to the internet and the necessary technical skills to navigate the online learning resources
  • Have access to any mobile device with internet connectivity (laptop, desktop, tablet)
  • Be a self-directed learner
  • Possess sound language and literacy skills

Quick Course Facts:

  1. Course content is structured for easy comprehension
  2. Approximately 15-25 hours of study is needed to complete the course
  3. Registered students gain 12-month access to your online course
  4. All course material is available online 24/7 and can be accessed using any device
  5. Study your course online from anywhere in your own time at your own pace
  6. All students who complete the course will be awarded with a certificate of completion

Social Security Advisor Online Course Outline

Module One: Social Security Basics

Most retirees are confused and misinformed about the topic of Social Security and many are seeking expert advice. As professionals working in the tax and financial services, many of you may be getting questions from your clients about their Social Security benefits.

This first module will provide you with detailed basic Social Security information that pertains to all retirees, including a history of the Social Security program, how funding works and how benefits are calculated, descriptions of benefits available for married, single, divorced and widowed retirees, and critical information to consider when evaluating the election claiming decision.

Case examples will be used to illustrate the most commonly used rules and strategies needed to optimize Social Security benefits through the comparison of best versus worst claiming decisions.

Licensed professionals who are confident in their understanding and knowledge about Social Security will quickly become the "go to" resource, not only in their own organization, but community-wide. Social Security expertise builds trust and adds value for existing clients and is a topic that easily attracts prospects.

Learning Objectives

Upon successful completion of Module I, participants will be able to:

  • Choose the most commonly used terms and acronyms using the Social Security definitions learned in the course.
  • Identify the effect of life expectancy on lifetime Social Security income amounts and survivor benefits using a given couples' case example.
  • Recognize important Social Security program historical facts and changes to the program.
  • Recall the funding mechanisms of Social Security, including the maximum taxable earnings amounts.
  • Specify the steps used to calculate a retiree's PIA.
  • Calculate a client's PIA given their AIME.
  • Choose the Full Retirement Age (FRA) for a retiree given their birth year.
  • Select the correct amount of annual decrease or increase in Social Security benefits for retirees who claim prior to their FRA or after that date.
  • Identify the current year earnings test income limits and the amount of Social Security benefits to be withheld given a retiree's age and earnings.
  • Recognize the rules and requirements for retirees to collect spousal and survivor benefits.
  • Specify the factors that determine eligibility for domestic partners to collect Social Security under the spousal rules.
  • Recall how quarters of coverage are calculated and the number required to qualify for Social Security benefits.

Module Two: Social Security Advanced Topics

Every year more retirees see their Social Security benefits subject to Federal income tax, due to the taxation threshold limits that have not been adjusted for inflation since their initial inception in 1983 and 1994. This critical fact makes the timing of collecting benefits and withdrawal of funds from taxable retirement and other investment accounts an even more complicated decision for retirees each year.

Module II begins with a description of the Social Security program rule changes included in the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015. The legislation contained changes to Section 831 of the Social Security program that phased out two couples' claiming strategies.

The "restricted application" claiming strategy is still available for several more years, but only for couples in which one or both were age 67 or older by the end of 2020 (and including Jan 1, 2021). The claiming strategy will be explained, including which age group is affected, the phase-out timing for the rule and a case example.

The Social Security income claiming decision is often more complex for retirees who have special situations such as minor children, a dependent parent, a disabled adult child, or a pension from non-covered employment. Also, due to the earnings test, those who are still working between the ages of 62 and FRA and also collecting Social Security benefits may discover upon filing their Federal income taxes that some of their future benefits will be withheld.

Module II covers family maximum benefits, factors that make the benefit claiming decision so important for women, and in Chapter 2, the two pension-related rules, the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) and the Government Pension Offset (GPO).

Chapter 3 of this module focuses on the Federal income taxation of Social Security benefits - the history of that taxation, the method of determining if and how much of a retiree's Social Security income will be taxed, and case studies illustrating the need for education and retirement planning to include and manage this taxation.

Chapter 4 addresses Social Security disability, including the general rules, eligibility criteria, application and determination details, and family disability benefits. Like Social Security retirement benefits, disability rules are highly personal for each case and to be eligible a worker must meet both work and medical requirements.

Module II concludes with a discussion of the future of the Social Security program. Options to be considered include changing the amount of payroll tax to the Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA), raising the earliest age of benefit collection and/or the full retirement age (FRA) for younger workers, and adjusting the income thresholds that determine the amount of Federal taxation on benefits.

Some of the topics covered in this module may not be frequently encountered, but must be understood to provide accurate, in-depth advice when offering Social Security and retirement income planning services to a broad base of clients and prospects.

Module II prepares you for the complex interplay of Social Security income, retirement account and other investment fund withdrawals, and the impact of Federal taxation of benefits as you move on to Module III, Bridging to Retirement Planning.

Learning Objectives

Upon successful completion of Module II, participants will be able to:

  • Recall the two major Social Security claiming strategies that are being phased out due to changes made in the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015.
  • Recognize possible future adjustments to the Social Security program that will help the trust fund to remain solvent.
  • Determine the monetary impact of the Windfall Elimination Provision and Government Pension Offset provisions on retirees Social Security benefits given specific case information.
  • Specify which family members are eligible to collect Social Security benefits based on a worker's earnings when given the family's information.
  • Calculate how much individual family members may collect in Social Security benefits based on the Family Maximum Benefit rules.
  • Estimate the Family Maximum Benefit for a given case example.
  • Identify the factors that support the need for women especially to fully understand their Social Security benefits and claiming choices.
  • Choose the correct definition of combined (provisional) income.
  • Recall the two different combined income thresholds for single and married taxpayers and the portion of their Social Security income than may be subject to taxation.
  • Define the two eligibility requirements for Social Security disability insurance.
  • Name the five steps in the process used to determine a worker's eligibility to receive disability benefits.
  • Specify which family members are eligible to collect Social Security disability auxiliary benefits based on a disabled worker's earnings when given the family's information.
  • Select the two amounts of Social Security benefits subject to taxation and the years those laws were enacted

Module Three: Bridging to Retirement Planning

Planning to retire requires a major shift from years of working and accumulating wealth to suddenly relying on that nest egg and other sources of income for the retirement years. Recognizing the value of making a smart Social Security income election decision in the context of all other retirement finances is just the start of analyzing cash flow throughout retirement years.

Chapter 1 of this module starts with a review of some important Social Security terms and abbreviations and then moves on to retirement planning 101, a discussion of the retirement planning team, retirement income streams, and how Social Security is the foundation of retirement plans.

The elements of retirement planning are described, including gathering, reviewing and assessing all retirement financial information, income, assets and expenses. A discussion of lifestyle, goals, expectations, needs versus wants and other retirement topics is critical to understanding retirees' complete retirement financial picture.

Clients should also be encouraged to evaluate their tax liability, medical and insurance needs, legal documents and legacy planning prior to reaching retirement age. This module provides a system and process to guide clients on setting goals that will allow them to achieve the retirement they desire.

Often retirees are surprised to discover their Social Security income may be taxed. The impact of this taxation can play a role in the longevity and stability of their portfolios. Chapter 2 addresses the taxation of retirement income and the importance of Social Security income taxation management in the context of overall retirement planning.

Chapter 3 will provide case studies that illustrate the tax implications from making the interrelated decisions of maximizing or optimizing Social Security income and the sequence of withdrawals from retirement accounts and other funds. Social Security maximization may not be the best strategy when accounting for taxation and the types of retirement funds providing income. Initial software results are often just the starting point for discussions with clients about income gaps, referrals to other professionals, legacy planning and more.

Social Security and Medicare are very interconnected and no discussion about retirement is complete without a general understanding of Medicare. Chapter 4 includes an introduction to Medicare, the eligibility requirements, a description of Medicare benefits, what Medigap, or supplemental insurance plans, are available, and the Medicare application process.

Learning Objectives

Upon successful completion of Module III, participants will be able to:

  • Choose the common retirement planning terms and acronyms used in the course.
  • Select the reason(s) why Social Security income planning is the "foundation" of a retirement financial plan.
  • Differentiate between the funds in a retirement planning "stool" versus a retirement planning "pyramid".
  • Recognize how consideration and inclusion of Social Security taxation and income planning in a comprehensive retirement plan can increase the longevity of portfolios.
  • Determine features to consider when choosing a software to help with Social Security claiming decisions.
  • Recognize the difference between optimization and maximization of Social Security benefits.
  • Identify client information needed to evaluate Social Security and retirement financial information to optimize net after-tax income for retirees.
  • Recall how the timing of claiming Social Security benefits and the sequence of retirement account and other asset withdrawals can impact retirement finances.
  • Determine for given retirement planning case studies, the impact that claiming Social Security at certain ages can have on total taxable income and taxation of benefits.
  • State the four Medicare parts and the different types of care and services each part covers.
  • Choose the eligibility criteria for Medicare Part A.
  • Identify the work requirement to qualify for premium-free Medicare Part A.
  • Select the correct way that Medicare Part B premiums are calculated.
  • Recall the benefits provided by Medicare Part and Part D.
  • Differentiate between the various Medicare supplemental insurance (Medigap) plans.

Module Four: Marketing Social Security Income Planning Services

Chapter 1 of Module IV will focus on the current Social Security advisory environment and retirees' need for Social Security income planning services. We will address questions you may have about offering this service, and how changes to the Social security program can provide an enhanced marketing opportunity for providers of this service.

A detailed Social Security analysis will include a report and recommendations generated from software calculations. However, your "product" is really your expertise on the Social Security program. This requires an in-depth understanding of the rules and the ability to interpret case-specific recommendations and answer clients' questions.

Chapter 2 discusses the value of this expertise, education needed to become confidently knowledgeable and conversant on the subject and some further resources, websites, and columnists that will help keep you current with that understanding. Suggested steps to practice your skill are also explained in this chapter.

Chapter 3 begins with a general discussion of marketing service-based businesses versus those selling products. As with all service businesses, you are selling the intangible product of your expertise, and developing trust with your clients is vital to success. Especially in today's online world, the power of social networking, including referrals from satisfied clients, will play a significant role as you grow your business.

Chapter 4 includes suggestions on offering your services, the team of other professionals that can help you succeed, recommendations of both business to business (B2B) and business to consumer (B2C) marketing niches if you want to specialize, and further advertising tips that can accelerate your new business growth.

Anyone who sincerely wants to help retirees with their Social Security income claiming decision can become an expert on Social Security if they are truly "all in" with their knowledge and interest in offering this service.

Learning Objectives

Upon successful completion of Module IV, participants will be able to:

  • Identify factors contributing to the need for Social Security income planning advice.
  • Choose the correct answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about providing Social Security income planning services.
  • Select the impacts on the need for expert Social Security advice that result from changes to the Social Security program.
  • Specify useful steps to take to become an expert on Social Security.
  • Recall the educational resources available to Social Security income planning experts.
  • Recognize the options available to practice and highlight your knowledge about Social Security and your skills working with retirees to analyze their optimal claiming age(s).
  • Differentiate between the marketing of a service business and the marketing of a product business.
  • Identify the characteristics of a "trusted advisor" who offers expert advice on a topic.
  • Select the attributes of social networking that make it such a powerful marketing tool.
  • Choose other professionals who would be valuable team members to work with a Social Security expert.
  • Name some of the specific Social Security claiming niches available for working with groups of retirees.
  • Recall some cost-effective advertising tips for service businesses.

Module Five: Social Security Software Case Studies

Besides offering you education and CE credits on the topic of Social Security, the RSSA program is designed to train you to become a Registered Social Security Analyst (RSSA), if you wish to use your expertise on the topic to offer Social Security income planning services to workers approaching retirement.

In this final module, you will learn to use the sophisticated, cloud-based analytical software program, Maximize My Social Security. The knowledge you learned in the first four modules will be applied to analyzing real-world Social Security client cases using this software.

The Module V training is only an introduction to the capabilities of this software and continued real case analyses are needed to become proficient with its use. Using Maximize My Social Security gives you the ability to examine any number of optional claiming age strategies that you would like to provide for your clients, or that they request.

The software refers to these options as "What-If" filing dates and you may be examining several of these for any particular client. As you know, for each person, the month and year that they file and start collecting Social Security results in a different benefit amount. There are, therefore, thousands of possible collection strategies to examine.

It is only due to this type of software that we can provide our clients with precise, numerical options to help them make the decision of when it is best for them to claim their benefits. As you transition from advisor to analyst, this software program will enable you to help your clients collect tens of thousands of dollars, or more, over their lifetime by making the right choices. You will be able to easily enter your clients' data, including uploading their Social Security earnings history, with their permission, directly from the Social Security Administration website.

The software program generates custom, client-personalized PDF reports with your company's logo and contact information. It is important to thoroughly review the report's details with your clients so they can understand and appreciate your advice.

The Maximize My Social Security PDF reports include benefit amounts for each family member, comparison charts and graphs, and detailed notes with explanations. Side-by-side report comparisons between different Social Security claiming ages and strategies provide you with the ability to clearly show clients the amount of income they will receive by using each alternative.

Although the software strives to maximize the lifetime income for each client case, it is often not financially possible for retirees to follow that particular claiming strategy. Many workers must claim earlier than the maximized claiming ages and strategy recommendations. You provide value to your clients by explaining the results and reviewing the precise numerical comparisons between alternative claiming ages and strategies so that they may make the most optimal claiming decision for their situation.

Once you become comfortable with the software, you will see the ease with which you can run one version of a claiming age decision, save it, and quickly run another to compare to the first. Most clients like to examine a number of different claiming age options to see the different amounts of annual income they will be receiving. It may be helpful for you to create an excel spreadsheet of their "What-If" claiming options for clients to see at a glance, the critical numbers they care about.

A word of caution: As with any software, the precision of the input is what determines the accuracy of the output. Always check your work! Once you complete one client case, do not proceed to the next chapter case module until you feel confident about the results you have produced for the current chapter case.

You will be introduced to each of the four clients with their specific case explanations, the Social Security information forms they have filled out, and their earnings records. Follow the instructions in the explanations to analyze each client case using the software.

In Chapter 1 you will meet Mark Hamill, who is single and will be receiving a non-covered pension in addition to his Social Security benefits. This case highlights the changes to Mark's Social Security benefit due to the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP).

Chapter 2 presents the case of a married couple Robert and Sarah Marsh, who have an adult disabled son Greg. Determining the best Social Security claiming dates and strategies for couples involves analyzing thousands of possible claiming ages. In this case, it is even more complex since their son is also eligible for benefits when they start collecting their retirement benefits.

Your client in Chapter 3 is a single woman Julie Woods. She was married for over 20 years and has been divorced now for about ten years. She is nearing her Full Retirement Age (FRA) and understands that by waiting to collect Social Security up until age 70, she will receive a higher monthly benefit. She is surprised to learn that she may also be eligible to collect an ex-spousal benefit.

The example in Chapter 4 illustrates the case of a self-employed attorney Thomas and his wife Anne. Thomas, in his early 60's, is planning to collect his Social Security retirement benefit at age 70 and Anne will then be eligible for a spousal benefit. He is trying to determine how continuing to work part-time or retiring now will affect their ultimate Social Security benefits, including the survivor benefit.

For each of the four Social Security case examples, you will produce one or more PDF reports that you will download to name and save to your computer. Some of the chapter review and module exam questions will be based on the results in these reports.

Learning Objectives

Upon successful completion of Module V, participants will be able to:

  • Differentiate between the WEP and GPO rules.
  • Recognize the reason(s) estimating maximum life expectancy is important when deciding which age to start claiming Social Security benefits.
  • Recall how collecting a non-covered pension can affect a retiree's Social Security retirement, spousal, and survivor benefits.
  • Identify why certain Social Security retiree cases will be subject to the Family Maximum Benefit rules.
  • Determine the difference in lifetime benefit amounts between the maximized and alternative filing age(s) for a married couple Social Security software case example.
  • Select the Social Security rule(s) that determine if an adult disabled child is eligible for Social Security benefits.
  • Choose the requirement(s) that divorced retirees must meet to be eligible to collect an ex-spousal benefit.
  • Recall the conditions that a retiree must meet to be eligible to use the "restricted application" claiming strategy.
  • Estimate the difference in lifetime benefit amounts between the maximized and the default alternative filing age for a divorced Social Security software case example.
  • Recognize the Social Security claiming factors that a self-employed owner, and sole shareholder of a corporation, must consider when determining whether to collect "reasonable compensation" in the form of salary or a company distribution.
  • Specify one of the most important issues that couples must consider when deciding when to begin collecting Social Security.
  • Calculate the amount of Social Security and Medicare taxes that a self-employed worker will pay on a given salary.

Course Delivery

The self-study program consists of five self-study modules that must be taken in a specific order. The modules are designed so that you can study and pass them at your own pace. It is estimated it will take you 15-25 hours to take these modules. Each module is divided into chapters. You must take the chapters in order. Each chapter will have practice questions, which you must answer. Each module will have its own exam of 40 multiple-choice questions. To pass the module exam, you must answer at least 30 of the 40 questions correctly. Module exams are open-book and have no time limit. You cannot begin the next module until you pass the exam of the previous module.

Recognition & Accreditation

The training curriculum meets QAS requirements and is accepted for self-study in all states for CPAs by the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy, for Enrolled Agents and PTIN holders by the Internal Revenue Service, and for CFPs by the Certified Financial Planner Board. All students who complete the course receive a certificate of completion. Courses For Success is committed to high completion rates and therefore 100% student satisfaction. The courses offered by Courses For Success are unique as they are taught in a step by step process enabling students to complete them quickly and easily so that you can obtain your qualification sooner.

Module One - Social Security Basics

Chapter 1: Getting Started with Social Security

  • History of Social Security
  • Terms & Abbreviations
  • Annual Automatic Determinations
  • Full Retirement Age
  • Funding Social Security

Chapter 2: Retirement & Family Benefits

  • Types of Benefits
  • Qualifying for Benefits
  • Calculating Benefits
  • Dual Entitlement

Chapter 3: The Election Claiming Decision

  • Life Expectancy
  • Decision Considerations
  • PIA Reductions & Credits for Retirees Born in 1954 or Earlier
  • PIA Reductions & Credits for Retirees Born in 1955 & Later
  • Claiming Age & Life Expectancy
  • The Earnings Test

Chapter 4: Social Security Optimization

  • Spousal Benefits
  • Divorced Benefits
  • Survivor Benefits
  • Non-Marital Legal Relationships

Module Two - Social Security Advanced Topics

Chapter 1: Claiming Strategies

  • Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015
  • Evolution of Claiming Strategies
  • The Restricted Application Case Examples
  • Family Maximum Benefits
  • Women & Social Security

Chapter 2: Pensions & Social Security

  • Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP)
  • Government Pension Offset (GPO)
  • Case Studies

Chapter 3: Taxation of Social Security Benefits

  • History of Social Security Income Taxation
  • Determining Social Security Taxation Levels
  • The Case Example of Bob & Jane

Chapter 4: Disability

  • Eligibility for Benefits
  • Application & Determination of Benefits
  • Working & Other Payments
  • Family Disability Benefits

Chapter 5: The Future of Social Security

  • The Problem
  • Solutions to the Problem
  • What You Can Do

Module Three - Bridging to Retirement Planning

Chapter 1: The Big Picture

  • Retirement Planning 101
  • Retirement Financial Information
  • Retirement Expectations
  • Optimizing Retirement Finances

Chapter 2: Taxation of Retirement Income

  • It's Not That Simple
  • Required Minimum Distributions
  • Putting It All Together

Chapter 3: Social Security & Retirement Case Studies

  • Social Security & Taxation Case Study - Ted & Alice
  • The Power of Software Case Study - An Example of Retirement Planning Optimization - Sam & Sarah

Chapter 4: Medicare

  • Introduction to Medicare
  • Eligibility for Medicare Benefits
  • Medicare Benefits
  • Medigap Plans
  • Applying for Medicare

Module Four - Marketing Social Security Income Planning Services

Chapter 1: Social Security Services

  • The Social Security Income Planning Environment
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Changes to Social Security

Chapter 2: Becoming an Expert

  • The Value of Expertise
  • Education Resources
  • Practicing Your Skills

Chapter 3: Marketing Your Services

  • Service vs. Product Businesses
  • Developing Trust
  • The Power of Social Networking

Chapter 4: Getting Started

  • Your Services & Team
  • Social Security Niches
  • Advertising Tips

Module Five - Social Security Software Case Studies

Chapter 1: Mark Hamill - Single with a Pension

  • Mark's Information
  • Mark's Analysis & Report - Option A
  • Mark's Other Options

Chapter 2: Robert & Sarah Marsh - Married with Disabled Adult Son Greg

  • Robert's & Sarah's Information
  • Robert's & Sarah's Software Inputs
  • Robert's & Sarah's Analysis
  • Robert's & Sarah's Report

Chapter 3: Julie Woods - Divorced

  • Julie's Information
  • Julie's & John's Software Inputs
  • Julie's Analysis
  • Julie's Report

Chapter 4: Thomas & Anne Miller - Self-Employed

  • Thomas' & Anne's Information
  • Thomas' & Anne's Software Inputs
  • Thomas' & Anne's Analysis
  • Thomas' & Anne's Report Comparisons

Entry requirements

Students must have basic literacy and numeracy skills.

Minimum education

Open entry. Previous schooling and academic achievements are not required for entry into this course.

Computer requirements

Students will need access to a computer and the internet. 

Minimum specifications for the computer are:

Windows:

  • Microsoft Windows XP, or later
  • Modern and up to date Browser (Internet Explorer 8 or later, Firefox, Chrome, Safari)

MAC/iOS

  • OSX/iOS 6 or later
  • Modern and up to date Browser (Firefox, Chrome, Safari)

All systems

  • Internet bandwidth of 1Mb or faster
  • Flash player or a browser with HTML5 video capabilities(Currently Internet Explorer 9, Firefox, Chrome, Safari)

Students will also need access the following applications:

Adobe Acrobat Reader

1.  Who are Courses For Success?

Courses For Success is a global course platform that started in 2008 with 5 courses, since then we have grown to over 10,000 online courses. As our courses are delivered online via the internet, we sell our courses worldwide.

Our courses span across many categories including Academic, Animal, Beauty, Business, Career, Counseling, Creative & Media, Health & Therapy, Hobbies & Trades, IT, Personal Development, Sports & Fitness.

Some of the companies we work with include Groupon, Living Social, CNN, Entrepreneur, Mashable, Reed UK, Stack Social and many more.

2.  Is there a refund/cancellation policy?

Yes, we have a 7-day money-back refund guarantee. Just send us an email to info@coursesforsuccess.com with the subject Courses For Success Refund so we can accommodate your request.

3.  What is the FREE Personal Success Training Program?

The Personal Success Training Program was developed by Courses For Success to help our customers achieve success. Currently, we are offering this program for FREE with every course or bundle purchase this month. This is a limited time offer! We have received thousands of reviews for this program, please see: Personal Success Training Program Reviews

4.  Are there any requirements to study this course?

No, anyone who has an interest in learning more about this subject matter is encouraged to take our course. There are no entry requirements to take this course.

5.   Do I require to have finished high school to complete this course?

No, you do not require a High School Diploma or to have finished school to study this course, this course is open to anyone who would like to take this course.

6.  What if English is not my first language?

This course is provided in English, however, due to the digital nature of our training, you can take your time studying the material and make use of tools such as google translate and Grammarly.

7.  Is this course online or conducted in person?

All our courses are accessible online on any device. You may complete them at your own pace and at your own time.

8.  How do I receive my course?

After you have completed the payment, you will receive a confirmation email and tax receipt. You will also receive an email containing your course login details (username and password), as well as instructions on how to access and log in to your course via the internet with any device, please check your junk/spam folder in the event that you do not receive the email.

9.  When does this course start?

Providing you have internet access you can start this course whenever you like, just go to the login page and insert your username and password and you can access the online material.

10.  What is online learning like?

Online learning is easy, if not easier than a traditional academic situation. By studying an online course, the usual boundaries caused by location and time constraints are eliminated, meaning you are free to study where and when you want at your own pace. Of course, you will need to be able to self-manage your time and be organized, but with our help, you’ll soon find yourself settling into a comfortable rhythm of study.

11.  What computer skills do I need for my course?

You don't need to be a computer expert to succeed with our online training, but you should be comfortable typing, using the internet and be capable of using common software (such as Microsoft word).

12.  How long will you have access to the online course?

You will have 12 months online access to this course

13.  How long will my course take?

Please see the number of hours to complete in Course Duration, under the course summary

14.  What is included with the course?

The onetime fee includes all training materials, including online content, diagrams, videos if included, interactive instructions and quizzes, plus you will receive a certificate upon completion.

15.  Do I need to buy textbooks?

All the required material for your course is included in the online system, you do not need to buy anything else.

16.  Is the course interactive?

Yes, all our courses are interactive.

17.  Is there an assessment or exam?

Yes, you will be required to complete a multiple-choice test online at the end of your course, you can do this test as many times as you require.

18.  What type of certificate will I receive?

You will receive a Certificate of Completion that is applicable worldwide, which demonstrates your commitment to learning new skills. You can share the certificate with your friends, relatives, co-workers and employers. Also, include it in your resume/CV, professional social media profiles and job applications.

Wendy Sue Hunt - 5 STAR REVIEW
"If you are considering taking any “Courses for Success”, I would highly recommend it. I have always been a firm believer it’s important to always sharpen your skills. You are never too old to learn more. I found the courses very helpful, interesting and easy to understand.
The term “Courses for Success” helped me in my current position to succeed. After completing the courses, I gave my manager the completion certificates. Recently I received a promotion too."
Valencia Marie Aviles - 5 STAR REVIEW
"I had a very good experience with my course. It has helped me to get multiple jobs and prepared me for almost everything I would need to know. The course was very informative and easy to understand and broken up perfectly to be done in a short amount of time while still learning a good amount! I would recommend Courses for Success to anyone trying to get abs certifications for job advancements, it is well worth it!"
ELENA GRIFFIN - 5 STAR REVIEW
"I have absolutely enjoyed the materials from Courses for Success. The materials are easy to understand which makes learning enjoyable. Courses for Success have great topics of interest which make you come back for more.
Thank you Courses for Success for being part of my learning journey and making education affordable!"

Our completion certificates are very valuable and will help you progress in your work environment and show employers how committed you are to learn new skills, you might even get a promotion.

19.  Will this course be credited by universities?

No, it is not equivalent to a college or university credit.

20.  Am I guaranteed to get a job with this certificate?

The RSSA program is designed to train you to become a Registered Social Security Analyst (RSSA) if you wish to use your expertise on the topic to offer Social Security income planning services to workers approaching retirement.

21.  How will this course assist me with my career?

Studying and completing this course will help you become a Social Security Expert and help you earn your RSSA credential

22.  How long is the certificate valid for?

The Certificates are valid for life and do not need renewing. 

23.  Can I take more than one course at a time?

Courses are studied online at your own pace and you are free to study as many or as few courses as you wish, we also offer online course bundles that allow you to save on additional courses so that you may get all the topics related to your training goals in one go. 

24.  What are the Payment Methods available? Is there a payment plan?

We accept payments via PayPal, Credit Card, Bank Transfer and Amazon Pay for the USA. For payment plans, we offer Sezzle for USA & Canada, Afterpay for Australia & New Zealand. *For faster transaction Credit Card payments are preferred. Please purchase online via our website course product page or contact us at info@coursesforsuccess.com, to pay via bank transfer.

25.  Can I purchase for multiple people?

Yes, you can do this by purchasing individually via website or send us a request via email at info@coursesforsuccess.com

26.  Can I request for an invoice before purchase?

Yes, you can request for an invoice via email at info@coursesforsuccess.com

27.  Purchase for a gift?

Yes, you can purchase this course as a gift, simply send an email to info@coursesforsuccess.com, with the course details and we can accommodate this.

28.  Can I create my own course bundle?

Yes, you can customize your own bundle. Please send us the complete list with the exact course link of the courses you'd like to bundle up via email info@coursesforsuccess.com and we will create them for you. *Each course access, time of completion and certification varies depending on the course type.

29.  How will I contact Courses For Success if I have any questions?

You can contact our support team, at any time through live chat on our website, or email at info@coursesforsuccess.com, or by calling one of our phone numbers depending on which country you are in.  

30.  I live outside the United States. Can I still obtain the RSSA certification?

Yes. Even if you live outside the United States you may sign up as an Associate Member, take the course and upon passing the final exam will be entitled to use the RSSA credential.

We provide a 7 Day Money Back Refund on all Courses

Special Offer

 

Receive The Personal Success Training Program FREE, When You Purchase This Course - Limited Time Remaining!  (Value $600)

 

The Personal Success Training Program Helps You Stay Focused To Achieve Your Goals!
Benefits:
  • How to layout a Success Plan.
  • Get where you want to be in life.
  • How to unclutter your mind to succeed.
  • Achieve your dreams using your imagination.
  • How to have faith in yourself.
Features:
  • 12 month online access,  24/7 anywhere.
  • Complement your individual course purchase.
  • Thousands of positive reviews.
  • Limited Time Offer - Ends Soon.
 

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Course Summary

Course ID: 080NARSSE
Delivery Mode: Online
Access: 12 months
Tutor Support: Yes
Time: Study at your own pace
Duration: 15-25 Hours
Assessments: Yes
Qualification: Certificate

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