When Dave Bernstein, 87, started working at the U.S. Postal Service in February 1970, he was making $2.35 an hour.
To supplement his income, he also took on other work. Years later, Bernstein decided in 1992 to take a voluntary retirement.
“We knew there was going to be a reduced pension because of the early out,” said Phyllis Bernstein, Dave’s wife, who is 84.
But what came next was something the couple did not expect.
While Dave was expecting a monthly Social Security check of around $800, it ended up being just about half that amount – around $415 – even though he had earned the required 40 credits to be fully insured by the program. The benefits were adjusted based on rules for workers who earn both pension and Social Security benefits.