Q: When people die after they’ve received only a few months or years of their Social Security retirement benefits, which they have paid into their entire lives, what happens to the money that would have otherwise been paid them if they had lived much longer?
—Rusty Hucks, Tucker
A: Social Security does not place Social Security taxes paid on a worker’s earnings in an individual account. The program is a social insurance program, a “pay-as-you-go system in which today’s workers pay for today’s beneficiaries,” a Social Security spokeswoman told Q&A on the News in an email. “All Social Security taxes go into the Social Security Trust Funds, which are used to pay current Social Security beneficiaries,” she wrote. If benefits were never paid on a worker’s record, the taxes paid would simply remain part of the funds. However, the worker’s family may be eligible to receive benefits.
Q: When Georgia Power crews go to a different state, such as Michigan, are they paid for it? I know they are put up in hotel and expenses are covered, but how do they do that?
—Eddie Webster, Dallas
A: Georgia Power crews are paid at standard rates when they assist other utilities with storm restoration through the Mutual Assistance Agreement, a spokesman told Q&A on the News in an email. The agreement “is a collaborative effort that provides coordinated mutual assistance across utilities in response to severe storms,” he wrote. Expenses are sometimes initially covered by Georgia Power and then reimbursed by the host utility. Sometimes, the host utility provides the logistics and pays the bills itself. “This is the standard mutual assistance practice for utilities,” the spokesman wrote.
Andy Johnston wrote this column. Do you have a question about the news? We’ll try to get the answer. Call 404-222-2002 or email email@example.com (include name, phone and city).