Ask Larry

Professor Laurence Kotlikoff, Economics, Boston University My weekly Ask Larry column ran for almost four years at PBS NewsHours' site. We've now moved Ask Larry to the best place to both answer your general questions and let you calculate your particular optimal benefit collection strategy. I pledge to answer as many questions as possible in the columns below. Please share Ask Larry on social media and consider purchasing our Maximize My Social Security program, which will show you precisely how to get everything you paid for. All my best, Larry

PS, As we are being flooded with questions, I'm also going to have Jerry Lutz, a former Technical Expert at Social Security, as well as my colleagues in the company (Mike O'Connor, our chief SS software engineer, John O'Connor, our head of customer support, and Alex Kotlikoff (my son) and Isaac Yoder, who work on all aspects of product execution and development) help me answer some of your questions. My goal is to give everyone an answer to their questions in relatively short order. As you can read from the questions I have answered, I often am advising people to use our software to figure out precisely what to do. I know the rules, but only the software can figure out cases that may involve finding the best strategy among tens of thousands to millions of alternative strategies. If you have software support questions please log into the site and enter a support ticket.

If I File For Reduced Retirement Benefits, Can I Still Get Unreduced Survivor Benefits Later?

Category: Divorced Spousal Benefits
Apr 24 2017 - 8:04am

Hello Larry,
I am 62 and would like to apply for my early reduced SS retirement benefit, now, because I need the income. I was married for 35 years and divorced 5 years ago. I have never remarried. My Ex is receiving full SS retirement benefits, however, he is in failing health and the prognosis is not good. I would like to know 1) If I receive my reduced SS benefit, now, can I switch to divorced survivor's benefit at my full retirement age of 66, if he passes, and 2) would I receive the same benefit amount that he was receiving , or 3) would I receive a reduced divorced . . . Read More

Will I Lose My Social Security If I Return To Work?

Category: Miscellaneous
Apr 24 2017 - 7:50am

I am 68 years old and will turn 69 July 5th of this year. Due to severe money issues, I want to return to my old job in NYC for just short of 6 months. I will stay at my brothers home. I have a few related questions: Can I still collect my SS monthly benefit? Will I lose my medicare while I am working? If I lose my SS, will I have to re-apply all over again? Would my benefit be greater due to the added income? Will I owe NY state income tax? I thank you in advance. Kind regards, Sal

Hi Sal,

Since you are already over full retirement age, you won't . . . Read More

Should My Wife File For Benefits At Age 62?

Category: Filing Strategies
Apr 24 2017 - 7:34am

It has been suggested that my wife file for SS benefits in a few months when she reaches age 62. I ask whether you agree. She is 9 yrs and 11 months younger than me, I had a substantially larger lifetime earnings records, I deferred taking SS benefits until age 70, we both have a defined benefit pension (hers is very modest), and we assume that we will each live to an average actuarial age based on our current ages (almost 72 male and almost 62 female). I am required to take substantial RMD's, we are in the 25% marginal tax bracket, and we do not need her SS benefit (approx. $1 . . . Read More

What Do You Think Of My Strategy?

Category: Filing Strategies
Apr 24 2017 - 7:15am

Hi Larry-
I'm almost 58 and currently working for the government as a DoD employee. I am also retired from the military. I am considering retiring in two years and spending down our TSP account and delaying applying for Social Security until 66/10 at the earliest and 70 at the latest. Completely spending down the TSP will eliminate the minimum required distribution at 70.5 but more importantly limits my taxable income to retirement income only when we apply for Social Security...what do you think of my strategy?

Hi,

That sounds fine to me in . . . Read More

Does The Income I Receive Affect My Survivor Benefits?

Category: Survivor Benefits
Apr 23 2017 - 8:43am

I am 54 with a 13 year old dautghter my wife of 13 years died 3 years ago, one month after her farther died, her will did not address the trust her parents had set up so my wifes inheritance will go to my daughter insted of me. My daughters money is now in a trust being invested, they are paying me $1000.00 a month for my daughters expenses. I am not working at this time but I am colecting surviver benefits. I will also be colecting dividens from a malpractice suit from my wifes death. My question is do either one of these incomes affect my surviver benefits?

. . . Read More

How Do We Deal With Form SSA-131?

Category: Miscellaneous
Apr 23 2017 - 8:26am

Husband retired due to lay-off 12-2015, started new job 01-2016. Received 2016 W-2 for a "special payment," for "volunteering" to retire 12-2015...not worded as a buyout or severance, but similar. Then for tax year 2016, received Form SSA-131 EMPLOYER REPORT OF SPECIAL WAGE PAYMENTS. Employer has filled it out. Husband (age 68) has been on file-and-suspend, planning to collect SS at age 70. Reluctant to turn form in because within the paragraph under Part 2 is the sentence--THE ABOVE NAMED INDIVIDUAL HAS FILED FOR SOCIAL SECURITY BENEFITS. Am afraid that whoever gets the form . . . Read More

Am I Entitled To Any Other Benefits?

Category: Disability Benefits
Apr 23 2017 - 8:15am

i have been on ssdi for almost 2 yrs. as of 4-21-17 i have been diagnosed with ppms is there anything that i may be entitled to from ss considering i already receive over 1700.00 per month.

Hi,

You will become eligible for Medicare effective with the 25th month of your entitlement to Social Security disability benefits (SSDI).

If you are married now, or you were married in the past for more than 10 years and then divorced, it's possible that you could be eligible for benefits on a spouse's record either now or in the future. For more . . . Read More

Will My Wife Get Spousal Benefits When I File On My Own Record?

Category: Spousal Benefits
Apr 23 2017 - 8:08am

My wife claimed her SS benefit at 64 and I took my spousal SS benefit at the same time. When I decide to claim my full SS benefits, will my wife's benefit be the same or will hers revert to a spousal benefit (1/2 of mine)? Thank you!

Hi,

That depends on your relative benefit rates. Your wife will continue to get her own reduced retirement benefit when you file on your own record. But, if 50% of your full retirement age rate (PIA) is higher than your wife's PIA, she could also receive the difference in those amounts as an excess spousal benefit. . . . Read More

Are There Pitfalls In Our Plan?

Category: Filing Strategies
Apr 23 2017 - 7:52am

Hi Larry: I'm 72 and began taking my Social Security at 64, My wife will be 64 this June. She is thinking about suspending her own Social Security at age 65 until she is 70, but would like to get spousal benefits based on my record when she turns 65 and begins Medicare. If she suspends her benefits until age 70, but takes spousal benefits at age 65 what would her expected benefit be if my annual benefit is $20,600? Are there any pitfalls that we need to be aware of if she does this?

Hi,

Your wife's plan won't work. Your wife can't suspend her . . . Read More

Does Filing And Suspending Affect The Benefit Computation?

Category: Retirement Benefits
Apr 23 2017 - 7:35am

I understand that SS benefit calculated on highest 35 years of wage-indexed earnings, including earnings between age 66 and 70, for delayed retirement.
However, does this also apply if person “filed and suspended” at age 66 and a spousal benefit has been paid?
In other words, will the delayed retirement SS benefit (to be paid at 70) be updated to include (higher) earnings during suspension period?

Hi,

The same benefit calculation applies regardless of whether or not a person filed and suspended their benefits. So yes, a person's . . . Read More

Do I Need To Report My Earnings To Social Security If I Won't Exceed The Exempt Amount?

Category: Earnings Test
Apr 22 2017 - 10:20am

I started receiving widow's social security benefits, when I was 62 years old, in 2014. This July (2017) I will be 65, so my full retirement age is 66. I am suspending conversion to my own benefits until age 70 because at the time when I began collecting Social Security, my widow's benefit rate was higher than my own. Eventually, by suspending collection the accrued increases from my own benefits will surpass my widow's benefit rate. I figured that since my own rate at age 62 was less than my widow's benefit rate; and because I could not effect an increase in the widow's rate . . . Read More

Are There Any Other Things We Should Consider?

Category: Filing Strategies
Apr 22 2017 - 8:50am

I will be 68 in November and plan to start receiving benefits effective 1/18. My wife will be 62 in March and her work benefits are low. My benefit would be around $3100 per month and she would be eligible for spousal at 4/18 of about $1100 part month. My wife does not work so we thought this was the best way to go as the spousal is much more than her regular benefit would be even at FRA. Is there any other considerations?

Hi,

Well, if you start drawing in January 2018, your benefit rate will be close to 15% lower than it would be if you wait until . . . Read More

Will My Social Security Benefits Be Reduced If I Receive Part Of My Ex-Husband's Federal Pension?

Category: Non-Covered Pension - WEP / GPO
Apr 22 2017 - 8:38am

Hi
I am entitled to half my ex's pension benefits through a Federal Employee Pension Program once he retires. He will not collect Social Security as he did not pay into this system. I am age 62 in March 2018. I would like to begin collecting SS then which will be around $1100 per month.
When my ex retires will MY SS of $1100 a month be reduced by 2/3 due to me being eligible to recive half his pension for the 22 years we were married?
What if I am only entitled to some miniscule amount- say $500 from his pension per month? Will my $1100 per month then to . . . Read More

What Is The Best Strategy In Our Case?

Category: Filing Strategies
Apr 22 2017 - 8:18am

Hi Larry, I am 64 soon to turn 65 in May 2017. My wife is 2.5 years younger than me born Oct 1954. I am trying to figure out the best claiming strategy for both of us. Her work record does not have enough credits to claim on her own (32) and she hasn't worked since 1981. She will have to collect on her Spousal benefit. I am thinking about delaying my Social Security benefit after age 66 but not sure what other options we have together. I know that file and suspend is gone now, but something about being born before Jan. 1, 1954 will allow me to still suspend my claim. I was born . . . Read More

What Year Is Used To Determine The Combined Family Maximum?

Category: Family Benefit Maximum
Apr 22 2017 - 8:05am

What year is used to determine the combined family max?
I retired a few years ago and was receiving the family max due to my disabled daughter and my wife's in child care benefit.
My wife filed at 62 this year to implement the combined family limit for a higher benefit.
SSA used the year I retired to determine the limit for the combined family max not 2017, the year the 2 maximums are first being combined.
I reviewed the ssa section https://secure.ssa.gov/poms.nsf/lnx/0300615770.

. . . Read More

Is This True?

Category: Filing Strategies
Apr 22 2017 - 7:51am

I am 63 (64 this year), working part time. My husband will be 58 this year working full time. We are married over 30 years. A friend told me that I am able to collect against my husbands social security now, and continue working, until I reach my retirement age of 66. Is this true ?

Hi,

No, that's not true. You can't qualify for spousal benefits until your husband starts drawing his benefits, and if you filed for spousal benefits before full retirement age, you would also be forced to file for reduced retirement benefits on your own record. In . . . Read More

Can My Husband Collect Spousal Benefits On My Record?

Category: Filing Strategies
Apr 22 2017 - 7:36am

If I am receiving SS disability benefits and am 54 can my husband collect spousal benefits he is going to retire and is 65 and should he wait until he is 70 to collect his social security and will that increase my benefits at that time.

Hi,

Possibly, yes. And, if your husband was born prior to January 2 1954, it may be optimal for him to file for spousal benefits only on your record when he reaches age 66, then switch to his own record at age 70. However, in some cases no auxiliary (e.g. spousal) benefits are payable on the records of people . . . Read More

Will My Wife Get Half Of My Age 70 Rate?

Category: Spousal Benefits
Apr 22 2017 - 7:26am

I am 65 years old and am thinking of delaying my retirement benefit application until age 70. The benefit estimate for me is f $2715.00 at FRA and $3584.00 at age 70.
My wife collects retirement benefits on her own record. She started benefits at her FRA. and collects $1556.20 ( before Medicare premium deductions).
Will my wife benefit, when I start collecting at age 70 be calculated as: the higher of her then current benefit amount or 50% of $3584.00?

Hi,

No, regardless of when you file, your wife would be entitled to the higher of 50% . . . Read More

Which Estimate Is Correct?

Category: Non-Covered Pension - WEP / GPO
Apr 21 2017 - 8:19am

I am 64 years of age and am a federal csrsoffset employee with 23 years of service . I contacted social security and have gotten three different estimates regarding my benefits when I apply for them at the end of 2017. I am trying to get my monthly earnings from both sources as to know what my budget would be. Social security estimates received are $811.00 and $ 1109.00 And one for $1229.00 and a printout saying 87% of earnings , I font know which estimate to believe . thanks for any or a correct input.

Hi,

I don't have enough information to properly . . . Read More

How Can We Prove Whether Or Not My Husband Was Overpaid?

Category: Social Security Overpayments
Apr 21 2017 - 8:00am

In 1989, my husband's father was terminally ill. they requested survivor benefits for my husband for he was 14YO. It was granted, but then, it was rescinded after his father passed and his parents were divorced. His mom was told that the payments to the son had to be returned and she did nothing. We are now close to turning 45 and wondering if any of the payments that are supposedly owed back to the SSA will deduce his future earnings when we retire. i am just as confused as to the whole story since his mother never took care of it when he was a minor or perhaps his father's . . . Read More

When Will I Get My First Payment?

Category: Payment Dates
Apr 21 2017 - 7:48am

I just applied for SS Benefits. My Birthday is April 25. Will my first month of eligibility be April and I will get my first check in May, or is my first month of eligibility be May and I will get my first check in June?

Hi,

That depends on your age and month of entitlement, as well as the type of benefit for which you applied. If you turn 62 on April 25, your earliest possible month of entitlement to retirement or spousal benefits would be May, and you would get your first payment in June. You must be 62 for a full month in order to be eligible for . . . Read More

When Should I Start Drawing Widow's Benefits?

Category: Widow's Benefits
Apr 21 2017 - 7:26am

My husband died 5 years ago and was on Disability for about 3 years prior to his death. He worked from age 16 - 58 (when he died), I worked for 27 years of our married life. Neither of us made a lot of money, just a normal middle class family.

I will be turning 60 this year and had planned to apply for my Widow's benefit to supplement my income of approx. $24,000 per year. At the time of his passing, a SS rep told me I could expect to receive the amount, or close to it, of what my husband received on disability ($1.981 per mo). I'm so lost among all this confusion...any . . . Read More

Does It Sound Like We're Getting The Correct Amount?

Category: Family Benefit Maximum
Apr 21 2017 - 7:05am

I have been receiving social security since retiring at 65 & 9 moths in 20144(full retire was 66). My disabled adult child who was on SSI since 18 started getting SSDI when I retired. My wife who is now 62 was getting in child care. We were subject to the family max. My full PIA is 2480 with the reduced amt of 2280. My wife and daughter each got $934 for a family total of $4148. We also have a grandchild who we have custody of & care for in our household. Her mom is the disabled adult child and the father is unknown. Recently my wife applied for benefits @ 62 and we . . . Read More

How Are Social Security Benefits Calculated?

Category: Retirement Benefits
Apr 20 2017 - 8:09am

How is the SS benefit calculated if a person starts to draw it at 70 and if he worked full time from the age of 66 to 70, but did not take SS benefits, while he and his employer continued to make SS and Medicaid contributions??

Hi,

Social Security retirement benefits are calculated based on a person's highest 35 years of wage-indexed earnings. For more detailed information, refer to this Social Security publication: https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10070.pdf.

There is no age limit for . . . Read More

When Should I File My Application?

Category: Filing Options
Apr 20 2017 - 8:04am

Larry,
My wife is 69 and is collecting her SS. I will be 66 this July. I am still working full time and will continue to work until at least 68. I plan to file a restricted application for spousal benefits only as discussed in your book. Should I wait until my 66th birthday before I file the restricted application for my spousal benefits? I do not want SS to deem that I am filing for my SS benefits.

Hi,

You can apply up to 4 months prior to the month you will reach age 66. You don't need to file that far in advance, but that's the soonest you . . . Read More

Which Month Should I Claim Benefits?

Category: Filing Strategies
Apr 20 2017 - 7:43am

Hi Larry/Jerry,
I turned 69 April 18, 2017. I started drawing spousal benefits (restricted) when my wife turned 62 in August of 2014. The current plan is to start drawing my benefits in April of 2018 and for my wife to change to spousal benefits on my record in August of 2018. I have some questions: what month should we file for the new benefits and do the new benefits start as of the first of the months we turn 70 and 66 or the month after? Do we lose a month of benefits during the changeover? If I file before my 70th birthday, do I loose the whole 8% increase or is it . . . Read More

Is It True That I Can Collect Spousal Benefits At Age 66 And Let My Own Rate Grow Until Age 70?

Category: Filing Strategies
Apr 20 2017 - 7:34am

I just turned 66 years of age. My wife is already collecting social security having reached 66 years of age 2 years ago. I am still working and plan on not filing for my benefits until I am 70 years old to maximize my benefit amount.
I have been told that I can collect an amount that equals 50% of my wife's monthly benefit if I do not collect my own at this time and can do that until I file for my own benefits when I turn 70 years old. Is this true and if it is true will doing so change the amount I can collect at 70 years old?

Hi,

Yes, it's . . . Read More

Why Are My Full Checks Being Withheld?

Category: Earnings Test
Apr 20 2017 - 7:18am

I turned 62 in March of this year and applied for SS benefits. I am working and make $11 an hour @ 40 hours a week. I am told by SS that I will not receive a check until June because I make more than the $1410 a month that is allowed. My monthly benefit is $1293.00 yet they are holding 2 Checks and claim the overage will be paid in Jan 2018. Why can't they reduce my monthly benefit amount to cover the overage? How do they expect people to pay their monthly bills without their money??

Hi,

If you will earn more than $16,920 this year, Social Security . . . Read More

Can I Get Help For My Grandchildren?

Category: Child Benefits
Apr 20 2017 - 7:04am

Im raisiny 2 of my grand children,the boy is 11 and his mom and dad are both dead,neither ever worked,is there anyway i can get help for him,im retired and will be 67 in june,my granddaughter is 6,her mom is dead and her dad is in prison. Just wondering if i can get social security for either or both of them

Hi,

If you're drawing Social Security benefits on your own work record, it sounds like at least the 11 year-old may qualify for child's benefits on your record. Grandchildren can only qualify for child's benefits on a grandparent's record if both . . . Read More

Could I Get Divorced Spousal Benefits On My First Spouse If I Divorce Again?

Category: Divorced Spousal Benefits
Apr 19 2017 - 7:42am

I got a divorce from my first wife after thirty three years. She worked most of that time. I remarried two years later and have been married for almost 10 1/2 years. If I get a divorce from my second wife, can I collect social security from my first wife? I am sixty eight years old.

Thank you.

Hi,

Potentially, yes. Your first wife would have to be at least age 62 or drawing her benefits in order for you to be eligible for divorced spousal benefits on her record, though. And, if you are drawing your own benefits, you could only receive . . . Read More

Can I Work Part-Time And Still Get Disability Benefits?

Category: Disability Benefits
Apr 19 2017 - 7:33am

I am currently drawing $900.00+ for retirement and $1800.00 a month for disability from Social Security.
Can I have a part time job at $1100.00 a month as an independent contract to deliver newspapers for a couple of hours 5 days a week without losing my monthly disability payment?

Hi,

I'm not sure what type of retirement benefit you're referring to. If you're drawing Social Security disability benefits, you couldn't also be receiving Social Security retirement benefits. So, I assume that you are receiving Social Security disability benefits . . . Read More

Can I Receive Spousal Benefits?

Category: Filing Options
Apr 19 2017 - 7:13am

Social security personnel have given me conflicting answers, in person and on phone. My husband who turned 65, march, of 2017, will start receiving his S.S. retirement benefits in May of this year, 2017. I will turn 65 on June 29 of 2017. My retirement benefits at 65 will be $300.00 a month, as I have never been an employee of my husbands business and only worked part time prior to this. I would like to defer my s.s. benefits and receive i believe it is 45.8%of my husband at the beginning of birthday month of June 2017. i was told yes I could do this, then I was told no, you . . . Read More

What Month Should My Benefits Start?

Category: Widow's Benefits
Apr 19 2017 - 7:09am

Hey Larry, I just found out that I could apply for widow's benefits at the age of 60. I turned 60 in September, but I did not apply until February. Am I supposed to be paid from the date that I became eligible or the date that I applied?

Hi,

If you file for widow's benefits prior to full retirement age, you can't be paid for any month(s) prior to the month in which you apply for benefits.

Best, Jerry

Will My Earnings Prevent My Wife From Receiving Benefits?

Category: Earnings Test
Apr 19 2017 - 7:01am

Larry:

I just turned 62, but will continue working full time until I am 66 and 2 months. My annual W2 is about $200k. My wife is 62 1/2 and does not work. If she file for her benefits now, will my income be included for her earnings test recognizing we file joint married. So, can she keep her monthly check or does it get reduced based on my income?

thx

Ernie

Hi Ernie,

No, only your wife's own earnings would count toward the earnings test limit if she's receiving reduced retirement benefits ( . . . Read More

Can I Draw Spousal Benefits Until Age 70, Then Convert To My Own Benefit?

Category: Filing Strategies
Apr 19 2017 - 6:54am

My husband is taking his social security benefit at age 70. I am 67. May I draw spousal benefits until I reach age 70, then convert to my own benefit. My own benefit will be twice the spousal benefit. We Both have high earnings records. I was born in 1950; my husband was born in 1947.

Hi,

Yes, as soon as your husband starts drawing his benefits you can file a restricted application for spousal benefits only on his record, and allow your own benefit rate to grow until age 70. You still have this option because you were born prior to January 2 1954, . . . Read More

Can I Receive Spousal Benefits Before My Husband Files?

Category: Spousal Benefits
Apr 19 2017 - 6:45am

Both me and my husband will both be 63 this may 2017. I would like to know if I can received spouse benefits which are higher then my benedits, M y husband plans to collect at 70. Do i have to wait until his full retirement age of 66 collect on his benefits, or can I collect now under spousal benefits?

Hi,

You can't get spousal benefits until your husband starts drawing his benefits. You could file on your own record now or at age 66, and then file for an excess spousal benefit when your husband files. But, if you file for benefits before age 66, . . . Read More

Can I Draw Spousal Benefits While Receiving A Pension From My Employer?

Category: Non-Covered Pension - WEP / GPO
Apr 19 2017 - 6:24am

My employer opted out of social security many years ago for a pension plan that is invested in the stock market. I have worked there for 37 years. I am getting closer to retirement age (within next 10 years) and am not sure how to handle retirement. I lost a significant amount of money years ago and thusly do not have a large amount in my plan <$200,000.00. Can I draw the spouse's portion of social security and draw out quarterly or semi annual amounts from my pension if I roll it over into something. Or is there a certain age where I can have both? Thank you.

. . . Read More

What Is The Best Plan For Us?

Category: Filing Strategies
Apr 19 2017 - 6:14am

My wife is 65 and I am 64. She has advanced MS and is on SSID have been receiving a little over 9000/year for several years. She worked only part time while I had a good paying job by whole career - so I have a MUCH higher SSI benefit coming in the future (I have not initiated SSI yet). Our financial advisor says we should start SSI when I reach 67. Can my wife increase her SS benefit payments now by claiming half of my SSI - even though I have not initiated SSI payments yet? Also, she was married to an airline pilot previously who has maximum SSI payments coming. He is now age . . . Read More

Can I Collect On My Former Husband's Record?

Category: Divorced Spousal Benefits
Apr 18 2017 - 7:25am

I was born in Feb 1952. My former husband was born in July 1952. We were married for more than 10 years. He is still living. I have not applied for social security. Please know that my age 66 retirement benefit would be greater than the "half benefit" I would receive by collecting on my former husband. When I reach my full retirement age of 66 in Feb 2018, I would like to begin collecting on my former husband. Should I wait until my former husband reaches full retirement age in July 2018 rather than start collecting in Feb 2018? I would like to collect on my former husband from . . . Read More

Were Social Security Taxes Withheld From My Military Pay?

Category: Earnings Subject To Social Security Taxes
Apr 18 2017 - 7:07am

Hi; I am retired civilian from the Federal government. I am trying to obtain my 40 quarters for SS. I have 35 quarters according the SSA.GOV ,My SS Benefits. I was in the Nave reserve for 1 year and then served 20 months active duty from Feb 15,1968 to Oct 31, 1969. I don't recall if SS was deducted or if I have to repay it. in 1968 I earned $1409 and in 169 I earned $2284

thanx
Barry

PS I want be rid of Held Harmless!!

Hi Barry,

Active duty pay from the US military is subject to Social Security taxes, so your active duty . . . Read More

Will Food Stamps Affect My Chances Of Getting Disability?

Category: Disability Benefits
Apr 18 2017 - 7:03am

Hi Larry,
I am on food stamps, will food stamps affect my chances to get disability? Im concerned because my hearing is in two months.

Hi,

No, the fact that you receive food stamps will have no effect on whether or not you're claim for disability benefits is approved.

Best, Jerry

Can I Get Retroactive Benefits On My Ex-Husband's Record?

Category: Divorced Spousal Benefits
Apr 17 2017 - 5:26pm

Hi Larry,
about a week ago I found out I qualified to receive my ex-husbands benefit. I qualified for disability about 5 1/2 years ago. Can I get my ex -husbands benefit retried back to that date or back 2 years from age 60? Thank you so much. Karen

Hi Karen,

You don't state whether or not your ex-husband is living, so I can't properly answer your question. You can't get divorced spousal benefits on a living ex-spouse until you are at least age 62. However, it's possible to qualify for disabled surviving divorced spouse's benefits as early . . . Read More

Can I Get Benefits At Age 62 On My Ex-Spouse's Record?

Category: Divorced Spousal Benefits
Apr 17 2017 - 5:03pm

Hi. I have a question im trying to find an answe to maybe you can help and thank you in advance. I turn 62 in may ex spouse turns 60 also in may. I will be divorced 2 years end in dec 2017. Can i take early retirement at 62 based on spousal benefit and delay my full retirement til 66 and 2 months or should i just take early retirement on my own. I only work part time mininum wage. Im very confused about the divorce spouse benefit and help you can give would be much appreciated. Thank you. Kar

Hi Kar,

The soonest that you could be eligible for divorced . . . Read More

Will I Be Eligible For Any Benefits On My Deceased Wife's Record?

Category: Widow(er) Benefits
Apr 17 2017 - 6:59am

My wife just passed away. She was receiving permanent disability for near 17yrs at the time of her death. She was 59 and I am 55 working full time. I gross near six figures in income per year. Am I or will I be eligible for any of her benefits as long as I am working? Will I be eligible for any of her benefits after I retire, rather it be full age or early?

Hi,

I'm sorry for your loss.

You should qualify for a one-time death benefit of $255 right now. You can apply by calling 1-800-772-1213, or by contacting your nearest Social Security office . . . Read More

How Do I Find Out How Much I Can Receive As A Widow?

Category: Widow's Benefits
Apr 17 2017 - 6:23am

Hi Larry ,
Really like reading your column every day. I will be 60 in September and am a widow with in -care disabled child. Husband died in 2014 at 58 with cancer. Son receives social security of 1400 each month on my deceased husband record. I understand that I could qualify for reduced widows benefits based on my husband's primary insurance account. How do I find out what his primary insurance account amount is? I have worked and am qualified on my own record as well. This gives me some choices which can be costly if it's not done wisely. Any quidance you could give . . . Read More

Can I Receive Benefits On My Husband's Record?

Category: Spousal Benefits
Apr 16 2017 - 6:49am

Hello: I am 64 years of age, soon 65, born in 1952. I have been receiving SSDI for several years. I am legally separated and soon after qualifying my husband retired, now age 70, and collects his social security. He receives almost exactly twice as much as my SSDI. Wondering if I can receive more from him now and or at his death. I expect to out live him as I am in better health, younger and my disability is hearing loss, I am so confused and have received different answers after calls to Social Security Office. Thank you!

Hi,

You could only receive . . . Read More

When Can I Switch From Spousal Benefits To Retirement Benefits?

Category: Filing Strategies
Apr 16 2017 - 6:43am

Hi Larry,

I have a question regarding filing a "Restricted application for spousal benefits". My wife will turned 62 in May 2017 and I will be 66 in October 2017. My wife has filed for her retirement benefits. I plan on filing for a "Restricted" application for spousal benefits only 3 months before I turn 66. Can I then file for full retirement benefits at age 67 or 68, or do I have to wait until I am 70 before filing for full retirement benefits? Can my wife then file for supplemental spousal benefits at the age I retire, whether at 67 or 68?

Thank you.

. . . Read More

Am I Eligible For Benefits On My Deceased Husband's Record?

Category: Survivor Benefits
Apr 16 2017 - 6:30am

My husband died in 1993. I received survivors benefits for myself and 2 children under age 18. Six years after his death I remarried. The marriage only lasted 4 years. I was told by soc sec that I could no get my benfits back. Question #1 is this true, because have read a few things saying otherwise. Question #2 I am now 61 and want start receiving soc sec benefits, can I collect on my deceased husbands Soc sec? Thank you

Hi,

You would only qualify for child in care mother's benefits if you still have an eligible child in your care who is under age 16 . . . Read More

Can My Grandchildren Get Benefits On My Record?

Category: Child Benefits
Apr 16 2017 - 6:22am

I have read the statement, still confused, I am 63to on Medicare disabt. I am going to getguardianship ice my 3 grandsons. Their dad doesn't work, had carwreck with head injuries and they live with me. No mom in picture a drug addict. Can I get y from my as benefit. Yes or no simple answer please.

Hi,

If I understand your question correctly, you want to know if your grandchildren can get benefits on your Social Security record. I can't answer that with a yes or no without more information.

In order for a child to qualify for benefits on their . . . Read More

Can My Daughter Apply For Section 8 Housing Assistance?

Category: Section 8 And Medicaid
Apr 16 2017 - 6:17am

Social Security has found in my daughter's favor, and made her eligible for an SSI payment per month, and also awarded her a back payment of over $19,000 min. to $ 45,000 max. They seem to be confused as to the final amount at this time ! But that isn't our question. Which is : if she puts that money into a savings and checking account, will she still be able to apply for Section 8 Low Cost Housing help ? Thank you for your time.

Hi,

I'm sorry, but Social Security is my only area of expertise, so I am unable to answer your question.

Best, Jerry . . . Read More

When Can I Apply For Spousal Benefits Only?

Category: Spousal Benefits
Apr 16 2017 - 6:07am

I am eligible and understand the principles of Restricted Application for Social Security benefits. However, I need to confirm the exact month to file for those benefits either online or in person.

Do I need to wait until I actually obtain FRA (66 years, July 2017) to claim my spousal
benefits?

Or can I apply during the typically recommended 3 month window prior to FRA with the same result and not being defaulted into benefits based on my record ?

Can this all be done online or must I do it in person?

Hi,

You can apply . . . Read More

When Can My Wife Qualify For Benefits On My Record?

Category: Spousal Benefits
Apr 16 2017 - 5:40am

Age 76. Took SS at 62. Recently married my Mexican girlfriend (2/10/2017). We had been living together for 19 yrs.
before the nuptials. My SS is administered by the FBU at the US Embassy in Mexico City, and they are generally incompetent imo. They say that we must be married for at least one year for her to receive approx 90% of my SS when she turns 62, or at age 60 if a widow. I have a very aggressive form of Prostate Cancer, acc. to the VA Hospital in San Antonio, TX. I also receive about $1060. for service connected disability (60%). My prob. is that acc. to SS I must . . . Read More

Would My Spousal Benefits Be Subject To Withholding Under The Earnings Test?

Category: Earnings Test
Apr 15 2017 - 8:15am

Hi Larry --

I am 66 (don’t work) and my wife turns 62 in three months (she works). I know from past Q&As that if she applies for social security benefits when she turns 62 I can file a restricted application for a spousal benefit based on her work record and defer taking SS benefits on my own work record until I’m 70. If we do this, and my wife continues to work, will what she earns over the annual limit also reduce my spousal benefit even though I’m older than my full retirement age?

Thanks,
Dave

Hi Dave,

The answer to your . . . Read More

Do I Qualify For Any Benefits?

Category: Filing Strategies
Apr 15 2017 - 8:00am

my husband passed away last month at age 61 i am age 60 he was just put on disability but not social security before he passed away he was
earning around 67,000 per year i am making 41,000 per year but not i will all so be receiving his pension from work wish is 8604 year so do i still qualify for any other money i plan to retire at age 62 and than do i take my ss and wait to take his till im 70
thanks for your help

Hi,

I'm sorry for your loss.

Your best strategy is likely one of the following:
1) File for reduced widow's . . . Read More

How Would A State Retirement Benefit Affect My Brother's SSI?

Category: Supplemental Security Income
Apr 15 2017 - 7:30am

My brother has been in a nursing facility for over 15 years, prior to that he was employed by a state agency. He was recently notified that he was eligible for a retirement benefit from that state agency. If he take the retirement benefit how would this impact his SSI benefit. If he withdraws all of the funds out to pay for funeral/burial planning services how would this impact his SSI benefit.

Hi,

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a needs based program not funded by Social Security taxes (https://www.ssa.gov/ssi . . . Read More

If My Wife Takes Reduced Spousal Benefits, Would She Also Get A Reduced Widow's Benefit?

Category: Widow's Benefits
Apr 15 2017 - 7:00am

I have looked over the internet for this answer but to no avail. Say, I take social security at age 66 and my wife files for social security at age 62 on my benefit (I believe she will receive 37.5% of my benefit, 1/2 - a percent deduction for early filing). My question is; If I die will she receive my FRA, i.e. the amount I was receiving or a reduced amount of my FRA due to the fact she started taking hers on my benefit at age 62? Example: My FRA at 66 is $2000, at 62 she will receive $750. If I die before her will she receive a reduced amount of the $2000 or the $2000? Her . . . Read More

Did My Husband Forfeit Benefits By Not Filing Sooner?

Category: Retirement Benefits
Apr 14 2017 - 8:00am

My husband is age 74 still working and has not filed for social security benefits. He plans to file next month (May 2017). Will Social Security pay him back for the benefits since age 70 to May 2017? Did my husband forfeited his benefits from age 70 until April 2017 (the period he did not file for the benefits?
Thank you.

Hi,

Unfortunately, it sounds like your husband did forfeit benefits by not filing sooner. Social Security will pay benefits retroactively for no more than 6 months prior to the month in which your husband finally does file . . . Read More

Is It Still Possible To Pay Back Benefits Received And Start Over?

Category: Withdrawing a Benefit Application
Apr 14 2017 - 8:00am

A good friend told me started collecting benefits at 62, After he turned 67 he returned all the money he recieved and was able to start a new claim at the rate as if he just retired a 67? Is this still possible?

Hi,

You can no longer do what your friend did, but you can still withdraw a claim up to a year after becoming entitled and then reapply with a new entitlement date. In order to withdraw a claim, you must pay back all of the benefits that you received based on that claim.

Prior to 2010 it was possible to do what your friend mentioned, . . . Read More

Can My Wife Get Railroad Benefits From My Record And Her Social Security?

Category: Railroad Retirement & Social Security
Apr 14 2017 - 7:45am

Can my wife,who does not nor ever has worked for the railroad collect her social security along with my railroad pension ?

Hi,

Your wife could potentially receive both Social Security (SS) retirement benefits and Railroad (RR) spousal benefits, but her Tier 1 RR benefit would be offset by the amount of her SS benefit (https://www.rrb.gov/forms/opa/ib2/ib2_ann_components.asp).

Best, Jerry

What Kind Of Benefits Can I Receive?

Category: Divorced Spousal Benefits
Apr 14 2017 - 7:30am

I was born in 1959, my ex-husband of 19 years was born in 1955 and I don't know when he plans to start collecting his Social Security. My present husband was born in 1964 but is now on permanent disability and receives SSDI. I have been a mostly "stay at home wife and mother" so my benefits will be minimal. My ex-husband has worked consistently for most of his life paying into his SS, my present husband had not paid into his SS as much. Lastly, aside from SS my ex dropped out of the Navy after 17 years which we were married through that entire time. He also remarried. We had no . . . Read More

Can I Work And Continue To Receive Disabled Adult Child's Benefits?

Category: Disabled Adult Child Benefits
Apr 14 2017 - 7:30am

I've been disabled before i turned 16 years of age. I'm 45 years old now. I was wondering will i be able to work and still draw the social security from my dad.

Hi,

Generally, you can earn up to $1170 per month without losing your disabled adult child's benefits. For more information on working while disabled, refer to this Social Security publication: https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10095.pdf.

Best, Jerry

How Much Will My Wife Get?

Category: Spousal Benefits
Apr 14 2017 - 7:15am

I turn 70 in July 2017 and my wife turns 66 in May 2017. She will file and restrict her application for Spousal Benefits. Will her benefit be half of what I would have got at 66 if I filed or will it be based on the amount I get at 70.

Hi,

Your wife's spousal benefit will be 50% of your PIA, or primary insurance amount, which is essentially your full retirement age rate. Your PIA includes any adjustments for higher earnings you may have had since age 66, as well as cost of living increases. However, your wife will not receive a percentage of any . . . Read More

Could I Be Entitled To Any Other Benefits?

Category: Filing Options
Apr 13 2017 - 11:15am

I am drawing my late husbands disability and working . I am thinking about retiring and just drawing Johns disability . Is there any other benefits that I may inquire about. I am not very knowledgable on this . Any help would be appreciated. Thanks

Hi,

If you are already drawing widow's benefits, the only other likely possibility is retirement benefits on your own record. There wouldn't be any reason to file for retirement benefits unless the benefit amount would be higher than your widow's rate, though, since you could only receive the higher of the . . . Read More

Why Does Social Security Withdraw Direct Deposits From A Deceased Person's Bank Account?

Category: Miscellaneous
Apr 13 2017 - 10:45am

My Father -in-law recently passed away at age 90.

My wife and I researched the regulations about when his benefits stop. We learned that if someone who was receiving Social Security benefits dies ,the bank where the direct deposit was going, must return the benefit received for the month of death or any later months. However, the account is entitled to keep death benefits for the month the died.

He died April 1 so his March benefits were payable in April. We were very surprised to receive a letter from his bank that SS had taken back the money. We called SS any . . . Read More

Can I Start Drawing Any Benefits Now At Age 60?

Category: Spousal Benefits
Apr 13 2017 - 10:30am

My husband is 84 and I am 60. He has a pension and social security but his is reduced by his pension income ($564/month). I have lived in the US legally for 14 years and I am an American Citizen. My husband is disabled and I care for him so my social security benefit would be based on his benefit (I assume) since I am 1/4 short on my benefit after working part time for 8 years. I am eligible for Canadian social insurance and CPP at 65 in Canada. Is there any way to file early in the US for me since I am not able to work while caring for him. We have a reasonable income but I . . . Read More

When Is It Best To File For Benefits If You Are Widowed?

Category: Widow's Benefits
Apr 13 2017 - 10:15am

my husband passed away while still working at age 62 i am age 60 and also still working when is it best to start receiving benefits i plan on working till age 62

Hi,

I'm sorry for your loss.

I'm assuming that your husband didn't receive reduced retirement benefits prior to his death, since that could affect when you would want to file for widow's benefits. The Social Security earnings test (https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/whileworking2.html) could also affect your . . . Read More

Should I Give Up Delayed Retirement Credits By Taking A Lump Sum Instead?

Category: Delayed Retirement Credits
Apr 13 2017 - 10:00am

I'm 68+ and have "filed and suspended" since FRA at 66. I'm ready to start benefits. I am offered a lump sum of $ 66 K or start taking my higher benefit amount ($ 450 per month higher than my amount at age 66). I'm in good health. Is taking the lump sum or the higher monthly amount the better move? Any key criteria I can use to make the best choice?

Hi,

If you suspended your benefits prior to April 30 2016, you have the option to undo your decision by requesting to have your benefits reinstated retroactively. If you do so, Social Security will pay . . . Read More

Where Can I Find The Rules Explaining How Part Time Income Affects Disability Benefits?

Category: Disability Benefits
Apr 13 2017 - 9:45am

hi, I am on permanent disability in New Jersey. I need to aquire some sort of part time employment to supplement my disability check. Where would I find the rules and laws explaining how part time income works?

Hi,

The following Social Security pamphlet: https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10095.pdf is a good place to start. If you are receiving Social Security disability benefits (SSDI), you can normally earn up to $1170 per month (gross) without losing benefits.

Best, Jerry

Would Filing For SSDI Help?

Category: Disability Benefits
Apr 13 2017 - 9:45am

Last week my County insurance was severed because s.s.i. was $16 over the acceptable amount. Yesterday, my food stamps were cut from $168 to $16. Sometime last year my account went over $1200.
I had cancer surgery 11/24/16, take anti seizure, anxiety and depression meds. Is there any way signing up for S.S.D. I. could help? This is an impossible situation!

Hi,

I'm sorry to hear about all of the problems you are having.

In order to be eligible for Social Security disability benefits (SSDI), you must meet an insured status requirement ( . . . Read More

Will It Be A Problem That I Worked For A Short Time After Filing For Social Security?

Category: Disability Benefits
Apr 13 2017 - 9:15am

I have more than one question as this stuff is utterly confusing, especially if part of your disability involves issues with thinking but I'll try to make sense here. My first question is, although I was unemployed for over a year and a half before I attempted to try working again 2/17 to March 10th 2017 while waiting to hear back about my initial decision on my disability application 6/2016, will this screw me? 5 days after getting terminated from my job for asking for too many accommodations (but of course they blames the termination on some other factitious reason), I got a . . . Read More

What Is The Most That WEP Can Reduce My Benefit Amount?

Category: Non-Covered Pension - WEP / GPO
Apr 13 2017 - 7:45am

My WEP offset seems to be rising faster than my monthly SS benefit.
I am trying to decide to start taking benefits in 2017 or to wait until 2018.

Do you know the amount or where I can find the Maximum Monthly Amount my Benefit
May Be Reduced Because Of The Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) for 2018?
Thank you, Tom

Hi Tom,

The most that the WEP formula can reduce a person's benefit amount is by 50% of the first 'bend point' that applies for their year of birth. A person's benefit rate is calculated based on 1 to 3 . . . Read More

When Can I Get Benefits On My Deceased Ex-Husband's Record?

Category: Divorced Widow(er) Benefits
Apr 12 2017 - 8:00am

Hello, My ex-husband and I were married for 25 years when we divorced 5 years ago. He was on total disability due to illness and recently just passed away. I am not re-married, am 55 years old and work full time. What are my options with his disability benefits? Can I apply for them now or at a later date? Thank you for any guidance. Kathie

Hi Kathie,

Unless you become disabled, you can't get surviving divorced spousal benefits until you are at least age 60, and there is an earnings test that could limit the benefits you could receive until you reach . . . Read More

Can I Suspend My Retirement Benefits And Get Spousal Benefits Instead?

Category: Filing Options
Apr 12 2017 - 7:45am

I turned 63 in dec 2016, I filed to start recieving my own SS benifits when I turned 62, My husband just turned 69 in February and he started his benifits at 66. My ? is can I go back and suspend my benefits and collect spousal instead,the amount is very close to what I now get, and let my benefits acrue till I am 70 or is it too late. I just became aware that being born in 1953 I could have filed that way originally. Hope its not too late to change my mind. Thank You

Hi,

No, you can't suspend your benefits until you reach full retirement age (FRA), . . . Read More

Would Cashing Out My 401K Affect My Disability Benefits?

Category: Disability Benefits
Apr 12 2017 - 7:30am

I just turned 62 and I receive SSDI. I live in WV and I want to cash out my $33,000 401k. If I do this, will it affect my SSDI or mine or my 11 year old son's medicaid benefits.

Hi,

My only area of expertise is Social Security, not Medicaid. I can tell you that cashing out your 401K would have no impact on your Social Security disability benefits (SSDI). And, if your son receives child's benefits on your Social Security record, those benefits would not be affected either. You'll need to check with the agency that handles your son's Medicaid to find . . . Read More

What Should My Wife And I Do?

Category: Filing Strategies
Apr 12 2017 - 7:30am

Both by my wife and I are working. She is 67(full retirement age) and I am 68. She make more money then I do. She plans to retire at age 68. I will never retire (Artist). We have postponed Social Security Benefits. Should I (lower wage earner) fill for benefits and then suspend? Or wait another year and an half until I man 70? Should my wife wait until she is70 also to file?

Hi,

There wouldn't be any reason for you to file and suspend your benefits, since your wife couldn't receive a spousal benefit on your record while your benefits are in suspense . . . Read More

Can I Withdraw The Conversion From Disability To Retirement Benefits At FRA?

Category: Disability Benefits
Apr 12 2017 - 7:15am

I've read your book "Get What's Yours" and i have some questions on how to proceed. have been receiving Social Security Disability benefits for the past 6 years starting at age 60; I will be 66 in June. I went to my Social Security office to withdraw my Social Security benefit before my Disability benefit converts to the Social Security Retirement Benefit in June. So, I filed the form 521 to withdraw. I am doing this because I was married for over 10 years, and I want to start collecting spousal benefits on my ex-husband's work record while I let my own Social Security . . . Read More

What Is Our Best Strategy?

Category: Filing Strategies
Apr 12 2017 - 7:00am

Hello Larry, I was born 7/30/60 and my wife 8/16/73, so I am 13 years older than she is. Tama will have a reasonable SS income on her own, but mine will be larger. I imagine that I should wait until 70 to collect SS so that when I die Tama will collect more based on my income, but I am not certain how that works? No matter when I collect, should Tama start collecting a reduced amount at 62, when I am 75? Anyway, the question is, based on our ages, what is the optimal approach to collecting SS? Thanks so much! Joe

Hi Joe,

Yes, it would probably be best . . . Read More

Will My Benefit Amount Go Up Or Down When I Turn 62?

Category: Disability Benefits
Apr 11 2017 - 8:00am

I have been on disability since 2009,on may 9th I will turn 62, will my benefits go up or down?

Hi,

Neither. If you are receiving Social Security disability benefits (SSDI), your benefit rate won't change when you turn age 62. Barring a change in your status, you will continue to receive SSDI until you reach full retirement age. At that time, your disability benefits will convert to regular Social Security retirement benefits at the same monthly rate as your SSDI.

Best, Jerry

Should I FIle For My Benefits Now So That My Husband Can File For Spousal Benefits?

Category: Filing Strategies
Apr 11 2017 - 7:45am

I am 65 and my husband is 66. He will receive the maximum social security benefit when decides to file. My benefits at 66 will be $1120 per month which is less than half of what his will be. Is our best strategy for me to go ahead and file now instead of when I turn 66 later this year and have my husband do a restricted application and take a spousal benefit at the same time? Would he receive half of my full retirement benefit (50% of $1120) even though I file 6 months before turning 66? The biggest question is when he decides to drop the spousal benefit and take his full . . . Read More

How Can I Raise My Monthly Benefit Rate?

Category: Retirement Benefits
Apr 11 2017 - 7:15am

PLEASE HELP!!!!!!
I'm a hair stylist in my mid 60's and my social security is projected to be 1300 at 70. What can I do to get the payment as high as possible?
thanks,
Jackie

Hi Jackie,

There's really only two ways to increase your monthly retirement benefit rate:
1) Wait past full retirement age (FRA) to begin drawing your benefits; and,
2) Continue to earn as much annually as possible.

Social Security retirement benefits are based on an average of a person's highest 35 years of wage-indexed earnings ( . . . Read More

Does My Mother-In-Law Qualify For Survivor Benefits?

Category: Widow's Benefits
Apr 11 2017 - 7:15am

My Father in law recently passed away at age 86. He had Social Security Benefits beginning at his FRA. My mother in law is 60. Does she qualify for Survivors Benefits?

Hi,

Potentially, yes. Reduced widow's benefits can be paid as early as age 60, so your mother-in-law meets the minimum age requirement. For more information, refer to Social Security's website: https://www.ssa.gov/planners/survivors/survivorchartred.html. Also, there is an earnings test that could limit her . . . Read More

Do I Meet The Requirements For Widow's Benefits?

Category: Widow's Benefits
Apr 10 2017 - 6:15pm

I need some help to figure out if I am eligible for Widow's Benefits. We were married Aug.5, 1989 and divorced May 14, 1998 but got back together almost immediately. When he became ill, we remarried on June 19, 1999 believing he was getting better but then he passed away Jan 5, 2000. I am now 64 and have never remarried but Social Security has refused benefits based on the rule that we were not married for 9 months before his death. I know there is a 10 consecutive year rule that applies for divorced spousal benefits, but does that not also apply for people who remarried and . . . Read More

Is It Possible To Waive Social Security Benefits In A Court Order?

Category: Disability Benefits
Apr 10 2017 - 3:15pm

Hi, I'm a lawyer working on a child custody case. The mother is on SSDI, and we think it's possible her desire for custody stems from an attempt to increase her benefits somehow. We are wondering if it's possible to include in the settlement agreement or court order that the mother may not apply for additional benefits or has to waive part of the benefits she's already getting? I see that a court can't force you to assign your benefits to someone else, but I'm not sure if that covers our situation - we aren't trying to have the benefits go to someone else, we just want to keep . . . Read More

Am I Able To File For Widow's Benefits On My Ex-Husband's Record?

Category: Divorced Widow(er) Benefits
Apr 10 2017 - 2:45pm

My ex-husband just passed away. We were married 18 years before divorcing. I remarried, and he passed away after being married only 5 days. I will be 62 this year and disabled. Am I able to file for Widows benefits under my first husband? Should I also file for early retirement? I have worked all my life up until the last two years when I became disabled.

Hi,

Yes, it sounds like you would meet the requirements for surviving divorced spouse's benefits on the account of your ex-husband. However, your benefit rate will be reduced if you start drawing . . . Read More

When Would My Widow Be Eligible For My Full Benefit Rate?

Category: Widow's Benefits
Apr 10 2017 - 5:45am

I am 68 now and have suspended my benefit until age 70. My wife is 59 1/2. If I die after turning 70 (my wife will be 61 1/2), at what age can my wife start to collect my full SS Benefit (assuming I live until at least 70). She was a very low income earner. At her full retirement age, her SS benefit would be only about $ 213.00, that is the main reason I am waiting until age 70 to start collection my benefit (so she can get a larger check each month after I die). Secondly, how does her Widow Benefit enter into all of this?

Hi,

Your wife would need to . . . Read More

Do I Have To Wait A Year Before Becoming Eligible For Spousal Benefits?

Category: Spousal Benefits
Apr 10 2017 - 5:30am

If I receive social security on ex husband and then remarry, why are they making it a year wait and receive no income for a year, I don't understand the thinking on s.s part. Loosing that income for year a lot........

Hi,

Actually, there are exceptions to the 1 year marriage duration requirement for spousal benefit eligibility. One of those exceptions is prior entitlement to divorced spouse's benefits in the month prior to the month of remarriage. So, if you have been receiving divorced spousal benefits that terminated because you remarried, you . . . Read More

Can You Answer My Tax Question?

Category: Miscellaneous
Apr 10 2017 - 5:30am

I am 71 years old and I stopped working last August, 2016 but the Federal government, in completely the tax returns, wants me to pay $3,000 quarterly in 2017. Why, if I'm not working or collecting unemployment insurance?? I have not yet submitted my tax returns. Can you answer my question?

Hi,

No, I can't. Social Security is my only area of expertise.

Best, Jerry

How Does Social Security Calculate The WEP Guarantee Provision?

Category: Non-Covered Pension - WEP / GPO
Apr 9 2017 - 6:15am

How does Social Security calculate the WEP reduction based on no greater than 1/2 of the portion of the monthly pension that is attributed to the non-covered work time? I had to retire earlier than planned due to a cancer diagnosis. My non-covered time is just a fraction of my total time that is included in my pension and it is part-time work (less than 1/2 time). It is calculated as a portion of my pension by the state agency that issued the pension at 13.5% non-covered. However, SSA reduced my pension by more than 50%. I filed an appeal immediately back in January and they . . . Read More

Can My Wife Draw Spousal Benefits At FRA And Let Her Own Benefit Rate Grow Until Age 70?

Category: Spousal Benefits
Apr 9 2017 - 5:45am

Dear Larry,

My wife, Leslie, and I have an appointment with Social Security on April 28 to apply for her spousal benefit based on my work record. She will be 66 this month, so she was 62 before 4/2/16. I am 68 and successfully filed and suspended my own SS benefit before 4/28/16. Both Leslie and I intend to defer our own SS benefits until we reach age 70. According to your book, Get What's Yours, she should qualify for spousal benefits under the "grandfather" provisions of the 2015 revisions to the SS law, until she collects her own SS benefits at age 70.

Can . . . Read More

Can I Get More If I File For Retirement Benefits?

Category: Filing Options
Apr 8 2017 - 8:30am

I'm 63 Years old and receiving SSI of $1680.00 per month it is very difficuly to live on this, can I apply for Retirement benefits? And much more will I be able to receive? I'm not able to work due to I need a kidney transplant.

Hi,

I'm sorry to hear about your health problems.

You don't specify what type of benefits that you currently are receiving, so I'm not sure how to answer your question. If you are already receiving Social Security disability (SSDI) benefits, you could not get higher benefits by filing for Social Security retirement . . . Read More

Can I File For Widow's Benefits At Age 62 And Then Collect Full Retirement Benefits At FRA?

Category: Filing Strategies
Apr 8 2017 - 8:15am

I'm planning to retire at age 62 when I'm eligible for the rule of 90 to collect my pension. Can I begin to collect my deceased husband's SS benefits at 62 and then collect my full SS benefits at FRA? My husband was 53 when he passed away. I have not remarried. My SS benefits will be higher than his. Thank you!

Hi,

Potentially, yes. You can even start reduced widow's benefits as early as age 60 if your earnings permit (https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/whileworking2.html).

. . . Read More

When Can My Husband Qualify For Spousal Benefits On My Record?

Category: Spousal Benefits
Apr 8 2017 - 8:15am

Hi Larry- I am 52 and my husband is 60. This is the second marriage for both of us. I expect to draw a decent social security check sometime in the next 10-15 years , but my husband has never paid much into social security. We have been married 7 years. Can he collect on my record? When would he be eligible? He is divorced from his first wife and she is remarried. She is 50. We tried to open an account on the social security website and they could not even find him! He is a naturalized citizen with a social security number.

Hi,

You must be receiving . . . Read More

Will My Wife's Child In Care Spousal Benefits Be Subject To The Earnings Test?

Category: Earnings Test
Apr 8 2017 - 8:00am

I am 62 and will begin taking retirement benefits this year. I have a 14 year old daughter and my wife is 60. Both will be able to begin receiving benefits on my record. The earnings test is not an issue for me (or my daughter) but my wife will continue to work . Will my wife be subject to the earnings test while receiving her child in care benefit (i.e. for 2 years until my daughter turns 16)? If so, and my wife loses some of her benefit, might my daughter's benefit increase if we were being limited by the Family Maximum Benefit? If my wife were to have her benefit reduced by . . . Read More

Can My Grandchild Get Benefits On His Deceased Grandfather's Record?

Category: Child Benefits
Apr 8 2017 - 7:45am

I currently receive widowers/survivors benefit. I have started the process to adopt my 3 1/2 yr old grandson. I called 800# social security & was told Maysen would be eligible for benefits & to go to my local social security office for assistance. When I inquired the agent got very upset & stated that their office will not pay out benefits because my husband is deceased & not alive to adopt him. What is the right answer?

Hi,

If you adopt your grandson, he may qualify for child's benefits on his deceased grandfather's record if the . . . Read More

Can I Get Benefits Right Away If I Stop Working?

Category: Disability Benefits
Apr 7 2017 - 6:45am

Sir
last few years have health issues inconsistent to work briefly mentioning my health issue. In 2011 I got multiple strokes and hospitalized for while in that duration received SSA disability benefits till April 2014 after that joined in work till sept 2106.
Now I am decided to take retirement my present age is 59 years.
if I take retirement now will benefits right away?
Please advise
Thanks
Alex

Hi Alex,

You can't qualify for Social Security retirement benefits until you are at least age 62. However, you . . . Read More

Is There Anything Else I Can Do?

Category: Self-Employment Earnings
Apr 7 2017 - 6:15am

Hi Larry, My brother became disabled at 40 yrs. old due to a brain tumor. He was immediately declared disabled and began receiving benefits but not the SSDI part because we were told he didn't have enough earnings credits. He had become self employed in last few years, not working much due to the symptoms he was having. We had a hearing with a law judge who told me to check on his tax returns, make sure he had filed every year, make amendments, etc. I did all the above based on the files and information I could find and my brothers memory. I ended up having to amend 2012 return . . . Read More

When Can I Qualify For Widower's Benefits?

Category: Survivor Benefits
Apr 7 2017 - 6:00am

My wife passed about 7 years ago from Cancer and my daughter and I started getting Social Security Survivors benefits at that time. I am working and make to much to qualify but my daughter is receiving the monthly benefit until she's 18 I believe. I actually switched careers this last summer and while I wasn't working qualified for spousal survivor benefits and was paid for a few months until I found work. I am under the understanding that I will be eligible for these benefits until my daughters 16 and then if I am still unmarried I will still qualify for these benefits at a . . . Read More

Was I Given The Wrong Information By Social Security?

Category: Filing Options
Apr 7 2017 - 5:45am

Did I get the correct information from the local Social Security Office?

I was on social security disability from Sept. 2011 to June 2016 when I turned age 66. I receive $789.00 per month before taking out the Medicare payment . April 2016 I called my local social security office to ask if I would be able to suspend my SS benefit in June, 2016 at age 66 and file for half my husbands benefit and delay my SS payment until I turned 70. I was told no that it automatically converted to my full SS benefit payment at 66. My husband started receiving his SS benefit at age 62 . . . Read More

Why Can't I Get Spousal Benefits?

Category: Non-Covered Pension - WEP / GPO
Apr 7 2017 - 5:30am

I do not have 40 quarters (and retired on WEP) so i applied on my husband. i am over 67 and so is my husband and he is drawing $380+- with WEP. I was told my check would be under $100 a month and therefore they did not have to pay me . ??? not that i had not met the other requirements.

Hi,

I'm not sure that I understand your question, but it sounds like you are receiving a pension based on work where you did not pay Social Security taxes. If your non-covered pension is from a federal, state or local government agency in the U.S., you would be subject . . . Read More

Am I Entitled To My Late Husband's Social Security?

Category: Widow's Benefits
Apr 6 2017 - 6:00am

Hi, I was married 25 years when my husband unexpectedly passed. I was a stay at home momma raising 3 children. My SS will be very little at the time I'm able to collect it. My question am I entiteled to my late husbands SS? What about if I were to marry again one day, then would I be entitled ?
Thank you for your help
Missy

Hi Missy,

I'm sorry for your loss.

You could become eligible for widow's benefits as early as age 60, or even at age 50 if you're disabled. Unless you're disabled, your best filing strategy is likely one of . . . Read More

Which Information Is Correct?

Category: Filing Strategies
Apr 6 2017 - 5:45am

I am 67 and started collecting last year. My wife will be 66 in July and will start collecting. We were told by SS that she can collect half of mine and defer taking hers until she is 70. We were told that this applies to anyone born before 1953. SS is now telling us that this is false.

Hi,

What you were initially told is correct, except that this option applies to people born prior to January 2 1954, rather than 1953 (https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/deemedfaq.html). Filing for . . . Read More

Can My Wife File For Reduced Retirement Benefits At Age 62 And Get A Full 50% Of My Benefit At FRA?

Category: Filing Strategies
Apr 5 2017 - 8:00am

My birth date is Aug 7,1949 and my wife's birth date is Jan 3, 1958. I was on SS Disability as I turned 66. As my benefit was changing from disability to regular SS at age 66, I suspended it, waiting until I reach 70 to resume benefits.
My question is can my wife start collecting her SS at age 62 (which is a very small amount) and then at her full retirement age of 66 yrs and 8 Months change over to Spousal Benefits and collect 50% of my SS. I have both of your SS books, the first one and the revised one but still can not figure this out. THANKS

Hi, . . . Read More

Have My Wife And I Been Underpaid?

Category: Filing Options
Apr 5 2017 - 7:15am

My wife and I are 77 and 78, respectively. We believe we have been underpaid for over 12 years. We both individually qualify for SS benefits. This is all historical and I have everything (?) in an Excel spreadsheet that I would be more than willing to share with you or one of your associates. In 2002, my wife filed and began receiving reduced benefits on her account. Her full retirement benefits would have been available in October 2005 (65+6 mos). I did not apply for any benefits on her account or mine until my full retirement date which was August 2004. On multiple occasions . . . Read More

Would Applying For Medicare Prevent My Wife From Later Filing A Restricted Application For Spousal Benefits Only?

Category: Medicare
Apr 5 2017 - 7:00am

My wife is turning 65 in April, 2017. She is still working for an employer with over 20 employees, is covered by a good group health plan, but figures she should sign up for the free Medicare Part A coverage, obviously under her own account.

A year from now, at age 66, she wishes to file for social security benefits, but wishes to restrict her application to spousal benefits under my account (just a couple of dollars less than they would be under her own account), but in so doing let her account continue to grow to age 70 at which point she would switch over to her own . . . Read More

How Will Our Benefits Be Affected By By Non-Covered State Pension?

Category: Non-Covered Pension - WEP / GPO
Apr 5 2017 - 6:30am

Larry,
I am a state employee in a non social security state and also work part time in the private sector. In a couple of years when I retire, my social security earnings will exceed 30 years with about 15 years of substantial earnings. How will this affect my social security benefit? My wifes social when she retires will be greater than mine as she will have 30+ years of substantial SS earnings. Will her SS be reduced after my death when she receives my survivor benefit (2/3 of my pension)?
Thank you

Hi,

If you receive a government . . . Read More

Will My Medicare Premiums Be Automatically Deducted From My Benefits?

Category: Medicare
Apr 4 2017 - 3:00pm

I will soon turn 66 and plan to file a restricted application for benefits on my 74 year old husband's work record. Will my Medicare premium be automatically deducted from the social security check, or will Medicare send me premium bills? With regard to paying Medicare premium bills, what is the safest method--personal check, money order, credit card, on-line bill pay through my bank, or having Medicare deduct the premium electronically from my checking account? Which is the best way to ensure that the payment is likely to be received and recorded timely?

Hi . . . Read More

Can My Wife Collect Spousal Benefits At Full Retirement Age?

Category: Spousal Benefits
Apr 4 2017 - 7:00am

I was on ssdi until I reached fra in Nov 2016 now on ssi of 2350 so I can't suspend without paying my ssdi back. My spouse is on ssdi recieving 850 and will reach fra in nov 2020. When reaching fra can my spouse colect spousal off my record.

Hi,

Yes, if 50% of your full retirement age rate (PIA) is higher than her disability rate, your wife could be eligible for additional spousal benefits on your record. She could start drawing the spousal benefits as early as age 62, but her benefit rate would be reduced if she did so. If she waits until full . . . Read More

Can My Mother Receive Benefits On My Father's Record?

Category: Divorced Widow(er) Benefits
Apr 4 2017 - 6:45am

My mother is 81 years old, lives in Queens NY, married my father in Freeport NY 1961. My parents separated approximately in 1992, my father moved to Hamlet NC. My parents officially divorced in 2004. My father remarried in 2006. While still married to his 2nd wife my father passed away on February 29th 2016. Can my mother, his ex wife collect my father's SS since they were married for so many years? My mother his 1st wife began collecting SS when she was 65.

Hi,

Potentially, yes. The fact that another spouse is already drawing widow's benefits on . . . Read More

Will My Bonus Count Toward The Social Security Earnings Test?

Category: Earnings Test
Apr 4 2017 - 6:45am

I was "retired" by my company in March, 2016, at age 65. I had planned on starting social security in May, 2017, at my FRA of 66. I have no earned income from employment since March, 2016, although have had distribution from an IRA. In February, 2017, I received a check from my previous employer for a bonus based off my time with the company in 2016. They withheld Federal, State, and Social Security taxes from the check. Since I am no longer employed by this company, will this amount from my previous employer received in 2017 count toward the Earnings Test for 2017? And thanks . . . Read More

Will My Wife's Widow's Benefits Be Reduced If She Takes Her Own Benefits Early?

Category: Widows Benefits
Apr 4 2017 - 6:30am

I turn 66 this September. At that time, I will be elibible for full retirement benefits. My wife is 4 years younger. She turns 62 in October. With my earnings record, I will receive close to the maximum benefit. My wife, on the other hand stayed at home to raise our children and did not work full time. She would qualify for marginal benefits ( I think they are around $100.00/ month at full retirement age), so she basically has no benefits of note. If she starts collecting spouse benefits at 62, and I were to die in 4 years after she has reached full retirement age would her . . . Read More

Is There A Time You Should Avoid Filing?

Category: Retirement Benefits
Apr 4 2017 - 6:15am

Aloha. I am trying to help a family member who was born in 1951 and so (I think!) he qualifies for Social Security benefits when he turns 66 in August. He said that he is concerned about applying during a “rat hole” - a relatively short period of time after one qualifies during which benefits are calculated at a lower value. Do you understand the term, and is there any reason that he should not just file on schedule in August? Any clarification would be greatly appreciated!

Hi,

I'm have no idea what your family member is referring to. He would be . . . Read More

Can My Husband Receive Spousal Benefits Before I File For My Benefits?

Category: Spousal Benefits
Apr 4 2017 - 6:15am

My husband is 2 years older than me. He began drawing his Social Security at age 62. When he reaches age 65, can he draw Spousal Benefits from my social security (as it will be $500/month more than his) until I begin drawing Social Security (I plan to retire at age 65 and 4 months)?

Hi,

No, your husband can't receive spousal benefits until you start drawing your benefits.

Best, Jerry

Can I File For Reduced Retirement Benefits Now, And Get Unreduced Spousal Benefits Later?

Category: Filing Strategies
Apr 3 2017 - 2:45pm

I am 64, my birthday is 3/3/53. My husband is 64. His birthday is 7/27/52. He will retire on his full retirement age in 2018. My ss retirement benefit right now is $710 a month. At my full retirement age it will be $814. At age 70 it will be $1,075. My husband 's ss retirement benefit at full retirement age will be $2,722. Can I file a restricted application for my benefit now, and then get a spousal benefit when I reach full retirement age in 2019, even though my husband will start receiving his benefit 8 months earlier?
Thank you

Hi,

You . . . Read More

Can I File & Suspend My Benefit And Still Get Spousal Benefits?

Category: Filing Strategies
Apr 3 2017 - 2:30pm

Can my husband collect on his primary and get the difference from mine which is higher.
I deferred &suspended until 70. So now that he collected on his primary can I get half of his till i reach 70 then apply for mine a much higher benefit

Hi,

If I understand your question correctly, the answer is no. The only way that your husband could be eligible for a spousal benefit on your record is if you file on your own record. And, the only way that he could receive spousal benefits while your benefits are suspense is if you suspended your . . . Read More

When Can My Wife Start Getting Spousal Benefits?

Category: Spousal Benefits
Apr 3 2017 - 8:00am

I am currently on SSDI and will be 62 at the end of this year, my wife will be 61 in July, when can she apply and what percentage would she receive.

Hi,

Your wife could be eligible for spousal benefits as early as age 62, or possibly even earlier if she has a child in her care who is eligible for benefits on your record (https://www.ssa.gov/planners/disability/dfamily2.html).

Unreduced spousal benefits are paid at a rate of 50% of the worker's primary insurance amount (PIA . . . Read More

Can I Get Additional Benefits When I Turn Age 62?

Category: Disability Benefits
Apr 3 2017 - 7:45am

Hi, I started getting disability in 2010. My husband died, then I got Widow's Benefits. Now, I just turned 62 years old. I have not worked since age 33. However, prior to age 33 I did work 13 years. My question is this: Since I am getting Widow's Benefits can I get extra money now that I turned age 62? Thank you, Stormy

Hi Stormy,

I'm sorry for your loss.

If you're already receiving Social Security disability (SSDI) benefits, you would almost certainly not be due any additional benefits. SSDI is basically just the equivalent your full . . . Read More

Can Social Security Stop My Disability Benefits Even If I Earn Less Than $1170 Monthly?

Category: Disability Benefits
Apr 2 2017 - 6:45am

Larry, I have been on permanent SS disability since 2010, and didn't work anywhere. I got tired of sitting at home so I decided to go to college. I graduated with an associates degree in nursing thinking I might be able to perform this job (I worked 30 years in heavy industrial work and figured a nursing job HAD to be less physically demanding). After 10 months (my 9-month trial period and 1 month into the additional 3 months your given) I could no longer hold up to full-time work so I went part-time. Two months ago SS tells me I'm ineligible anymore because I'm making too much . . . Read More

Am I Able To Get Divorced Spouse's Benefits?

Category: Divorced Spousal Benefits
Apr 2 2017 - 6:30am

I was married 3 times. 1st marriage for 4 years, 2nd marriage for 24 years, and 3rd marriage for 8.5 months. I am not married, 61 years old, thinking about getting Social Security at 62. Am I able to get divorced spouse benefits from 2nd husband, if that amount should be more than mine? Thank you very much! Am reading your book, and still a tad confused! Mary ps should I change my last name back to my 2nd husbands to make it easier for SS?

Hi,

Yes, since your marriage to your second husband lasted more than 10 years, you can potentially qualify for . . . Read More

Can I Qualify For Spousal Benefits?

Category: Spousal Benefits
Apr 2 2017 - 6:30am

I had to sign up for my retirement this past aug1 @ 62 yrs of age. My husband had to come out of work two yrs ago on disability. We have two eleven yr old boy`s whom we adopted. They get to draw off my husbands disability. I ask if I could not draw off my husband`s work record. They said no, because I had enough credits off my own. But it is not much and wanted to make sure I could not draw from his record. thank you

Hi,

You could only receive additional spousal benefits from your husband's record if 50% of his disability rate (PIA) is higher than . . . Read More

When Can I Get Widow's Benefits?

Category: Widow's Benefits
Apr 2 2017 - 6:15am

I was widowed at 32 I'm now 50 my husband would be 62. I work and earn 36K a year, and manage I was encouraged to ask if I would qualify for any of my husbands benefits to help me along. Or must I wait until I'm of retirement age myself

Thank you,

Hi,

The earliest that you could qualify for widow's benefits is at age 60, although benefits can be paid as early as age 50 in some cases if the widow is disabled.

Your best strategy is likely one of the following:
1) File for reduced widow's benefits at age 60, then switch to your own . . . Read More

Why Can The State Tap Into My SS Money?

Category: Disability Benefits
Apr 2 2017 - 6:00am

I hope I will here back from you on this question.
I got pneumonia three years ago now an ended up w many health issues which took me out of work and school.
I receive SSDI and SSI, the two payments together don't equal much but it is my SSI 10 dollar payment I don't understand.
I feel that one gets this just so the state can stay in your affairs or so that they can tap into the little bit of money one receives. I don't know perhaps it has to do with ones medical?
All I know is when I call SS with a question they direct me to the state I live in and . . . Read More

Can My Husband Work Part Time And Still Get Benefits?

Category: Earnings Test
Apr 2 2017 - 5:45am

Hi! My husband is 62 and pretty much disabled but has been turned down for SSI Disability. He is also on Medicaid as he has severe COPD and Thyroid issues. His Medicaid expires 10/17 and may or may not be renewed. He will start collecting regular Social Security of $1054. in May of this year. My question is: he still works 1 day a week. We need to keep the insurance and cannot afford premiums. Can he continue to work 1 day ($120/Day/Gross), get his SS payment and still have Medicaid or does he have to quit his job to maintain a lower income. I am 70 and on SS also but barely . . . Read More

Which Month Should I Choose To Start Benefits?

Category: Filing Options
Apr 1 2017 - 8:45am

I turned 66 in March 2017. When I was filling out the on-line application, I was asked if to start benefit on 3/1/2017. Do I make the application effective March or April?

Hi,

If you want benefits to begin effective with your full retirement age you should choose March, unless you happen to have been born on March 1st, in which case you would choose February.

You may want to consider running the maximization software available on this website first, though. You may have better filing options available to you.

Best, Jerry

Did Social Security Give Me Correct Information?

Category: Suspending Retirement Benefits
Apr 1 2017 - 7:30am

I have been receiving social security disability payments since September 2012. I will be turning age 66 FRA on June 1st, 2017 (DOB June 1,1951). I went to local SSA office to inquire about "voluntary suspension" of my benefits starting June 1st, 2017 when the my SS benefits become regular social security payments.
I was told I could not suspend my benefits and will have to continue taking my benefits. Was I given correct information? I thought once you reach FRA you can voluntary suspend your benefits to age 70.
Thank You

Hi,

No, it . . . Read More

What Happens Later If My Wife Gets Disability Benefits Now?

Category: Disability Benefits
Apr 1 2017 - 7:00am

I am 63, my wife 57. I am still working full time and plan to do so for the time being. My wife, who is blind since birth, has worked some all her life (very part time, but consistently), and has achieved enough credits to qualify for Social Security, though the benefits, at any age, will be quite low. Due to minor arthritis kicking in even the little she works has become difficult, and of course the usual things that make it hard for the blind to be employed are ever present: employer prejudice, transportation to and from work, etc. As I understand it, SSDI has a special set . . . Read More

Can I Collect Disabled Widow's Benefits If I'm Remarried?

Category: Disabled Widow(er) Benefits
Apr 1 2017 - 7:00am

My first husband passed away in 1994 when I was 33. I am now 55 and have been on disability for 3 years even though I'm remarried can I collect on my first husband's benefits

Hi,

No, unless you remarried after age 50 and after you became disabled (https://www.ssa.gov/OP_Home/handbook/handbook.04/handbook-0406.html).

Best, Jerry

Do I Have A 6 Month Retroactivity Option When Switching From Widow's Benefits To My Own Record?

Category: Filing Options
Apr 1 2017 - 6:45am

Do I have the 6 month retroactive payment option when switching from a widows benefit to my own benefit at age 70.

Hi,

If you are nearing age 70 and you apply for retirement benefits on your own record, you have the option to claim benefits up to 6 retroactively. However, you can't receive both your full widow's benefits and your retirement benefits for the same month. So, assuming that your retirement rate is higher than the widow's rate you currently receive, if you claim 6 months of retroactivity, Social Security would only pay you the difference . . . Read More

Why Weren't My Wife's Benefits Started Effective With January?

Category: Filing Options
Apr 1 2017 - 6:30am

My spouse was 68 in March 2016. As per our plan using your program, she applied for her retirement benefit on January 24, 2017. By letter from SSA dated February 1, 2017, she was advised her monthly benefit was raised to her current monthly beginning January 2017. We then received a letter dated 5 days later from SSA indicating the monthly benefit would begin for February 2017, to be received in March. She called SSA to find out why she was not paid a benefit for January. The only explanation they provided was that she was 68 and if her benefit started in January, payable in . . . Read More

What Do My Wife And I Need To Do When We Turn 70?

Category: Filing For Benefits
Apr 1 2017 - 6:30am

My wife & I are almost the same age - now 69. In February of 2018 we both turn 70. In 2014, my wife did a File & Suspend procedure and then I filed for a restricted spousal benefit. Thank you for your software which alerted us to this strategy. So later this year, when I file for benefits in my own name and my wife unsuspends her benefits to begin in February 2018, can we do this process online, or must we go in person to the Social Security Office? Are there any gotchas or pitfalls we should look out for?

Hi,

Your wife's benefits should . . . Read More

Can I Re-Apply If I Think My Benefit Was Miscalculated?

Category: Retirement Benefits
Apr 1 2017 - 6:15am

If I am already collecting soc sec, and I think it was calculated wrong , can I reapply to maximize my benefit?

Hi,

You can't re-apply for the same type of benefit, but you could ask for a recomputation of your benefit rate. You'll need to submit a written request to Social Security explaining why you believe that a higher rate is due. Or, if you're still within the 60 day appeal period since your claim was processed, you can request an appeal (https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10041.pdf).

. . . Read More

Should My Wife File A Restricted Application For Spousal Benefits Only?

Category: Filing Strategies
Mar 31 2017 - 10:45am

Larry....Help.....I turned 70 years old (July 2016) filed for and began collecting my social security in August 2016. My wife turned 66 in February 2017(last month) born in 1951. Can and should she file a "restricted spousal benefit" application now and draw 50% of my monthly benefit now and then wait till she is 70 to file for her full benefit ? Or is there a better strategy for us to use to maximize our benefits ?? We are not retiring, we both work full-time at least for 2-4 more years. Thanks, we are patiently awaiting your advice. We have your book "Get What's Yours" and . . . Read More

Will I Be Penalized For Taking Benefits Before Full Retirement Age?

Category: Retirement Benefits
Mar 31 2017 - 10:30am

I am planning on taking my social security benefit in August of this year, I will turn 65. I am currently working part time. My social security benefit is estimated at around 1,403 a month. My earnings for last year were 22,645.08. Will I be penalized for working and claiming benefits before full retirement age? I can't afford to lose income , my social security will be my only income. I am married and my husband works. Also, how long does it take to get benefits once you apply? I read that you can make up to 16,940.00 before you are penalized.

Hi,

If . . . Read More

What Income Counts Toward The Social Security Earnings Test?

Category: Earnings Test
Mar 31 2017 - 10:00am

Dear Larry, I will be 62 this October 2017. I have a daughter who will be 6 years old this October. Studying my SS report and conferring with someone at SS, I drafted a comparison of payments that shows me starting my SS benefits at 62 (and 2 months, they tell me) which also triggers a payment equal to 50%-of-that sum to my daughter. To make is simpler, starting in January 2018, I would be getting $16,320/year; and my daughter would be getting $8160/year up until she turns 18. I compared the total amounts for us if I start at 62; 66; or 70 and it really is more for us if I look . . . Read More

Do We Qualify For More Benefits?

Category: Retirement Benefits
Mar 31 2017 - 10:00am

I retired mid Dec 2015 and turned 65 the end of March 2016. I started receiving SS in April 2016. My husband is 11 years older and has been receiving SS for a long while. I also receive spousal benefits. Neither of us work. I am now my husband's caregiver. We have IRAs totaling more than $27,250. Do we qualify for more?

Hi,

Based solely on the information in your question, it sounds like you are already receiving as much as you can get from Social Security.

Best, Jerry

Am I Required To File For Divorced Spousal Benefits When I Become Eligible?

Category: Supplemental Security Income
Mar 31 2017 - 9:45am

I am 48 and single. I was previously married for 18 years and divorced. I now receive SSI benefits due to seizures and some other things. I would like to know if I MUST report to Social Security when my ex is of retirement age and how I can find out what my benefit would be from his work record so I will know (kind of) what my benefit would be.

Hi,

Yes, as a condition for receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments, you are required to file for all Social Security benefits for which you are eligible. SSI is a needs based benefit intended as . . . Read More

What Will Happen To Our Benefits?

Category: Filing Options
Mar 31 2017 - 9:30am

Hello I am 45 my husband is 63 he will retire in 2 more yrs. what will happen with our ss benefits. I have paid in 26yrs he has paid in 44 yrs.

Hi,

It sounds like you'll both qualify for retirement benefits on your own records, with a possibility of additional spousal benefits for you. You must be at least age 62 to get retirement or spousal benefits, though. Your husband is already old enough to apply for reduced benefits, so he may want to consider running the maximization software available on this website in order to determine his best strategy . . . Read More

Can I Collect Spousal Benefits When My Husband Turns Age 62?

Category: Spousal Benefits
Mar 31 2017 - 8:15am

I'm a few years older than my husband and he is the higher earner. I will collect full retirement benefits but can I collect his when he reaches 62 and / or should I wait for his full retirement age because it will affect his own.

Hi,

Your husband must be drawing his benefits in order for you to potentially be eligible for spousal benefits. So, you could only be eligible for benefits on his record when he reaches age 62 if he chooses to file for reduced benefits at that time. If you do qualify for spousal benefits, they won't affect the amount that . . . Read More

Will My Earnings Affect My Husband's Benefits?

Category: Earnings Test
Mar 31 2017 - 8:00am

My husband wants to start taking his soc sec benefits at age 63. We understand he can earn up to $16,920 before his soc sec will be docked accordingly and we understand the income tax ramifications of filing jointly and making more than $44K. I am slightly younger and want to work for 5 more years. Will my earnings affect his soc sec benefit payments?? Can't find the answer anywhere on the soc sec website!

Hi,

No, your earnings would not count toward the $16,920 exempt amount that your husband is allowed to earn without affecting his benefits. Before . . . Read More

How Do I Maximize My Benefits?

Category: Filing Strategies
Mar 30 2017 - 9:45am

Greetings,
Larry and your wonderful staff and yes, I am using all the flattery and truth to get the correct answers. I sincerely think it is noble of you and your staff to help us (we need it). My wonderful husband was 30 years my senior and drilled into me to not take Social Security Benefits (SSB) until the age of 70. But, we did not discuss survivors or widows benefits. He (my husband) did not received SSB until he 70 years of age. He died at age 90. The Social Security representative said I can get widows benefits now. I'm 60 years old and have worked full-time until . . . Read More

Can I File For Reduced Benefits At Age 62 And Unreduced Widow's Benefits At Age 66?

Category: Filing Options
Mar 30 2017 - 9:30am

Hello. I'll be eligible for social security in about a year and have been trying to get smart regarding my options. I'm not clear on the new deeming rules as they pertain (or if they pertain) to spousal benefits for someone who is already a widow.

I read on SSA.gov and elsewhere that in order (for a wife) to receive a spousal benefit the other spouse (her husband) must have already filed for their (his) benefit. But I can find no example of a situation where the other spouse (husband) is deceased and never filed. Is a widow even entitled to a spousal benefit?

My . . . Read More

Can I Get Widow's Benefits At Age 65 If I'm Working?

Category: Filing Strategies
Mar 30 2017 - 8:45am

I will be 65 in July and am wondering if I can apply for widow's benefits from my late husband's SS. I plan on continuing to work, but are having a difficult time in making ends meet. My husband passed in December 2005 and would be 70 years old. I make approximately $40,000 per year.

Hi,

I'm sorry for your loss.

Your earnings may be too high for you to receive benefits this year due to Social Security's earnings test (https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/whileworking2.html). . . . Read More

Can I Collect Benefits On My Deceased Wife's Record?

Category: Filing Strategies
Mar 30 2017 - 8:30am

IBM is laying me off on 5/1/2017. I'm 66 will be 67 on 7/1. I can retire from IBM and Lucent Technologies I know that but and also take my Social Security pension. My wife died in 2011 and I'am wondering if and can collect any of my wife's benefits from social security pension as a surviving spouse (she made less than I do/did) ?

Hi,

I'm sorry for your loss.

Yes, you can file for widower's benefits without also filing for your own Social Security retirement benefits. In fact, you can claim your widower's benefits up to 6 months retroactively, . . . Read More

Can I Draw Spousal Benefits If My Husband Receives Railroad Retirement?

Category: Railroad Retirement & Social Security
Mar 30 2017 - 8:15am

Hi Larry,
I am trying to understand spousal benefit options, given this scenario:
Husband worked sufficient years under the RR system and also separately paid into Social Security (at least 40 quarters).
Husband is 65 and currently collecting RR Benefits, with his wife approaching age 59. The wife does not qualify for Social Security benefits on her own, but would be entitled to Social Security Spousal Benefits...normally.
If the husband is collecting RR Benefits and not his social security benefits, is the wife able to collect Spousal benefits (50 . . . Read More

Can My Husband Suspend His Benefits At Age 69?

Category: Suspending Retirement Benefits
Mar 30 2017 - 8:00am

I'm 55, my husband is 69. He started collecting at full retirement age (67, I believe). He has now started to do some 1099 subcontracting (construction) and his income plus his benefit plus my income is pushing us, I guess, into a higher tax bracket. He doesn't really "need" the social security benefit right now -- I know suspension is possible, but is it possible to suspend at age 69 (70 in December, born in 1947) and not start up again until he decides to REALLY quit working, meanwhile gathering work credits to potentially increase the eventual benefit?

Thank you! . . . Read More

Can I File For Spousal Benefits Only At Age 66?

Category: Filing Strategies
Mar 30 2017 - 8:00am

My wife started her benefits at age 63 after they changed the rules in 2015. I turn 66 this July 2017. I want to file for spousal benefits to receive half her benefit and not take mine until I reach age 70. Can I do this?

Hi,

Yes. You are still permitted to do this because you were born prior to January 2 1954 (https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/deemedfaq.html).

Best, Jerry

Can I Start Drawing Benefits 6 Months Before Turning Age 66 And Still Get My Full Retirement Age Rate?

Category: Retirement Benefits
Mar 29 2017 - 10:15am

I am turning 66 in July of 2018. Can I apply in January 2018 and receive my full retirement age benefits 6 months early in the year i turn 66?

Hi,

No, you can't. If you'll earn less than $44,880 (or whatever the exempt amount of earnings is set at in 2018) in the months prior to the month you reach age 66, you could start drawing benefits effective with January. However, your benefit rate will be permanently reduced by about 3.33% if you do so.

You may want to run the maximization software available on this website before you make any filing . . . Read More

Will My Government Pension Affect Widow's Benefits?

Category: Non-Covered Pension - WEP / GPO
Mar 29 2017 - 10:15am

I am 89 my husband dies at 94 I have never had social security but he did. I get a retirement from working for government it is udner 1000 dollars a month. I was told at SS center I will not get 100 percent of my husbands SS because I make retirement from government. He said it will lessen. I so not get ss, but governement retirement. I do not understand if he is correct. he was in an hurry it was the end of the day.

Thank you Doris

Hi Doris,

I'm sorry for your loss.

If your government pension is based on your work and you did not pay . . . Read More

Will My Social Security Benefits Stop If I Go Back To Work?

Category: Earnings Test
Mar 29 2017 - 10:00am

I am retired and considering going back to work. Will I forfeit (be cut-off) from my SS monthly benefits should I decide to go back to work?

Janice

Hi Janice,

If you are already age 66 or older, the answer is no. Otherwise, the answer depends on how much you earn, and the type of benefits you are receiving.

If you are receiving disability benefits, your benefits would generally continue as long as you don't earn more than $1170 per month (https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10095.pdf . . . Read More

Should I Take 6 Months Of Back Pay, Or Wait Until Age 70?

Category: Filing Options
Mar 29 2017 - 8:30am

Need help! I applied online on March 13, 2017 for benefits to start in July 2017, which is my 70th birthday. I got a call from SSA saying that I also had the option for my benefits to start retroactively, in Sep 2016. If I do this, I get a lump sum payment of $29,600 for those retro months, and $3015 per month going forward. If I follow my original plan and wait for my 70th birthday, I will get $3166 per month. So if I take the retroactive option, it's the lump sum of 29,600 as a tradeoff for getting payments going forward of $151 less than if I wait until July. If I take the . . . Read More

Will I Get Additional Benefits When I Turn Age 62?

Category: Disability Benefits
Mar 29 2017 - 8:30am

I am presently collecting $1,850 from SSDI 192 witches a death benefit for my wife and the balance is SSDI which started in 2015 of June I'm eligible for Medicare June 2017 I will be 62 April 2nd 2019 will I get an additional $785 added to the 1800 and 50 at that time for early retirement or what will the deduction be from the $785

Hi,

You can't receive both Social Security retirement and disability benefits at the same time. So, there won't be any change in your benefits when you reach age 62. Your disability benefits are the equivalent of your . . . Read More

Is It Possible For My Wife To Collect On My Record When I Retire?

Category: Spousal Benefits
Mar 29 2017 - 8:15am

My wife started to collect her ss at 62. Is it possible for her to collect off mine when I retire at 66 (probably 70)? A friend's wife told us she was collecting off of her husband because he made more and so she got more.

Hi,

Yes, it's possible. In order for your wife to qualify for additional benefits as a spouse on your record when you start drawing, 50% of your full retirement age rate (PIA) must be higher than her own PIA.

You may want to consider running the maximization software available on this website in order to determine the best . . . Read More

Why Would My Widow's Rate Be So Low?

Category: Non-Covered Pension - WEP / GPO
Mar 29 2017 - 8:00am

My Husband passed, im 60 I work for public school dept. I was planning to retire in January. I have a retirement plan and wold be getting a lesser amount at age 60. I was told if I get a pension and collect my husband ss I would receive only a reduced rate of $350.00 from the 71.5 % of 1,900. I do not understand this If he was here I would be ok. I cant survive on just my week to week pay and thought his social security for widow would have helped me. If I coutinue workin I was told I will also get a reduction because I make too much. I dont understand any of this and I am . . . Read More

Should I Switch To My Own Record At Age 66 Or At Age 70?

Category: Filing Options
Mar 29 2017 - 7:30am

I am currently getting SSA survivor's benefits ($1173/mo) based on my late husband's SSA account. I am 65 and will turn 66 this August. I also receive a pension from the state of NC. I currently have credit card debt ($17,000 w/$130/mo interest), a car payment ($400/mo) and a mortgage payment $1080/mo). The credit card debt came from moving expenses and pet medical expenses. It is getting harder each month to stay on budget because I have not received a pension raise for the past 5 years. SO I am trying to decide whether to start drawing on my individual SSA account ($2020/mo . . . Read More

How Much Can I Earn And Still Receive Benefits?

Category: Earnings Test
Mar 29 2017 - 7:15am

Hello. I am a 43 year old widow. My children collect my late husband's social security benefits, presently. Upon filing for SS, I was told that I make too much at my teaching job to collect benefits for myself. (I was informed that the family cap for monthly payment is 3000.00. I would be eligible for the remaining 800.00 after my children were paid if I made less working). I am wondering if you can tell me the amount of earnings I could earn and still qualify for the remaining funds. Thank you!

Hi,

The amount that you could earn this year without . . . Read More

What Is My Best Strategy?

Category: Filing Strategies
Mar 29 2017 - 7:15am

Options and advice, appreciated, I'm on dial-up. I'm divorced 15 yr after 21 married. Haven't filed yet. I will be 67 in 7/17 & ex-wife will be 60 in 4/17. Her last known income was 2-3 X my highest. I have an appointment 1st week, 4/17 w/SSA and need knowledge. Please help.

Hi,

It sounds like you could eventually be entitled to a divorced spousal benefit, but your wife must be at least age 62 or drawing her benefits in order for you to be eligible. In the meantime, if your own retirement benefit rate would still be lower than your divorced . . . Read More

Can I First Take Spousal Benefits And Still Receive Delayed Retirement Credits On My Own Record?

Category: Filing Strategies
Mar 28 2017 - 8:00am

If I am at full retirement age (66.5 yrs old), and first take spousal benefits on my husband's record, can I still receive the 8% annual deferral credits at 70 years old on my record?

Hi,

Potentially yes, but only if you were born prior to January 2 1954. This is due to amendments in the deeming rules passed by Congress in 2015 (https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/deemedfaq.html).

Full retirement age (FRA) for people born prior to January 2 1954 is age 66, so if your FRA is 66. . . . Read More

Is There Anything More I Can Do?

Category: Disability Benefits
Mar 28 2017 - 7:45am

Hi
I have been on disability since 2006. Well I applied in 2003, approved 2006. They considered my case severe, according to their paperwork. They just reviewed my case and determined that it would be terminated due to medical improvememt. I'm at a lost for words. My injuries have only progressed toward the worse or stayed the same. I filed an appeal but is there anything I can do to help?

Hi,

If you've already filed an appeal, there's likely nothing further that you need to do for now. There are potentially several levels of appeal, so be . . . Read More

How Much Will My Wife Receive As My Spouse?

Category: Spousal Benefits
Mar 28 2017 - 7:45am

Larry,

I am 67 years old and filed early for SS benefits at age 64. My wife is 66 years old and wants to file a restricted spousal application and delay filing based on her own earnings until age 70. My question is will her spousal benefit equal 50 percent of my current check or what I received when I was 66 last year or what I received when I filed early at age 64? Thank you.

Hi,

Your wife's spousal rate will be based on 50% of your primary insurance amount (PIA). Your PIA is the amount that you'd be receiving if you had started drawing your . . . Read More

Can I Work And Still Get Benefits?

Category: Earnings Test
Mar 28 2017 - 7:30am

I am collecting both myself and my late husband's soc.security and his pension. He is deceased. I am taking a pt job @ $12.50+25 hrs per week. Can I do that and how much can I make per year! Thank you

Hi,

If you are under age 66 this year, you can earn up to $16,920 without affecting your benefits. If you turn 66 later this year, you could earn up to $44,880 in the months prior to when you turn 66 (https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/whileworking2.html). If you are already age 66 . . . Read More

Can I Get 6 Months Of Retroactive Benefits?

Category: Filing Options
Mar 28 2017 - 7:15am

Will the SS offer me six months of retroactive benefits when file for my retirement benefit.? Six months will amount to be half of the 6-2/3% discount per year to my retirement benefit. The reason I ask is that I live outside the country and I am not affected by US inflation because I spend all my money in the Philippines where I retired. What does affect me is the US dollar to Philippine Exchange rate and inflation in the Philippines. If you understand "Buy the rumor and sell the fact" and how it works, I expect the US dollar that has appreciated due to a long history of . . . Read More

Will My Social Security Benefits Be Affected If I Receive A Survivor Pension?

Category: Non-Covered Pension - WEP / GPO
Mar 28 2017 - 7:15am

Thank you for this service -
My husband has earned soc. security as well as been a community college teacher subject to windfall. I have worked for 40 years and have earned SS benefits. He has chosen the pension option which provides that the pension comes to me when he passes.
Is my Soc.Security benefit amount mpacted when that happens or is it immune other than from SS Taxes?
thank you very much for your help.

Hi,

Your Social Security benefits would not be affected if you receive a survivor pension from your husband's teacher . . . Read More

Can My Husband File For Spousal Benefits Online?

Category: Filing For Benefits
Mar 28 2017 - 7:00am

i'm turning 66yrs old in April 2017 and starting to get my full SS benefits in May. My husband born in 1950 (66yrs old) and he suspended his SS benefits to age 70, he wants to file for 1/2 of my SS benefits. Can he file online ? and if so - what form should he use?.
sincerely
TBZ

Hi TBZ,

If your husband actually did file for and suspend benefits on his own record, he likely won't be able to receive any spousal benefits. Once you file for your own retirement benefits, that becomes your primary benefit even if you voluntarily suspend your . . . Read More

Is There Any Reason For Me Not To File Now?

Category: Filing Options
Mar 28 2017 - 6:45am

I turn 65 on May 20, 2017 and my wife on April 22, 2018. We recently moved to MO and in with our daughter & son-in law. I am currently working part-time at Home Depot and feel sure I won't make any annual salary above $20K again.
I am considering starting to receive my SS benefits. Knowing that I will receive some money less (6.7%) than at 66, is there anything really keeping me from claiming now? Thanks,
Richard

Hi Richard,

Both you and your wife were born prior to January 2 1954, so you were grandfathered under the new deeming . . . Read More

How Much Will My Wife Get If She Retires Now?

Category: Retirement Benefits
Mar 28 2017 - 6:30am

My wife wishes to retire now. She is She was 65 on Feb. 14. She has no income and will use my amount which is 19,120 a year. What will her amount be ias of April 1.
thank you

Hi,

That depends on her earnings history. Social Security retirement benefits are based on an average of a person's highest 35 years of work-adjusted earnings (https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10070.pdf).

Before filing, your wife should consider running the maximization software available on this website. Not . . . Read More

Can I Deduct Moving Expenses From My Countable Earnings Under Social Security's Earnings Test?

Category: Earnings Test
Mar 27 2017 - 7:15am

I retired in 2014 (born 1952). I need to go back to work in 2016, and i made over $26,000. I know I could made around $15,000 without reducing my SS payments. I am doing my federal taxes. Question1; Can I reduce the $11,000 by my expenses on moving to the job location. ( From New Orleans to Birmingham, AL.) I returned home to New Orleans about one a month, can I claim these expenses to reduce the $11,000. When I got the job I called the local SS dept to adjust my payments but my records was not updated. I did not learned this until I return back home when my wife told me. . . . Read More

Should I Withdraw My Contributions To My Teacher Retirement Plan?

Category: Non-Covered Pension - WEP / GPO
Mar 27 2017 - 6:45am

I am a teacher and when I turn 62 I will still need to teach 1 more year to reach the rule of 80. I worked previously and have paid in my 40 quarters in SS. Should I just draw out my part that I've paid in TRS and put it with my previous 401K money and draw either my SS or draw spousal support on my husband's SS since he will be full retirement age and his benefit is much greater than mine? Thank you.

Hi,

I can't give you a definitive answer to that question. As you're apparently aware, if you receive a pension from work that was exempt from Social . . . Read More

When My Wife And I Retire, Will We Each Get Benefits On Our Own Work Histories?

Category: Filing Options
Mar 27 2017 - 6:45am

Hi, I have a basic question, my wife and I both work. When we retire will we both each receive our own benefit based on each of our own work histories? Thanks, Joe

Hi Joe,

Yes, that would likely be the case if you're both working and paying Social Security taxes on your earnings. And, if one of you has a full retirement age benefit rate (PIA) that is more than twice as much as the other's PIA, there is also the possibility of additional spousal benefits. Before filing, you may want to run the maximization software available on this website in order . . . Read More

What Is The Correct Information Regarding Benefits For My Children?

Category: Child Benefits
Mar 27 2017 - 6:15am

I just discovered this site and am amazed at all the work you do in helping others -- so I want to thank you.
I also have a question. I married a Mexican citizen who I met in Mexico. We have been married almost two years and lived together before that time. We have 4 dependent children.
I am 69 and have been living on my Social Security check. I was told that I could also receive benefits for the children and went to the Social Security office in San Diego shortly after the marriage ceremony. I was told that all I had to do was wait one year and apply and I would . . . Read More

Is It True That My Mother Can Receive 6 Months Of Back Pay Of Spousal Benefits?

Category: Spousal Benefits
Mar 27 2017 - 6:00am

Hi Larry,

My father Carlos is 70, and started collecting SS benefits at 62 (retired early). My mother Phyllis will be 67 in April this year, and she is currently working part-time, and does not collect SSN. My parents were advised from a local SS office that since my father is already earning on the SS benefit, but my mother is still working, as long as she doesn't file for individual SS benefits, she is entitled to the "Spousal Benefit", at least up until she files independently. My main question is the following: the agent also shared that my mother would be eligible . . . Read More

What Is Our Best Strategy For SS?

Category: Filing Strategies
Mar 27 2017 - 5:45am

Hi Larry,
What is our best strategy for SS. I will be 65 and start collecting a pension of 30k/yr next year. My SS benefit will be 2,495 @ age 66. My wife is 5 years younger and her benefit will be $1,724 at age 66 - 8 months. We have enough in our 403 b to get by if you suggest waiting to collect benefits. I read that it is best to delay ss to age 70 to get maximum benefit, but by delaying I would be "losing" 120k, an it takes many years to make up.

Hi,

There usually isn't an absolute 'best' strategy for when to claim benefits, since much . . . Read More

Is It True That I Shouldn't Wait Past Full Retirement Age To Collect Spousal Benefits?

Category: Spousal Benefits
Mar 26 2017 - 10:45am

Thank you in advance for answering my question. My husband has been legally blind since age 50 (2008) and started on SS disability. We had planned that I would not apply for my spousal benefit until age 70 (my personal benefit would be less than half of his) but we were told by SS that since he is already on SS disability that there is no financial benefit for me to wait beyond age 66. Is this true and if so are there any options that we could use to maximize my benefit?

Hi,

Yes, there would be no advantage to you waiting past full retirement age (FRA . . . Read More

Can A Spouse File For Reduced Retirement Benefits And Later Switch To Survivor Benefits?

Category: Filing Options
Mar 26 2017 - 8:45am

Can a spouse file for a reduced retirement benefit on their own record and later switch to a (larger) survivor benefit?

I'm trying to set up a budget for my wife should I die before she does. We're both 60 and neither is currently drawing a benefit. She was a low wage earner and her regular retirement PIA at FRA is $504. At age 62 she could draw a reduced PIA of $368. I do not intend to file for my benefit prior to my FRA. Her SURVIVOR benefit, if she waits until her FRA, would be $1609, but it's my understand if she draws it prior to her FRA it will be reduced by a . . . Read More

Can My Grandson Get Benefits On My Record?

Category: Child Benefits
Mar 26 2017 - 8:45am

I am a retired police officer on SSDI. I am legal guardian of my 10 yr old grandson.
My wife works as a nurse.
My chldren collected a small benefit on my SSDI until they passed the age requirement and were dropped.
Can my grandson get the same monthly benefit as my kids did, and/or is there a benefit I can receive as his guardian/provider?
Thanks

Hi,

Grandchildren can only qualify for child's benefits on a grandparent's record if they are adopted by the grandparent, or if both of the grandchild's natural parent's are either . . . Read More

Does My Wife Have To Be Drawing Her Benefits In Order For Me To Receive Spousal Benefits?

Category: Spousal Benefits
Mar 26 2017 - 8:30am

Hello,
I was born on 12/20/1953,my wife born on 9/5/56.Does my wife have to be drawing social security for me to draw a spousal benefit or just file and suspend at her age of 62.Also would that spousal benefit be1/2 of her PIA at FRA for her?Thanks appreciate the help.

Hi,

Yes, your wife must be drawing her benefits in order for you to receive spousal benefits on her record. Filing and suspending is not even an option until a person reaches full retirement age, but even then you could not receive spousal benefits if she suspends her benefits . . . Read More

What Is My Best Strategy?

Category: Filing Strategies
Mar 26 2017 - 8:00am

I am 63 (born Dec. 1953). I have 40 quarters of soc. sec. earnings and would received approx. $1800/mo at full retirement age on my own account. My husband (born July 1950) started taking his soc. sec. at age 62. His monthly benefit before Part B is $1850. We also have an adult child in our household disabled at birth (down syndrome) Born in 1985. She receives a child's benefit of $1257/mo. What is my best strategy for when to file and what to file for? I can wait until full retirement age (66) or later, but I don't want to leave money on the table unless it affects my future . . . Read More

Do I Need To Do Anything At Age 65?

Category: Disability Benefits
Mar 26 2017 - 7:45am

I have been on Social Security Disability for over 20 yrs. I became a widow 10 yrs ago. When my husband passed, I was given a choice to claim widow benefits or stay on Disability. Since I lost my healthcare coverage with my husband's employer and the amt. of $ was about the same, I stayed on Disability, mainly for health insurance - Medicare. The $ is nice but I really didn't have to collect it. I have worked off and on during my disability coverage but for less than 12 months totally as a full-timer.
I will be 65 this year, 2017. I have read answers but am still . . . Read More

Should My Wife File At Age 62?

Category: Filing Strategies
Mar 26 2017 - 7:30am

Hello,
I just turned 62. My wife will turn 62 later this year. I have the larger SS benefit and plan to wait until at least FRA to file. While we do not need SS income to meet our needs, I'm reading that perhaps my wife should file @62 to maximize benefits, as there is little advantage to her waiting due to my larger check as a survivor benefit. This, of course, suggests that I don't make it to life expectancy. Here's a piece of what I read:

"...the ideal strategy for most couples is for the higher-earning spouse to delay as long as possible (which benefits them . . . Read More

What Would Be The Best Filing Strategy For Us?

Category: Filing Strategies
Mar 26 2017 - 7:15am

I am soon to be 66 (06/10/17) and I am still working and planning to work past 70. My wife is 64 and she is a housewife (never worked). We have not applied for SS benefits.We have been married for 40 yrs. I am aware that the law changed in 2016. What would be the best strategy going for applying and receiving benefits.

Hi,

My educated guess is that you would want to either a) wait until age 70 to file, or b) file when your wife turns age 66. Your wife won't be able to receive spousal benefits until you start drawing, so the latter option would make . . . Read More

Can My Wife Suspend Her Benefits And Collect On My Record?

Category: Spousal Benefits
Mar 25 2017 - 7:45am

Hi,
I'm 71 and my wife is 70. We both started collecting at 65 based on our individual work records. I collect $2000 and she collects $500. Can she suspend her benefits and collect on mine, and I as I now realize that we made a terrible mistake by not doing so originally. Thanks!

Hi,

Your wife can't suspend her own benefits at this point, nor would she want to, but she can apply for an excess spousal benefit on your record. What she could then receive is the difference between a) her own full retirement age rate (PIA), and b) 50% of your PIA . . . Read More

Will Our Child Get Social Security Benefits?

Category: Child Benefits
Mar 25 2017 - 7:15am

I am 67. My wife is 23. We have been married for five years. We are going to use donor sperm threw the houspital to get her , pregnant. I get $1150.00 from Social Security each month .willlll i get a check each month for the child and if so. How much will it be

Hi,

It sounds like the child would qualify for child's benefits on your record, and your wife could potentially qualify for child-in-care spousal benefits as well. The benefit rate for such auxiliary benefits is 50% of the worker's full retirement age rate (PIA), but would be subject to a . . . Read More

Could I Have Been Drawing Social Security From My Deceased Husband's Record?

Category: Widow's Benefits
Mar 25 2017 - 7:00am

My husband died in 1989, he was 50 years old, and I was 47years old. We were married 28 years. I remarried in 1991 and divorced in 1993. In 1995 I had a near fatal automobile accident and suffered multiple serious injuries and had to be resuscitated at the scene of the accident. I was unable to work for two years. I drew two years of temporary social security. I was 53 years old when I had the accident. I returned to work when I was 55 years old. I retired I retired when I was 65 in 2007. I was retired one year and I returned to work in 2008, I was 66 years old. Today I am 74 1 . . . Read More

Can I Receive Spousal Benefits Before My Husband Files For His Benefits?

Category: Spousal Benefits
Mar 25 2017 - 6:45am

my husband born 1/29/54 would like to wait till maximum age 70 to file for his own benefits. can i take half of his when i turn 66 in 4 years, even if he does not file?

Hi,

Your husband must be drawing his retirement benefits in order for you to potentially receive spousal benefits on his record. And, if you are already drawing benefits on your own record, you could only receive additional spousal benefits if 50% of your husband's full retirement age benefit rate (PIA) is higher than your own PIA.

You may want to consider running the . . . Read More

Can My Wife Suspend Her Benefits And Collect On My Record?

Category: Spousal Benefits
Mar 25 2017 - 6:45am

Hi,
I'm 71 and my wife is 70. We both started collecting at 65 based on our individual work records. I collect $2000 and she collects $500. Can she suspend her benefits and collect on mine, and I as I now realize that we made a terrible mistake by not doing so originally. Thanks!

Hi,

Your wife can't suspend her own benefits, nor would she want to, but she can file for an excess spousal benefit on your record. What she could then receive is the difference between a) her own full retirement age benefit rate (PIA), and b) 50% of your PIA. . . . Read More

Are WEP & GPO Triggered By 401a Defined Contribution Deductions?

Category: Non-Covered Pension - WEP / GPO
Mar 25 2017 - 6:15am

Hi Larry - are Wep & GPO deductions triggered by a 401A defined contribution acct? Is there anyway to take a 401A distribution, such as rolling over to ira, and not triggering WEP/GPO? Thanks!

Hi,

The answer to that depends on the specifics of the plan. Payments from defined contribution plans are generally considered as pensions for WEP & GPO purposes (https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10045.pdf & https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10007. . . . Read More

Which Form Do I Use To File For Spousal Benefits?

Category: Filing For Benefits
Mar 24 2017 - 8:00am

which form do i use and where can i find it for:
applying for 50% of my wife SS income
I suspended my SS till age 70 (i'm now 67) . my wife is at full retirement age and starts receiving her SS in early may.
Thank you

Hi,

Technically, the application form for Social Security spousal benefits is an SSA-2, but Social Security no longer uses paper application forms. You can file by phone or in-person by contacting your nearest Social Security office, or by calling 1-800-772-1213. You may also be able to file online if you haven't . . . Read More

Can I Take My Own Benefits And Later Receive Full Spousal Benefits?

Category: Filing Strategies
Mar 24 2017 - 7:30am

If before my husband retires I (Doris) take my $4020, can I still receive the full 1/2 spousal benefit when Haydn retires (at 70)? Should/can Haydn claim spousal benefit (1/2, or $2000) from Doris' SS claim when he turns 66? Does SS pay Doris AND me if both of us are alive?

Hi,

I'm not fully clear on what your asking. You must have been born prior to January 2 1954 in order to have the option of filing for spousal benefits only at full retirement age (FRA) without also filing for your own retirement benefits. And, if you take reduced retirement . . . Read More

Do You Have Any Strategy Suggestions For Us?

Category: Filing Strategies
Mar 24 2017 - 7:15am

Dear Larry,

My husband is about to turn 62. I am about to turn 30. We have been married for almost 6 years and we have a child together who just turned 5 years old. I have worked very little and I am currently a stay at home mom. From social security, my husband's estimated benefit is about $2,700 per month if he were to retire at age 66 and 2 months FRA. Could you please let me know your strategy suggestions given our large age difference? Thanks for any advice you may have. Very Best, Anonymous

Hi Anonymous,

There's no absolute best . . . Read More

Would My Social Security Benefits Stop When I Start Drawing Railroad Retirement?

Category: Railroad Retirement & Social Security
Mar 24 2017 - 7:00am

I am vested in social security, railroad retirement and Cal PERS, having worked different jobs. I would like to start collecting SS next year (turning 62), and then when I turn 66 and 4 months start collecting my maximum benefit from RR retirement. Would SS stop when I start collecting RR retirement? Will collecting SS at 62 reduce my max RR retirement benefit? Do you have any special advice for me or recommendation of who I need to talk with concerning this? THANKS.

Hi,

Your Social Security (SS) wouldn't stop if you subsequently apply for Railroad . . . Read More

What Amount Would I Receive As A Widow At Age 60?

Category: Widow's Benefits
Mar 24 2017 - 6:45am

Dear Larry (and Jerry, Mike, John, Alex and Issac),
I have a question about widow's benefits. My spouse was on disability when she died. Their Social Security Disability benefit was approximately $930.00 per month, and they died in 2015 at the age of 51. I know that I can claim widow's benefits as early as age 60 (which will be in seven and half years). My questions are as follows:
What amount would I receive as a widow when I am 60?
Does claiming the widow's benefit affect the amount or timing of my Social Security benefit?
I have not remarried. . . . Read More

Would Receipt Of Survivor Benefits From My Non-Covered Pension Affect My Wife's Benefits?

Category: Non-Covered Pension - WEP / GPO
Mar 24 2017 - 6:30am

I'll try to condense this. My girl friend was qualified for disability, $500 plus Medicaid and Food Stamps. When she was 60 years old she HAD to take Widow's benefits on her husband who died over 35 years prior...loss of Medicaid and FS, but more money, $1400. We married, that is allowed with no penalty, so she could get on my health plan. I get a pension from local government (no SS paid in) and small SS, $250. She is eligible for a widow's pension from my gov't job when I pass. Will that reduce her SS? I thought it wouldn't because she not collecting on any of her own . . . Read More

When Should I Start Drawing Widow's Benefits?

Category: Filing Strategies
Mar 23 2017 - 8:45am

Widow, never remarried, husband disabled July 2003, began receiving SS Disability Nov. 2003 (age 53 but Nov. 11 age 54), deceased Aug. 2011. Have been employed, never applied for nor received any of husband’s SS. Want to receive spousal benefits at age 66, Sept. 2018, receive my SS at age 70. What procedure on my behalf will ensure full spousal benefit age 66-70, my full benefit at age 70 which will be greater than husband’s SS?

Get What's Yours (Copyright 2015) purchased and read--excellent resource

Hi,

I'm sorry for your loss.

. . . Read More

How Will My Wife's Widow's Rate Be Calculated?

Category: Widow's Benefits
Mar 23 2017 - 8:30am

I am 60 and receiving social security disability of $2200. My wife makes $10,000 a year. She is 60, if she claims early her benefit will be about $600 dollars. If she claims reduced spousal benefits it will be approximately $750. My question is when I die , assuming after age 66 will she receive my benefits of $2200, or will they be reduced because she claimed early benefits. Is there a better stategy. Thank you.

Hi,

If you die after your wife has reached full retirement age, she would receive your full benefit rate regardless of whether or not she . . . Read More

Do You Have Any Suggestions For Me?

Category: Filing Strategies
Mar 23 2017 - 8:00am

Hello Mr. Larry!
My husband is retired military, he took out the SBP, he has also applied for his social security benefit at age 62 which will begin at the end of June 2017. We had a very small home based business that we did not take a salary; unfortunately the business isn't doing much business and therefore he hasn't paid into SS since 1998. His military retirement won't be effective for taking his social security.
I'm not sure what my question really is; but it concerns my widow benefits from his SS & SBP if something should happen to him. He has had some . . . Read More

How Do I Restrict My Application To Divorced Spousal Benefits Only?

Category: Divorced Spousal Benefits
Mar 23 2017 - 7:30am

Divorced Spousal Benefit: I will reach FRA in July 2017 (born 1951). Ex-spouse is same age. Divorced for more than two years. Married for more than 10 years. Never remarried. I intend to filed for Divorced Spousal Benefits, and to not claim benefits on my record until age 70. I have seen your various comments about the notations to make in the Remarks section, but still have some uncertainty. Questions: 1) Does application make it crystal clear that I am "suspending" my benefits? 2) Our incomes were about the same, over the same working years. Does this affect my eligibility? 3 . . . Read More

Which PIA Will Be Used To Calculate My Wife's Spousal Benefit Rate?

Category: Spousal Benefits
Mar 23 2017 - 7:30am

I will turn 70 in Dec. 2017 and my wife will turn 66 in Sept. 2018.
I plan to file for my benefits ta age 70 and my wife will file for spousal benefits at age 66 and let her own benfits grow till age 70.
I have continued working after my FRA at age 66 and this added 4 years with high income to my SS history and increased my PIA.
My question is: Which PIA will be used to calculate the spousal benefits? Is it the increased PIA with the added 4 yrs of high income or is it the PIA I would have had at age 66?

Thanks!

Hi,

Your . . . Read More

How Much Will I Receive As A Divorced Spouse?

Category: Divorced Spousal Benefits
Mar 23 2017 - 7:15am

Hi Larry,
I'm 56, and my x-spouse is 69 (soon to turn 70). We were married for 22 years and have been divorced since 2012.
I have read that I can receive his social security benefits , but am still confused about a couple of things, which are critical (recognize that my social security benefits will be much less than his, whether it is calculated from 50% or 100% of his amount due.
Here are the details, and the questions:
1. As an X spouse of greater than 10 years, do I receive 100% or 50% of his benefit while he is alive? or does this depend on . . . Read More

Are Social Security Rules Different Depending On The State In Which You Live?

Category: Divorced Widow(er) Benefits
Mar 22 2017 - 8:00am

Hi Larry, I need to know if the rules for SS is different from one State to another? I have two friends in Virginia, and both of them gets disability, plus both of their husbands are deceased and they draw a widows pension also. I tried to go draw on my exhusbands pension and was told I had to give up my SS to get his and it was over two hundred dollars less. The friends were not married to their husbands at the time. I hope you can help, thank you for your help, SaNdY

Hi Sandy,

No, Social Security rules aren't different from one state to another, but . . . Read More

Should I Delay Filing Until After Age 70?

Category: Retirement Benefits
Mar 22 2017 - 7:45am

I will turn 70 in December 2017. To maximize my benefit, I delayed applying for my SS benefits till age 70.
I am still working and expect to earn in 2017 more than the max SS taxable earnings cutoff ($127200)
Since I have less than 35 previous years with significant SS income, can I delay collecting until January 2018 and thereby add 2017 to the 35 years averaged for benefit calculation?
According to the online calculator, this will add $66 to my monthly benefit and will cover the lost month of benefits within 3.5 years.
It seems that if I start . . . Read More

Would The Maximization Software Help My Mother?

Category: Widow's Benefits
Mar 22 2017 - 7:30am

First: I stumbled on your website recently while researching a SSA nightmare a friend is involved in, and am SO impressed with everything about it and you, the founders and contributors. I've recommended it to several couples in the last few months. Keep up the great work!

Second: My father just passed away in Dec at age 90. My mother is age 87, & in decent health, so could survive another 7-10 years (based on her family hx). I just told her about your site, but had forgotten there was a membership fee, so I'll just ask you outright: is access to your site worth a . . . Read More

Can I Collect Spousal Benefits At Full Retirement Age And Switch To My Own Record At Age 70?

Category: Spousal Benefits
Mar 22 2017 - 7:30am

I am confused about spousal benefits. My husband filed for social security at age 65 last summer. I will turn 66 in October of 2017, and we have been married for 44 years. Am I able to collect spousal benefits after I reach my full retirement date up to the date I turn 70? Does it matter if I still work full time?

Hi,

Yes, since you were born prior to January 2 1954, you can file for spousal benefits only at age 66 and let your own benefit rate grow until age 70. And, you could draw the spousal benefits regardless of how much you earn. This is . . . Read More

Would It Be An Okay Strategy For Me To Retire At Age 62?

Category: Filing Strategies
Mar 22 2017 - 7:15am

I thought I was fairly financially savvy. Then I started reading several of your articles and answers today. I don't feel so savvy now! I am 61, married with dependent children. I am a military veteran with pension and a current federal civil servant (FERS). I want to "retire" and do other things with my life. I am thinking since I will be a dreaded but grateful "Triple Dipper" with lifetime COLA protected annuities it would be OK for me to retire "early" at age 62 and begin enjoying life more. Any thoughts? My wife is much younger, a full-time homemaker and so far has not . . . Read More

Can I Draw Widow's Benefits And Keep Working?

Category: Widow's Benefits
Mar 22 2017 - 7:00am

Hi Larry, I am a 61 year old widow , my husband passed away July 2014 . He had not filed for any Social Security Disability, there was not time. Mike was four years older than myself and he actually retired at age 48.I am having financially a difficult time. Can I draw any amount of widows benefit and still work to keep my health insurance? Last year I made just under $40,000. It is just hard to make it on 1 salary in our household.I do not plan to remarry, and I have paid things off and lowered my bills as much as I can. Help

Hi,

You are old enough . . . Read More

When Should My Wife And I File For Benefits?

Category: Filing Strategies
Mar 21 2017 - 8:00am

My birthdate 7/14/53, my wife's 8/27/53. My estimated benefit at full retirement $2527, wife's $1268. Wife retired last year, I expect to retire at age 65, preferably about a month before I turn 65. No rush to collect, long life expectancies. Should she start collecting now? At age 66? When I retire? Or at age 70? Should I take a spousal benefit on her account? I am assuming I should wait until I turn 70 to collect on my account, correct?

Separately, what is the deal on Medicare for the six weeks when I am 65 but she is not? I am currently on employer medical insurance . . . Read More

Is There Any Problem With My Logic?

Category: Filing Strategies
Mar 21 2017 - 7:30am

My wife made significantly less money than I did and is 4 years older than me.
I was thinking that she should start taking her SS benefits now, at age 63.

My thinking is that I will hold off collecting benefits until I am 70 years old which is in about 10.5 years at which point she will start taking spousal benefits.

Her benefits now will be $950/month for 10.5 years for a total of $119,700 (before COLA’s) Her FRA benefits would be $1,132/month for a total of $108,672 for the 8 years before I turn 70. Her age 70 benefits will be $1,495/month which would . . . Read More

Are We Better Off Waiting Until I Turn 70?

Category: Filing Strategies
Mar 21 2017 - 7:15am

I am now 68 and have not filed for SS benefits and continue to work - waiting until age 70. My wife of 40 + years turns 66 this summer (2017). My benefit amount will likely be at the SS maximum. Although she has retirement credits from working at various times over the years, 50% of my benefit, as a spousal benefit, will be substantially higher than hers. Are we better off waiting until I turn 70 for her to draw a benefit, or is her spousal benefit capped when she turns 66 and reaches FRA? The goal is to receive the maximum benefit for both of us.
Thanks

. . . Read More

What Should I Do If My SS Statements Aren't Correct?

Category: Earnings Subject To Social Security Taxes
Mar 21 2017 - 7:15am

My SS statements show that I have earned 31 credits. I went to the SS office to verify, and they say I have earned 36 credits. I asked which information would be used to determine eligibility and they said the information at their office would be used. I mentioned this to a friend of mine and he said it might be worth my while to get SS to reconcile my statement to what SS shows on their computers when I go the office. I earn non SS income and am aware of the WEP. I am considering working some more with SS covered employment in order to take my SS benefit. It seems that the . . . Read More

Can My Husband Get SSI And Veteran's Benefits?

Category: Disability Benefits
Mar 21 2017 - 6:45am

I have applied for SSD I was getting payments but then I was denied and my check & Medicaid stopped. I am 53 and suffer from Neuropathy, Fibromyalgia, High Blood Pressure, Diabetes, Depression, Bi-polar, ADD, chronic pain and swelling. I was told that I didn't have enough work credits to qualify for SSD, can you please help me with any answers. My husband is 65 and he only gets a VA pension check & his medical paid he was also deemed Disabled. Is he able or eligible to claim his SSI as well with his VA. How will these effect us.

Hi,

I'm sorry . . . Read More

Will My Cousin's Benefits Be Affected If Her Daughter Gets SS Benefits From Her Father's Account?

Category: Child Benefits
Mar 21 2017 - 6:30am

My cousin is 39 years old and has a daughter who just turned 14. My cousin has been receiving permanent SSDI payments ($667/mo) plus SSI payments ($31.02/mo). Her daughter has been receiving SSDI payments ($55/mo) based on her mother's benefits. The daughter's father, who has never been married to her mother, is currently applying for SS retirement at age 63. His minor daughter is eligible for SS benefits based on his retirement benefit. How will this scenario affect and/or reduce the mother's current SSDI & SSI benefits or the daughter's current SSDI benefit (based on her . . . Read More

Will The Money I Earn Prior To Retiring Count Toward Social Security's Earnings Test?

Category: Earnings Test
Mar 21 2017 - 6:15am

Larry, I'm 65 my DOB is 01/12/52 I'm planning to retire & file for Social Security on June 30th that will be 6 months before my full retirement age. I'll have made 25,000 by then. I know my monthly benefit amount will be reduced because I retired 6 mo. early, but will the 25,000 I will have made before filing reduce my benefit amount for the last 6 months of the year? and how will the SSA know that I made this before filling? and could I possibly work part time after filing and not affect my benefit amount? Thanks and your column is a great help!

Hi, . . . Read More

Can I Overpay SS Taxes To Increase My Benefits?

Category: Earnings Subject To Social Security Taxes
Mar 21 2017 - 6:15am

Can I over-pay SS taxes to have a larger benefit at retirement?

Hi,

No, you are not permitted to voluntarily pay more Social Security taxes than what is owed on your earnings.

Best, Jerry

Can My Husband Get Benefits From Both The U.K. And The U.S.?

Category: Non-Covered Pension - WEP / GPO
Mar 21 2017 - 6:00am

My husband was born in the UK and came to the US at the age of 44 in the year of 2000.. He worked in the UK for 29 years (since the age of 15) and now that he's a US Citizen of the US, he's been working, of course in the US for 17 years thus far (he is 61 now. My question is this. Certainly he will be entitled to Social Security in the US (he is employed by a school system, which is considered the State of NJ) but what about all of those years he paid in while living and working in the UK? Is he entitled to any sort of monthly pension/social security benefit also each month . . . Read More

Will My Social Security Be Affected If I Get A Cal PERS Pension?

Category: Non-Covered Pension - WEP / GPO
Mar 20 2017 - 7:00am

I have paid into SS my entire career (38 yrs) and will be able to collect at 66.6 yrs of age. I am currently 59 and have changed careers and am contemplating working for the school district which means I will be not contributing to SS but will instead put into a Cal Pers account. So my question is will my SS be affected by taking a job and working for the next 7yrs under Cal Pers.

Hi,

Your Social Security retirement benefit rate could be affected by a Cal PERS pension, but not if you've had 30 years of what Social Security considers to be 'substantial . . . Read More

How Much Will I Get If I File For Widow's Benefits At Age 64?

Category: Widow's Benefits
Mar 20 2017 - 7:00am

My husband was 61& never collected any ss. I will be 64 in August, & that's when I want to start taking widows benefits.Will I qualify for the reduced benefit at 90% or will I qualify for the amount he would've collected at full retirement age? I'm unsure of the rules. Also I want to get your. software but I don't have my husbands ss records. Will I still be able to use your software & get an accurate benefit amount?

Hi,

I'm sorry for your loss.

If you file for widow's benefits at age 64, they'll be paid at a rate of about 90.5% of . . . Read More

When Should I File My Application In Order To Claim Benefits At Age 70?

Category: Filing For Benefits
Mar 20 2017 - 6:45am

Hi Larry:
I filed a restricted application and am collecting on my wife's record. She claimed at age 62; I am planning on waiting until age 70.
I will turn 70 on September 14, 2018. At that time the plan is for my wife (who will be 67) to begin taking her spousal benefit, which will be substantially more than her own benefit.
What is the optimal calendar date that I should apply with SSA for my age 70 (9/14 birthday) benefit; to ensure there is no snafu? Also should my wife apply for her spousal benefit on that same date? I have heard there are what-outs as . . . Read More

How Do We Maximize Our Benefits?

Category: Filing Strategies
Mar 20 2017 - 6:30am

Wife turns 66 on Febr 2018. I will be 66 on Nov 2020. My benefit at age 66 or delaying to age 70, is more than my spouse. How do we maximize our SSI benefits? Spouse will be drawing a pension, so social security is not a priority at her age 66. Is it possible for her to file a restricted application at age 66, and then can She draw on mine? Also how does that impact my future social security benefits?

Hi,

Your wife could file a restricted application for spousal benefits only at age 66 since she was born prior to January 2 1954, however, you must be . . . Read More

Will I Miss The File And Suspend Cutoff?

Category: Filing Strategies
Mar 20 2017 - 6:15am

I'm 65 (09/1951) and my wife is also 65 (08/1951). She began receiving SS benefits early at age 62 ( she receives $738/month) and I plan to continue working until age 69 and expect benefits of $2700/month. Will I miss the file and suspend cutoff? Is our best course of action to have her file for spouse benefits at my age 66 (if that's possible)?
Thank you!

Hi,

Yes, if you file and suspend any time after April 29 2016, your spouse can't receive benefits on your record while your benefits are in suspense ( . . . Read More

Does The Maximization Software Account For My Military Service?

Category: Maximize My Social Security Software
Mar 19 2017 - 11:30am

Will your software take into account my 29 years of active duty military service? I have heard that there is some extra compensation in Social Security for veterans.

Hi,

The answer is yes. Social Security credits extra 'deemed' wages for certain periods of active U.S. military service (https://www.ssa.gov/OP_Home/handbook/handbook.09/handbook-0953.html). The amount of deemed wages is $300 for each calendar quarter (i.e. Jan-Mar, Apr-Jun, etc.) in which a person had . . . Read More

Can You Explain How To Figure Taxes On My Social Security Benefits?

Category: Taxation Of Benefits
Mar 19 2017 - 8:00am

I received a lump sump from SS that included the prior year. I am working through publication 915 worksheet 2 for prior year refigured tax to see if the lump sum election saves me any taxes. Line 19 shows your refigured taxable benefits. Can you explain exactly what they are asking for on line 20 (enter your taxable benefits for the earlier year or refigured due to a previous lump sum for that year). Are they asking for the refigured amount on line 19, the total for that year from line 1, other taxable benefits that you already reported or maybe something else. Thanks.

. . . Read More

Can My Husband Get Spousal Benefits On My Record?

Category: Spousal Benefits
Mar 19 2017 - 7:45am

I am 66 (11/50) and my husband is 67 (4/49). I began SS at 62. He was planing to hold off filing until 70 yrs of age. We recently found out that he could have been filing for half of mine since his 66 yr birthday. We have an appointment with SS on May 5 because when we went to our local office the guy at the window told us we are not eligible for that, in his words, "because your husband was the higher wage earner." We filled out the "Application for Wife's or Husband's Insurance Benefit" to take to our appointment. Now after much reading about all that's available to us, we . . . Read More

Does The New Law Affect Us?

Category: Filing Strategies
Mar 19 2017 - 7:30am

In the midst of reading the revised Get What's Yours. So many situations which do not apply. As of today, I am 63 (April 1953) and my wife is 63 (Nov 1953). Should she now file and receive a spousal benefit based on my record? Then she waits until age 70 to apply for her own personal benefit? Then I would file and begin receiving payments when I reach age 70? Or does the rule change affect us. I am ok with buying your software but need to know some basic direction.

Hi,

Both you and your wife were grandfathered with regard to the new deeming law passed . . . Read More

How Long Must You Be Married To Get Spousal Benefits?

Category: Spousal Benefits
Mar 19 2017 - 7:15am

I know that you must be married nine months in Pennsylvania before you are entitled to your spouse's Social Security. My question: is "nine months" considered to be nine 4-week periods from the date of marriage, or is it the date of the marriage, nine months later? For example, I was married on July 21, 2016. Nine four-week periods later is March 30, 2017. In the second scenario, it would be April 21.

It seems like a silly question, but as you can see, in the first case I'd be eligible about three weeks sooner.

Thank you for your help. I greatly appreciate your . . . Read More

Do You Know Why I Received An Extra Deposit?

Category: Payment Dates
Mar 18 2017 - 8:30am

My husband and I both receive our social security checks via direct deposit. I noticed an additional separate direct deposit for $20.00 from social security, a day after my normal direct deposit. The "XXSOC SEC / ID" number is different than the normal number for me or my husband. Do you know what this could be?

Hi,

No, I have no idea. You may want to check with Social Security if you don't receive an explanation in the mail within a couple of weeks.

Best, Jerry

Can I File For Spousal Benefits?

Category: Spousal Benefits
Mar 18 2017 - 8:30am

My husband & I have been married 27 years, his ss# benefit is larger than mine, we want to apply for the THE SOCIAL SECURITY SPOUSE BENEFIT, which would increase my monthly amount to the same as his, my question is he retired in 2005, he is 74, I retired in 2001 and am 80, is the amount I will receive increased based on the year he retired and is it retroactive or does it start once we have applied? Thank you!

Hi,

I'm sorry, but you must be mistaken. The spousal benefit rate is 50% of the spouse's full retirement age rate, not 100%. And, you . . . Read More

Is What My Friend Told Me True?

Category: Delayed Retirement Credits
Mar 18 2017 - 8:15am

I just turned 66 on March 13, 2017. i was considering waiting until I turn 70 to file for Social security. However, a good friend of mine just told me that the benefits no longer gain 8% per year since a bill was passed in April 2016. I had not heard anything of that information. Is that true?

Hi,

No, your friend is mistaken. Delayed retirement credits can still be earned at a rate of 8% per year if you defer drawing benefits from full retirement age until age 70. You may want to run the maximization software available on this website in order to . . . Read More

Can I Wait Until Age 70 To Draw On My Own Record?

Category: Filing Strategies
Mar 18 2017 - 8:00am

Morning
Enjoy reading your book & have recommended it to many.
However have not seen my question covered. My husband passed in 1995 & have been receiving Survivors Benefits. Am presently 60, when I applied, was informed by SS that benefit would automatically switch to my SS benefit when it became higher, which would be @ FRA. However would prefer to allow my benefit to grow & collect my benefit @ age 70. Is this a possibility? Thank you for the much appreciated advice. Brooklyn

Hi Brooklyn,

Yes, you can and in all probability . . . Read More

Can My Wife Get Spousal Benefits While Her Own Benefits Are In Suspense?

Category: Filing Strategies
Mar 18 2017 - 6:45am

The wife (FRA is 66) in the month she turned age 62 (Mar 2010) starting receiving her worker’s benefit in her first eligible month. The husband (FRA is 66) in the month he turned age 66 (Sep 2014) filed a restricted application for spousal benefit only on the wife’s earnings record (smaller earnings than husband). In the same month (Sep 2014), we suspended the wife’s worker’s benefit. These events occurred before the change in the law in April 2016. Now before either of us turn age 70, can the wife start receiving spousal benefit on the husband’s earnings record and allow the . . . Read More

Which Party Is Right?

Category: Retirement Benefits
Mar 18 2017 - 6:30am

Larry,

Getting 2 opposing views from social security regarding computation of retirement benefits.

One party states that the retirement amount (at 62 or 66) is calculated using an average of the HIGHEST SS wages for the last 35 years.

The other states use of average SS wages for the last 35 years prior to the actual retirement date.

Example: Spouse (age 61) wishes to wait until 66 to retire. She is currently paying SS tax on the maximum amount (118,000). She is wanting to take a lower paying job (25,000 to 50,000 annual) for the next five years . . . Read More

Can My Social Security Be Reduced If I Receive A Hungarian Pension?

Category: Non-Covered Pension - WEP / GPO
Mar 17 2017 - 6:45am

Can be my social security reduced since i receive Hungarian pension. I'm 66 years old and collect social security since age 63.

Hi,

Yes, your Social Security retirement benefit rate may be reduced if you receive a Hungarian pension based on your work and earnings in that country. For more information on this provision (i.e. WEP), refer to Social Security's website: https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10045.pdf.

Best, Jerry

Will My Social Security Be Reduced If I Get A PERS Pension?

Category: Non-Covered Pension - WEP / GPO
Mar 17 2017 - 6:30am

Husband will be 62 and will collect as he has been laid off for 7 years getting sporadic work. I am working and will be 60. We have gone through much of our saving to make ends meet and I'm not sure what we can do. I will have a small pension from PERS in California and I wanted to know if there is a reduction in my SS benefits because of my pension. Any guidance would help as we are just about in panic mode. Thank you

Hi,

Yes, if the earnings on which your PERS pension is based were exempt from Social Security taxes, it will likely cause a reduction . . . Read More

Can My Husband File And Suspend?

Category: Suspending Retirement Benefits
Mar 17 2017 - 6:30am

My husband reached full retirement age yesterday (3/15/2017). He has been on Social Security benefits for 2 years. He wanted to file and suspend his benefits until he is 70. The Social Security office told him he can't do it. Is this true? BTW, I was born 10/31/1958 and will have estimated full retirement benefits on my own work history of about half of his.
Can he file and suspend??

Hi,

Yes, your husband can voluntarily suspend his benefits. He's already filed, though, so he doesn't need to file and suspend.

Your husband should re- . . . Read More

Can My Ex-Spouse Get Benefits On My Record?

Category: Divorced Spousal Benefits
Mar 17 2017 - 6:15am

Hi,
My ex-husband is 67 and begin collecting Social Security at age 62. He has never remarried. I am 62 and have not begun to collect. My FRA benefit is significantly larger than his. Can he reapply for ex-spousal benefits to receive a higher amount? If so would in be 50% of my FRA benefit?
We were married for 24 years and have been divorced for 17.

Thank you

Hi,

Your ex may be entitled to divorced spousal benefits on your record, but only if 50% of your full retirement age benefit rate (PIA) is higher than his own PIA. In that . . . Read More

Why The Long Wait Before I Can Get Divorced Spousal Benefits?

Category: Divorced Spousal Benefits
Mar 17 2017 - 6:00am

I turn 62 in April 2017. I just filed for ss. My ex husband turns 62 oct 2017. I was told I have to wait until nov 2018 to collect off his. Why the long wait? Thanks.

Hi,

In order for you to be eligible for divorced spousal benefits, your ex must either be a) drawing retirement or disability benefits, or b) be at least age 62 and your divorce must have been final for at least 2 years. Of course, you must meet all of the other requirements as well (https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/ . . . Read More

Is This True?

Category: Filing Strategies
Mar 17 2017 - 5:45am

My husband is currently receiving SSA benefits. Started in January at age 66. I am 65 years of age. I was told by the SSA in Chicago that I should wait until I am 66 and claim under spousal and my benefits will grow until I am 70. Is this true? I thought SSA did away with this provision. Thanks

Hi,

Yes, it's true. People born prior to January 2 1954 can still file for spousal benefits only at age 66 and let their own retirement benefit rate grow until age 70 (https://www.ssa.gov/planners/ . . . Read More

Do You Have Any Advice For Me?

Category: Filing Strategies
Mar 16 2017 - 9:15am

Just turned 65, Self employed musician, business is starting to go very low income , but years before I made over $80000. This year less than half already. I need as much income to survive as possibleCan you offer me any advie… I will do all I can to return your help and favor for your knowledge sir..

Hi,

If you wait to start drawing, your Social Security benefit rate will continue to increase until you reach age 70. So, if you can afford to wait, that may be your best option. However, if you are married now or you were married in the past, you . . . Read More

When Can I Start Collecting Spousal Benefits?

Category: Spousal Benefits
Mar 16 2017 - 9:00am

Hi , I retired at age 62 I am turning 66 next month , i divorced & then remarried oct of 2016 my husband is 58 when can i start collecting his ss

Hi,

Your husband must be drawing either Social Security retirement or disability benefits in order for you to be potentially eligible for spousal benefits on his record (https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/applying6.html).

Best, Jerry

Should I Apply For Social Security If I Work For The Railroad?

Category: Railroad Retirement & Social Security
Mar 16 2017 - 8:30am

I am 65, a railroader for 15 years, not retiring for a while(?). Wife is 62. Should I apply for SSA in order to get spousal benefits for her? Do I have to accept my SSA benefits in order to do this? Is there a down side? Does it alter my plan to retire in 6-7 years from railroad with RRT1, RRT2, and a company pension? I know I would give up the SSA at that point.

Hi,

Neither you or your wife would be able to receive Social Security (SS) benefits prior to your full retirement age if your earnings are too high ( . . . Read More

When Should I Start Collecting Widow's Benefits?

Category: Non-Covered Pension - WEP / GPO
Mar 16 2017 - 8:00am

I am 65 years old and turning 66 in May. My husband has been deceased since 2007. I am a school teacher in Florida and worked for 13 years. My husbands Social Security would be much more than mine . I am still going to work hopefully until I am 69. I am in a drop program. When I spoke to someone from Social Security, I explained that I would be taking my husbands benefits at 66. When I no longer work, I will be receiving a small pension. Social Security said that there is a possibility that there would be a reduction in my benefits when I stop working due to the fact that I . . . Read More

Can My Brother-In-Law's Wife For Spousal Benefits?

Category: Spousal Benefits
Mar 16 2017 - 8:00am

My brother-in-law is 73 and his wife of over 40 years is 71. She is currently getting less than half of her husbands social security based on her social security earnings. Can she still apply for the spousal benefit and either get a) 50% of her husbands social security or b) the difference between her social security and 50% of her husbands social security? If not, then why not?

Hi,

She can file, but I don't know if she'll be eligible for additional benefits. Your brother-in-law's wife's excess spousal benefit would be calculated by subtracting her . . . Read More

Why Are My Son's Survivor Benefits Counted As Income?

Category: Child Benefits
Mar 16 2017 - 7:45am

My son recieves survivors benefits fro ssi. Why do they include this as my income for eligibility for me to put my daughter in day care. I have to prove every year that the money is spent on my sons needs not my daughters Daycare

Hi,

Well, your son's Social Security survivor benefits are his income, not yours or your daughter's. I don't know what kind of program you are referring to with regard to your daughter's daycare, but if they count your son's income, I assume it's counted as a part of your family income. That's just a guess, though.

. . . Read More

If I Sign Up For Divorced Spousal Benefits At Age 62, Will My Rate Be Permanently Reduced?

Category: Filing Options
Mar 16 2017 - 7:15am

Larry, I will be 62 in a few months. My SS amt, if I take it then, is only $627/mth. I am eligible to draw off my ex spouse who is already 62 but not going to sign up for his SS at this time. He told me his PIA at FRA is $2750/mth. Together we have a disabled adult child (disabled at age 16 - now 43). Our child lives with me and I can only work pt because she requires constant care/supervision. It has been this way for the last 27yrs. My question is, if I sign up for ex spousal benefits at age 62 will I get 1/2 of his FRA amt or will it be reduced and stay at the reduced rate . . . Read More

Can I Draw On My Former Husband's Record At Age 66 And Switch To My Own Record At Age 70?

Category: Filing Strategies
Mar 16 2017 - 7:00am

I'm a single woman raising a 14-year-old grandchild (she is now my daughter by adoption). I plan to work until 70. If I begin to draw at 66, my SS benefit is $1248. If I wait until 70, the benefit is $1648. Question: If I continue to work and contribute to SS, will my benefit ever reach the $1648 I would receive at 70 by waiting?

2nd Question: I am eligible to draw on my former husband's record. Can I begin to draw on his at 66 and switch to mine at 70? Is that allowable?

Thank you ever so much!

Hi,

With regard to your first question, . . . Read More

Is There Any Way To Get A One-Time Lump Sum Payment?

Category: Filing Options
Mar 16 2017 - 6:45am

Hi,
At the age of 42 I became permanently disabled and started receiving SSDI. I am now 68 and receive SS.
My husband was diagnosed with dementia and was placed on SSDI. He is now 70. He is in late stages of his disease.
Is there anyway or are we eligible to get a one time lump sum payment? I will not be able to live off his income alone when he passes if I don't pay off some of our bills.
Thanks so much.
Charlene

Hi Charlene,

I'm sorry, but no. There is a one-time $255 lump sum death benefit that is normally paid . . . Read More

Will I Get Railroad Spousal Benefits And Social Security?

Category: Railroad Retirement & Social Security
Mar 15 2017 - 12:30pm

My husband is a retired Railroad employee. I work as a nurse and pay into Social Security. Will I get my spousal benefit and SS when I retire?

Hi,

Potentially yes, but you can only receive the higher of a) your Social Security benefit rate, or b) your Railroad tier 1 benefit (https://www.rrb.gov/opa/qa/pub_1606.asp), plus any tier 2 Railroad benefits to which you are entitled.

Best, Jerry

Can A Wife Receive Spousal Benefits While Her Own Benefits Are In Suspense?

Category: Spousal Benefits
Mar 15 2017 - 12:00pm

At age 62 the wife (full PIA at 66) starting receiving her worker’s benefit. At age 66 (full PIA age) the husband filed, suspended, and starting receiving spousal benefit on the wife’s earnings record (smaller earnings than husband). In the same month, we suspended the wife’s worker’s benefit. These events occurred before the change in the law in April 2016. Now before either of us turn age 70, can the wife start receiving spousal benefit on the husband’s earnings record and allow the wife’s suspended worker’s benefit to continue to grow at 8% per year? I know this move would . . . Read More

Is My Wife Eligible For Spousal Benefits?

Category: Spousal Benefits
Mar 15 2017 - 12:00pm

I am 63 and have not filed for social security benefits. My wife is 68 and is collecting a reduced benefit starting when she was 62. Is she eligible for a spousal benefit based upon my full retirement age now while I am 63?

Thank you.

Hi,

You must be drawing your retirement benefits in order for your wife to potentially be eligible for an excess spousal benefit on your record. And, she could only be eligible for additional spousal benefits on your record if 50% of your full retirement age benefit rate (PIA) is higher than her own PIA (i.e. . . . Read More

Am I Receiving The Correct Amount Of Disability Benefits?

Category: Disability Benefits
Mar 15 2017 - 11:45am

I worked for over 20 yrs and was fully invested in social security. Had to go on ssd after being diagnosed with MS. I only receive part of my social security, I was told because I'm married and my husband is still working (head of household). It doesn't seem right that I'm not able to get my full amount because I'm married. Is this correct and is there something I can do? I'm 42 and my husband is 44.
Thank you

Hi,

Your husband's earnings would have no effect on your Social Security disability benefits, so I suspect that what you are referring . . . Read More

Can My Wife Get Spousal Benefits If She Took Reduced Benefits On Her Own Record?

Category: Spousal Benefits
Mar 15 2017 - 11:30am

My wife is older than I am by 7 months. She started receiving SS retirement benefits when she was 62. I am now at full retirement age (in 3 months). Her current benefits are way less than my estimated benefits, in fact less than half. Can she now get spousal benefits based on my earnings record? Will there be some reduction because she already has been getting benefits on her own work record?

Hi,

Your wife may be eligible for an excess spousal benefit when you start drawing your benefits, but she'll be stuck with the rate reduction that she took on . . . Read More

Does Receiving Disability Benefits Limit How Long You Can Receive Social Security Benefits?

Category: Disability Benefits
Mar 15 2017 - 11:15am

Does receiving disability benefits in your mid 50s affect how long you can receive Social Security benefits? I understand the amount will remain the same but it seems to not be fair for someone to receive benefits for an extra 10 years over someone that has paid in more and worked longer. I personally know several people that are receiving disability and are perfectly capable of working, they're simply retiring early and getting disability so I'm wondering is there any limit to how much you can milk the system for?

Hi,

No, it doesn't. Social Security . . . Read More

Can My Husband Apply For Spousal Benefits If I Continue To Work?

Category: Filing Strategies
Mar 15 2017 - 11:00am

Hi Larry, My husband is retired age 66 and has not yet applied for SS. I am 64 in May 2017 and am working full time trying to figure out when to retire and max our SS benefits. Can my husband apply for spousal benefit while I continue to work ? We were hoping to let his benefits increase until i retire and collect SS. His FRA benefit is currently $79. per month higher than my FRA if that is a factor. We have received conflicting info from SS. Please advise . Thank you. Becki

Hi Becki,

You must be drawing your retirement benefits in order for your . . . Read More

Can My Granddaughter Receive Benefits On My Record?

Category: Child Benefits
Mar 15 2017 - 10:45am

I am 64 and receiving SS retirement. My husband is 55. We have recently been awarded legal guardianship of our 4 year old granddaughter. I have received conflicting information. Some information states that with legal guardianship, we can receive SS benefits for our granddaughter, and other information states she must be adopted or have disabled parents. Which is correct? I am currently using your software, which gives benefits to the child and my spouse. Thank you.

Hi,

Guardianship is not a determining factor with regard to the eligibility of a . . . Read More

Can I Take Reduced Widow's Benefits Now And Still Get A Full Widow's Benefit In The Future?

Category: Widow's Benefits
Mar 15 2017 - 10:30am

Hi,

I have a basic question that I was unable to receive a straight answer to from the SS representative whom I spoke with.

My husband, 9yrs 4 mo older than me, died in January, 2017. He worked until 70 and was receiving full SS benefits from about 70 to presnt. I am working full time. I was told that I can only make a certain amount of money (toward $17,00) and then there is a rated system for every couple of dollars I make and this reduces the benefit to over $400 less a month than I would recieve if I was at my full retirement of 66 years old.

. . . Read More

What Is Our Best Option?

Category: Filing Strategies
Mar 15 2017 - 8:15am

Dear Larry,

My husband will be 66 this October and I will be 62 this August. Our benefit amounts are $1713 (at 66) and $2262 (at 70) for my husband. My benefit amounts are $1483 (at 62) , $2046 ( at 66), and $2744 ( at 70). We are both currently unemployed. What is our best option to maximize our social security?

Thank you for your time.

Lisa

Hi Lisa,

I don't believe that there is a single best option in your case. One option would be for you to file for your benefits in October so that your husband could receive 4 years of . . . Read More

Can My Wife Get Spousal Benefits?

Category: Non-Covered Pension - WEP / GPO
Mar 15 2017 - 8:00am

My wife collects a federal pension and does not qualify for social security. She will be 66 in January 2018. Can she collect a spousal benefit from me and about how much would she receive. I retired at 62 in July 2015. Thank You so very much. Wayne

Hi Wayne,

It's possible, but unlikely. The Government Pension Offset (GPO) provision (https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10007.pdf) would likely result in the withholding of 2/3rds of the amount of your wife's federal pension from her spousal benefit rate . . . Read More

Do You Have Any Suggestions For Me And My Husband?

Category: Filing Strategies
Mar 14 2017 - 7:45am

I am reading your book right now and taking notes and trying to determine the best way to get what's ours.

I am 62 as of last Friday and my husband is 68.5. He has a job thru his 69 th b day in Sept then he will be laid off when Educational tallship ( Matthew Turner) he is building is finished. He will apply for unemployment and we will most likely move from the Bay Area.

I do not see an easy way to file and suspend and have him collect on spousal benefits and with our age difference it would not work for me.

I have invested in mutual funds that have . . . Read More

When Would Be The Best Time For Me To Apply For Widow's Benefits?

Category: Filing Strategies
Mar 14 2017 - 7:30am

My husband was 66 and passed away recently. My husband and I thought I would get that same amount he was receiving in Soc Sec if he should pass away before me. Of course I found out that's wrong. I am 58. My husband began receiving SS benefits at 62 because we needed the money to make ends meet. What would be the better time/age for me to apply for widow benefits? I haven't worked full time since 1997.
Thank you, Jackie

Hi Jackie,

I'm sorry for your loss.

Your best strategy is likely one of the following:
1) File for widow's . . . Read More

When Can I Apply For Divorced Spousal Benefits?

Category: Divorced Spousal Benefits
Mar 14 2017 - 7:15am

Hi Larry and thanks for reading my question.
I became divorced in 2008 after almost 29 years of marriage.
I became disabled in 2005 and get a very small pension which I have to pay from to receive my Humana health insurance.
My ex husband was ordered to pay me permanant alimony but in 2010 he moved to a nother state and I can not go after him because it is a civil matter and not child support.
This is my question I am 64 but my ex does not turn 62 until July 1st of 2018.
When can I apply to receive half of his social security at the earliest . . . Read More

Is There Only One Best Filing Option For Us?

Category: Filing Strategies
Mar 14 2017 - 7:15am

Dear Larry,

I just finished reading your book. Thank you for talking in terms that regular people can understand. Our question is fairly straight forward. We want to confirm what we gleaned from reading your book.

I will be 62 in August 2017 and my husband will be 66 in October 2017. I was the higher wage earner. We are currently taking time off from our teaching jobs, so we are unemployed. My husband successfully waded through the myriad of rules for Medicare and all is taken care of there. Now we are looking at what to do for social security.

We do . . . Read More

Can I Work Part-Time If I've Filed For Disability Benefits?

Category: Disability Benefits
Mar 14 2017 - 7:00am

i had a brain tumor removed and mini strokes in august 2015 , i was out of leave for 5 months , from june2015 to dec2015 so when i went back to work i was a cashier at our local walmart but i felt i couldnt remember the handling the money , so i moved to the fitting room , and i ended getting fired in nov 2016 , they fired because i left someone in the fitting room but i had a doctor's note saying i needed to sit down every hour for 5 min , so i ended getting unemployment , which just now ran out, but i did apply for disbility on dec 1st .. so they are still deciding , but i . . . Read More

Can I File For Spousal Benefits At Age 66 And Then On My Own At Age 70?

Category: Filing Strategies
Mar 14 2017 - 6:45am

Hi, Larry,
I'm a big fan of your Get What's Yours! book, the revised edition of which I bought last year...but I didn't see the answer to my own situation below:

My wife, who will turn 66 (full retirement age) in Autumn 2020, has been receiving Soc. Sec. disability payments for some time. I’ll turn 66 (full retirement age) in Spring 2019. We’re aware that if her Soc. Sec. disability payments continue until she’s 66, the monthly amount would become her age 66 ‘full retirement’ benefit going forward.

I’m planning to wait until age 70 (2023) to file for Soc . . . Read More

Can I File For Spousal Benefits At Age 62 And Then File On My Own Record At Age 67?

Category: Filing Options
Mar 14 2017 - 6:45am

Hello!
My husband (6/1950) took his benefit at 65. I (9/1957) wonder if I can file for my spousal benefit at 62 and then my higher, full employment Social Security at 67? My age 62 spousal benefit would be lower then my age 62 employment benefit. If I am able to take the lower spousal benefit, will I be able to revert to a full spousal benefit if he passes away?
Thank you for your help.
Jan

Hi Jan,

No, you can't. Since you were born after January 1 1954, whenever you file for either retirement benefits on your own record or . . . Read More

Should I File At Age 66 Or Age 70?

Category: Filing Options
Mar 14 2017 - 6:30am

I was planning to begin Social Security payments when I turn 66 later this year.
Looking at some of the items posted on your web site, it looks like I would be better off drawing on after tax savings and IRA money so that I can wait until age 70.
How can I construct a model to look at this?
I tried to use your sample software. I didn't know how to estimate rate of return for stock market investments. (Should I use the standard 5-7%?)
When I got done, I wasn't sure what the result told me.
Thanks.

Hi,

Larry believes . . . Read More

Can I Still File A Restricted Application For Spousal Benefits Only?

Category: Filing For Benefits
Mar 14 2017 - 6:00am

I will turn 66 (my FRA) on April 3, 2017. My husband is 75 and collecting Social Security. I would like to "file and restrict my benefits to spousal benefits" and have my retirement benefit grow until age 70.
1) Am I correct (per your book "Get What's Yours") that I can do this under the 2015 grandfathering rule, i.e. no deeming of benefit, since I was 64 as of Jan 1 2016?
2) If so, when should I file my application ( after my birthday on April 3, 2017)? It is not clear to me how to answer Q26 on application (when I wish to begin receiving benefits) to be sure I . . . Read More

Can I Take My Social Security At Age 62 And Then Switch To Widow's Benefits Later?

Category: Filing Options
Mar 13 2017 - 6:45am

My husband passed away in 2015. He was on SS Disability. I wanted to know if I can take my SS at 62 then at 66 or before switch to my widow benefit. And if my husband got his Disability in 2010 did he get his full benefit as if he would have at 66?

Hi,

I'm sorry for your loss.

The answer to your question is essentially yes. You wouldn't actually switch to widow's benefits if you file on your own record first, but you could get an excess widow's benefit that would raise your total rate up to the full widow's rate.

Your best filing . . . Read More

Is There Any Way I Can Increase My Benefit Rate?

Category: Divorced Spousal Benefits
Mar 13 2017 - 6:45am

larry I draw ssi on my husband I did not work enough we where married for 15 years
my ssi I s very low his is much higher can I draw some more or only when he passes
away ? i am single and it is hard to make ends meet
thank jou
coby

Hi Coby,

If you're already drawing divorced spouse's benefits on your ex-husband's record, it sounds like you are probably getting as much as you can for now. As you mention, though, your benefit rate would go up in the event that your ex dies before you.

If you are at least age 65, or . . . Read More

Can I Qualify For Disability Benefits?

Category: Disability Benefits
Mar 12 2017 - 8:00am

Hi Larry, can I qualify for SS Disability for either of these two health issues: 1. had quadruple by pass 15 years ago, I am doing fair with that. 2. I just found out I prostate cancer, not too serious yet. I just retired at the age of 60. thanks.

Hi,

I'm sorry to hear about your health problems.

In order to qualify for Social Security disability benefits, your impairment(s) must be severe enough to prevent you from doing any type of substantial gainful work. It doesn't cost anything to file a claim and get a formal determination, so you . . . Read More

Why Is My Income Showing Up As Higher Than My Actual Payment Amount?

Category: Public Assistance Payments
Mar 12 2017 - 7:30am

I get $891 from SSDI when I applied for food stamps my worker listed my unearned income at $962. Where and why did she get the extra $71 because it now puts me above the poverty level to get full FS benefit instead I get $50 FS benefit.

Hi,

I have no idea, unless you have money withheld from your SSDI payments (e.g. taxes, Medicare, withholding to recover an overpayment, etc.) You'll probably need to check with Social Security or your Social Service worker for an explanation.

Best, Jerry

Would It Be A Big Mistake For Me To Start Collecting Now?

Category: Filing Strategies
Mar 12 2017 - 7:15am

My husband was born Jan 1, 1949. I was born June 7, 1952. He has been collecting SS since age 62 due to his asthma. His paltry $600 got reduced to half due to WEP. This happened last year. We also had to pay back about $15,000. (WEP occured because he worked for a Japanese company for 1 year.) I would love to start collecting Social Sec benefits simply because we just need the extra money but I'm also concerned what Trump Administration could with do with the program and I'm thinking get in now while I still can. I would continue working because I can't live on SS alone. I earn . . . Read More

Will I Still Be Allowed To Suspend My Benefits At Full Retirement Age If I Receive Disability Benefits?

Category: Suspending Retirement Benefits
Mar 11 2017 - 6:45am

Hi Larry,
As everyone else I'm amazed with the confusion that you point out in your book.
I have been receiving ssdi since 2/2015 , the maximum, which happened shortly after my 62 nd birthday. DOB 1/13/53 At my attorneys advice, I applied mid November for both ssi and ssdi. I was approved ssdi shortly afterwards.
My wife DOB 12/01/55 worked and at FRA could collect approx. 1400 a month.
Because I filed for ssi with ssdi have I removed the option of suspending my payment at my FRA until 70 years old to allow a larger benefit for my wife?
I'm . . . Read More

Can I File And Suspend My Benefits So That My Wife Can Draw Spousal Benefits?

Category: File and Suspend
Mar 11 2017 - 6:30am

The more research we do the more confused we become on filing for SS. The financial advisers seem to be unclear or avoid the direct question I want to ask. But here goes. I am 66 and my wife is 65, can I still go to SS offices, file and suspend, and can my wife go the the SS offices and file for spousal benefits? She has worked all her life, but her benefits will be less than mine, so the plan is for me to wait until 70 so she can draw more social security benefits when I pass. Thank you for looking into the matter. Background: we both draw a monthly pensions, and have saved $ . . . Read More

Who Can Draw Benefits From My Husband's Record?

Category: Family Benefit Maximum
Mar 11 2017 - 6:00am

Hi Larry, My husband of 18 years filed for SS retirement benefits a few weeks before he was 67,his benefits before Medicare deductions are 2085. He has an ex-spouse, she never worked or never remarried, they were married over 10 years,also they had a child that was disabled before she was 22, she is now 46, still disabled and never married. My history is I became disabled at 34,I had worked, so I received SS disability, at age 66,one month before my husband applied for SS retirement,my SS disability was changed to SS retirement, my SS is $765 before Medicare deductions. SS . . . Read More

Why Can't I Get A Benefit Estimate Online If I've Filed And Suspended My Benefits?

Category: File and Suspend
Mar 10 2017 - 8:30am

HI Larry,

I've filed and suspended so that my wife can claim spousal benefit when she turns 66 (Both of us plan to start taking benefits on turning 70.). Since filing and suspending the social security website no longer shows my estimated/projected benefit amounts. Is this normal? Does this even make sense or do they like to keep us in the dark and surprise us later?

Thanks!

Hi,

Yes, that's normal, but I don't know why Social Security chooses to do it that way. The maximization software available on this website can give you an . . . Read More

Can I Start Drawing Railroad Retirement At Age 68 And Get Higher Social Security Benefits At Age 70?

Category: Railroad Retirement & Social Security
Mar 10 2017 - 8:15am

Larry, I am 68 years old (10/28/48) Currently working for the railroad, I have been there for the last 7.5 years. I have been told that I can stop working, retire and collect Rail Road Retirement today. Then at 70 switch from RRR Tier one to SS and receive the higher SS benefit. Currently RR Retirement Tier one will pay me approximately $3,000 a month. SS at 70 will pay approximately. $ 3,275. A $ 275 dollar a month difference. If I stop working today and take RR Retirement will I still be eligible for the $ 275 difference that SS offers at 70? I am of the understanding that . . . Read More

Should I Wait To Collect?

Category: Filing Strategies
Mar 10 2017 - 8:00am

I am 63 and currently am being advised to wait until I am 66 to retire. If I retire now my benefit would be around 770. If I wait until 66 I will receive 949. I am married and my husband's benefit is 1659.00,,I wouldn't receive any benefit from his social security as a widow..could I collect it now and just save it? Should I wait to collect?

Hi,

If you were born prior January 2 1954, your best strategy may be to file for spousal benefits only on your husband's record at age 66, and then file on your own record at age 70. If your retirement benefit . . . Read More

What Happens If I Collect From Age 66 To 68 And Then Suspend My Benefits?

Category: Suspending Retirement Benefits
Mar 10 2017 - 7:45am

I just turned 64 this year. In two years when i am at full retirement age can collect my social security for two years, suspend it, continue to work and pay into my social security untii age 70? Can you please explain how this would work. I have a credit card debt that needs to be paid off. Thank you!
Brad

Hi Brad,

If you start drawing at age 66 and then suspend your benefits from age 68 to 70, your benefit rate will be 16% higher when they resume at age 70. This would be due to delayed retirement credits (DRC), which are credited at a rate of . . . Read More

What Can I Receive From My Husband's Record?

Category: Widow's Benefits
Mar 10 2017 - 7:30am

my husband died in 1992. When i retire in June 2018, how will that affect the social security benefits i receive in his name?

Hi,

You could be eligible for widow's benefits of up to 100% of the benefit rate that your husband would have received. You can't receive both full widow's benefits and your own benefits, though, so it may be advantageous for you to apply for one benefit first and wait to file for the other benefit later. The maximization software available on this website can help you determine when to apply for each benefit in order to . . . Read More

What Can I Do If My Former Employer Failed To Report My Earnings?

Category: Earnings Subject To Social Security Taxes
Mar 9 2017 - 1:30pm

I discovered that a previous employer did not report my earnings back in 1986. I've been retired (at 66) for a few years now. Is it likely that that $6,000 would make a difference in my monthly Soc. Sec. check now? I have the withholding statement from the employer. The owner is now deceased but the current corp. still exists. How should I handle this?

Hi,

It probably wouldn't make much of a difference, if any, in your benefit rate. It really depends on whether or not 1986 would be among your highest 35 years of work adjusted earnings ( . . . Read More

Am I Correct That My Wife's Teacher's Pension Won't Affect My Social Security Benefits?

Category: Non-Covered Pension - WEP / GPO
Mar 9 2017 - 12:30pm

My wife passed away before I turned 60. I remarried one day after I turned 60 so I would be eligible to file for survivor benefits. My former wife paid into Social Security for 30 years. My new wife is a retired teacher and receives a teacher's pension and will never receive Social Security since her union opted out of Social Security. My understanding is that her teacher's pension will not impact the amount I receive in survivor benefits nor in retirement benefits when I turn 70 and file for my social security benefit. Is that correct?

Hi,

Yes, that' . . . Read More

Should I File For Disability Benefits?

Category: Disability Benefits
Mar 9 2017 - 8:00am

I'm going to be 62 in May and going to file for social security and getting 33 1/3 from my husbands benefits my question is I have fibromyalgia and was thinking if I should file disability

Hi,

You can't file for disability benefits on the record of a current or former spouse who is living, but if you've worked long enough to be insured for disability benefits on your own record, it would likely be advantageous for you to apply for disability benefits if you have an impairment that prevents you from working. For more information on disability benefits . . . Read More

Is Something Happening To Social Security On April 10th?

Category: Miscellaneous
Mar 9 2017 - 8:00am

WHAT IS HAPPENING ON APRIL 10TH TO SOCIAL SECURITY

Hi,

Nothing that I know of.

Best, Jerry

Can My Wife File For Reduced Benefits On Her Own Record And Get A Full Spousal Rate Later?

Category: Filing Strategies
Mar 9 2017 - 7:45am

My wife at age 64 can claim her own social security benefit of $689/mo. I do not plan on filing until age 70 in five years and will have a monthly benefit of about $2000. When I file will she be able to claim her spousal benefit, raising her monthly benefit to $1000? ($689+$311 to bring her up to 50% of my benefit).

Hi,

No, if your wife starts drawing reduced retirement benefits prior to full retirement age, the reduction on her own record is permanent. And, her excess spousal benefit (if any) would be calculated based on 50% of your full retirement . . . Read More

Can My Wife File A Restricted Application?

Category: Filing Strategies
Mar 9 2017 - 7:30am

I am writing for my wife. My wife was born on 4/15/52, we have been married for 21 years and I have been collecting SS benefits for 10 years. My wife was married to her first husband for 19 years and divorced in 1993 and has NOT applied for SS benefits. Is my wife eligible for SS restricted application?

Hi,

Yes, since your wife was born prior to January 2 1954, she could file for spousal benefits on your record at age 66 and let her own benefit rate grow until age 70. This is likely her best filing strategy, but she may want to run the maximization . . . Read More

Can I Still Apply For Divorced Widow's Benefits If I Remarried And Divorced Prior To Age 60?

Category: Divorced Widow(er) Benefits
Mar 9 2017 - 7:30am

I was divorced after 15 years, and remarried before age 60 to the very same person, then divorced again, all before the age of 60. I am receiving a reduced SS payment now at age 64. If he passes away, at 66 can I still apply for divorced widower benefits or is that remarriage to the same person before age 60 a technicality that would bar me from receiving those benefits?

Hi,

Yes, you can. Since your first marriage lasted for more than 10 years, the remarriage wouldn't affect your potential entitlement regardless of who you married, since the . . . Read More

How Can I Find Out The Status Of My Claim?

Category: Disability Benefits
Mar 9 2017 - 7:15am

I submitted my application back in September of 2016. I have been for a CE and I have been for another test. I looked on my status and it says get reentry number, unsubmitted I don't understand that can you help me out

Hi,

I would suggest contacting the Social Security office where your filed your application to check the status of your claim (https://www.ssa.gov/disabilityssi/).

Best, Jerry

How Does A Young Widow's Earnings Affect Her Own Benefits And Those Of Her Child(ren)?

Category: Survivor Benefits
Mar 9 2017 - 7:15am

How does a young widow's income(income from employment) impact her and/or her child's benefit from her deceased husband?

Hi,

Benefits for a young widow with a child in care are subject to partial or full withholding under the Social Security earnings test (https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/whileworking2.html). However, the young widow's earnings would not affect the benefits payable to her children.

Best, Jerry

How Does A Young Widow's Earnings Affect Her Own Benefits And Those Of Her Child(ren)?

Category: Survivor Benefits
Mar 9 2017 - 7:15am

How does a young widow's income(income from employment) impact her and/or her child's benefit from her deceased husband?

Can I File For Spousal Benefits Only And Then Apply For My Own Benefits At Age 70?

Category: Filing Options
Mar 9 2017 - 7:00am

Hello: I will be 65 this year (June) and have not applied for SS yet. My husband will be 62 in Sept this year and will be applying to normal SS and following up with a request for SS disability, he is an 80% disabled veteran. He has been working for 30 years, but needs to retire due to complications. My question is, can I apply for SS requesting spousal benefits until I reach 70 years of age and then apply for my own SS? If by chance he is not approved for for SS disability, and has to stay at a reduced rate (62 years of age) what happens to the widow benefit when he passes? . . . Read More

Can My Granddaughter Have A Bank Account If She's Receiving Disability Benefits?

Category: Disability Benefits
Mar 9 2017 - 7:00am

my granddaughter 21 yrs old is on disability Can she have a savings acct or checking acct?

Hi,

Yes. If she's receiving Social Security disability benefits, there is no limit on the amount of money that she could have in a bank account. However, if she's receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI), there is a limit of $2,000 on total countable assets (https://www.ssa.gov/ssi/).

Best, Jerry

Will My Benefits Be Recalculated To Include Higher Earnings?

Category: Benefit Amount
Mar 9 2017 - 6:45am

I filed and suspended when I turned 66 (I'm 67 now). I salary increased substantially this past year so will my PIA be recalculated to reflect the higher 35 year average when I actually take benefits at age 70?

Hi,

Yes, Social Security automatically recalculates the benefit rates of beneficiaries who have earnings high enough to raise their benefit amount, even if their benefits are in suspense (https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10070.pdf).

Best, Jerry

Can My Daughter Be Entitled To Both CDB And SSDI Benefits?

Category: Disabled Adult Child Benefits
Mar 8 2017 - 8:30am

My daughter receives CDB on her mothers record (mother retired). She has a part time job making less than SGA. She has now however become eligible to draw a small check on her own record. She does not receive SSI cash benefits. Question: Is my daughter now entitled to both her CDB benefits and SSDI on her own record?

Hi,

Yes, your daughter could be entitled to both Social Security disability benefits on her own record and disabled adult child's benefits on a parent's record. However, she can only receive the higher of the 2 benefit rates, not both . . . Read More

Will I Be Able To Receive Full Widow's Benefits Even Though I Get Reduced Retirement Benefits?

Category: Divorced Widow(er) Benefits
Mar 8 2017 - 8:15am

I receive my reduced benefit of $720 at age 63. My ex receives 1200 in disability. If he passes away will I be able to Apply for 1200 in widower benefits if I have reached my full retirement age by then, even though I started receiving my own benefits early?

Hi,

Yes, but you would only receive the higher benefit rate, not that rate plus your own. Of course, this assumes that you meet the requirements for surviving divorced spousal benefits (https://www.ssa.gov/planners/survivors/ifyou3.html . . . Read More

Can I Still Get Spousal Benefits If I Receive A German Pension?

Category: Non-Covered Pension - WEP / GPO
Mar 8 2017 - 8:00am

I am born, lived and worked nearly all my live in Germany. I moved to the USA in 2010 after marrying an US citizen. Now I am 64 years old. I have only worked 5 years part-time in the USA. Due to that fact and special regulations/laws in Germany I will be eligible for full retirement on 1st March 2017. Since about 2 years I am getting as well spouse's benefits from my husbands Social Security. (He is already retired.) I will not get any US Social Security benefits on my own account . The 5 years I worked here in the USA just count towards my years for being eligible for my full . . . Read More

Can My Wife File For Retirement Benefits Now And Spousal Benefits When I Retire?

Category: Filing Strategies
Mar 8 2017 - 7:45am

My wife will be 65 in May and has work some during the last 30+ years, her SS report her benefit at approx. $400/mo. I am 59, I am the high earning spouse. Can she apply for her benefits now and then when I retire at 66 or 67 reapply spousal benefits?

Hi,

Yes, but if she starts drawing her retirement benefits prior to full retirement age, she'll keep the reduction that she takes even if she later becomes eligible for additional spousal benefits.

For example, say Jane has a full retirement age rate (PIA) of $400, but she starts drawing at age 65 . . . Read More

Can I Suspend My Retirement Benefits When I Turn 66?

Category: Suspending Retirement Benefits
Mar 8 2017 - 7:45am

I have been receiving social security disability benefits. I will turn 65 years old this year. Is there a way to increase my retirement benefits by suspend them when I turn 66 and wait until I am 70 to start collecting?
Thanks

Hi,

Yes, effective with the month that you reach age 66, you can suspend your retirement benefits and resume drawing them at age 70. If you suspend them for the full 4 years, your benefit rate will be 32% higher when your benefits resume at age 70.

You must request suspension no later than the month prior to the . . . Read More

Will I Still Get Delayed Retirement Credits On My Own Record If I Receive Spousal Benefits At FRA?

Category: Filing Strategies
Mar 7 2017 - 8:00am

If I collect a spousal benefit at my FRA and medicare is deducted from the spousal social security benefit will I still get the delayed retirement credit on my RIB?

Hi,

Yes, if you are eligible to file for spousal benefits only at FRA (i.e. born prior to January 2 1954), you can draw the spousal benefits and still receive delayed retirement credits on your own record until age 70 (https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/deemedfaq.html).

Best, Jerry

Can My Wife Get A Spousal Benefit?

Category: Spousal Benefits
Mar 7 2017 - 7:45am

My wife only worked 11 years , started drawing at 62 (9/2012 ) , receives $418 after medicare deduction . My ss is $1829 after medicare deductions ( 11/2012 ) . Can she get spousal benefit ?

Hi,

It sure appears as though she'd be eligible for an excess spousal benefit from your record. Her excess spousal benefit would be calculated by subtracting her full retirement age rate (PIA) from 50% of your full retirement age rate. That excess could then be paid in addition to the reduced retirement rate she currently receives.

If she hasn't already . . . Read More

Did I Make A Mistake?

Category: Filing Options
Mar 7 2017 - 7:30am

OK. The deed is done but now what? I elected to start SS at 62. Here's why: I have a pension for life of $18,000 / year that is indexed to inflation with a reputable university and includes health benefits. I've been drawing on my 403B account since 2003 using the Periodic Payments methods of the IRS to avoid the 10% penalty and it's virtually the same amount of money since I started (IE I've been living off the interest) AND I want to leave the remains of it to my sister who is living on disability. My SS is $20,500 per year.

So with the SS checks I've suspended PP and . . . Read More

Can I Draw Spousal Benefits If My Husband Is Working?

Category: Spousal Benefits
Mar 7 2017 - 7:15am

I will be 62 in April 2017. My husband is 58. Can I draw spousal benefits if he is still working

Hi,

No, the soonest that you could draw spousal benefits on your husband's record is the month that he starts drawing his benefits.

Best, Jerry

Can I Collect Spousal Benefits If I Work Full Time?

Category: Earnings Test
Mar 7 2017 - 7:15am

MY HUSBAND IS GOING TO BE 76 IN SEPT 2017, AND HE IS COLLECTING HIS SOCIAL SECURITY, I WILL BE 61 JULY 2017 AND I WORK FULL TIME, MY QUESTION IS SINCE I AM GOING TO BE 61 THIS YEAR CAN I GO COLLECT A PORTION OF HIS BENEFITS EVEN THOUGH I WORK FULL TIME

Hi,

You must be at least age 62 to be eligible for reduced spousal benefits, and your benefits could be subject to partial or full withholding until you reach full retirement age (FRA). The Social Security earnings test requires withholding of $1 of benefits for each $2 that you earn in excess of an . . . Read More

Does Receipt Of A COLA Increase Depend On The Month You Start Benefits?

Category: Cost Of Living Increases
Mar 7 2017 - 7:00am

I'll be 66 and receive social security on January of 2018. Say the cola increase declared in oct of 2017 going into effect january of 2018 is 2%. would I receive the 2% increase if I start my checks in January of 2018, or do I have to apply and start my social checks coming in say December 2017 to receive the raise. I was told the cola raise would have been for 2017 and if you weren't receiving in 2017 this would not increase your payment if you start in 2018. This would then be a no brainer. An extra check and a raise compared to a small loss for going a month early.

. . . Read More

Should I Wait Past Age 70 To Apply On My Own Record?

Category: Filing Strategies
Mar 6 2017 - 8:15am

I sent you an email last night regarding my SS benefit and if I filed too early 3/3/17 I turned 70 on 2/26/17. When I ran my figures through your program I bought, it came back stating my benefit would be $300 more if I waited to collect until next year 2018 when I am 71. Can you explain why? I collected 1/2 my husbands benefit from 67 years old to now. Mine is more now but I still work and can wait another year if I will really get another $300/month? Can you explain????

Hi,

If your own retirement benefit rate is higher than your divorced spousal . . . Read More

What Is The Best Strategy For Me?

Category: Filing Strategies
Mar 6 2017 - 8:00am

I am 64, turning 65 on July 11, 2017.
My wife is 39.
I have many health issues. What is best strategy for me. I have some memory problem, so I can't always understand everything. Any advice will be appreciated.
Thank you

Hi,

You may want to look into filing for Social Security disability benefits. For more information regarding the eligibility requirements, refer to Social Security's website: https://www.ssa.gov/disabilityssi/.

You may also want to consider using the . . . Read More

Do I Need To Do Anything At Age 65 If I'm Getting Disbility Benefits?

Category: Disability Benefits
Mar 6 2017 - 8:00am

I am on social security disability but I turn 65 in august. My question is do I have to do anything or does it automatically change over at 65. Do I have to fill out any paperwork ahead of time? Thanks

Hi,

Nothing will change when you turn 65. When you reach full retirement age (FRA) at age 66, your disability benefits will convert to retirement benefits at the same rate. No action on your part is required with regard to this conversion.

Best, Jerry

Have I Made Any Mistakes?

Category: Filing Strategies
Mar 6 2017 - 7:45am

I turned 70 years old on 2/26/17 and I have continuously worked and planning or working for about another 5 years. I have 2 questions. I never applied for mine and I suspended my benefits at age 67 and collected 1/2 my EX husbands SS benefit since that time so I could get the 32% increase on mine at age 70. I just applied for my benefit on 3/3/17 on line and I am wondering if the new suspend law that started in April 2016 has an effect on my actions for collecting now. Did I lose anything by suspending my own benefit until age 70? He is still alive and there has not been any . . . Read More

Can I File For Spousal Benefits At Age 66 And Switch To My Own Record At Age 70?

Category: Filing Strategies
Mar 6 2017 - 7:30am

I am almost 66. I was married for 18 years. I continue to work, I hope at least to age 68. Can I file for my spousal benefit at 66, which should be around $1100, allowing mine to continue to grow, then switch to my own higher amount (around $2400) at 70? This would allow my own benefit to grow by almost $800 over that 4 years.

Hi,

Yes, since you were born prior to January 2 1954, this is still an available option for you. It sounds like this would be your best strategy provided that you meet the requirements for spousal or divorced spousal benefits . . . Read More

Should I File Sooner If My Spouse Is Age 70 And Not Insured For Benefits?

Category: Filing Strategies
Mar 5 2017 - 7:15am

Hi Larry! I've been following your column on social security for the past few years. I am currently 65 and retired unexpectedly last year. My wife is 70 but she does not have enough work credits to qualify for Social Security on her own. We were originally going to follow the File and Suspend strategy so that she could get spousal benefits next year and I could wait as long as I could until I reached 70. Since the law has changed to close this "loophole" we don't know what to do. Should I file now (or at least at FRA next year) so that my wife can get spousal benefits? Given . . . Read More

How Do I Get My Last Quarter Of Coverage To Qualify For Benefits?

Category: Earnings Subject To Social Security Taxes
Mar 5 2017 - 7:00am

I have 10 years less one quarter of employment, years ago. Last 20 years of self-employment. How do i get that last quarter to qualify for social security and Medicare. I am 63.

Hi,

The only way to get a quarter of coverage is to earn enough to qualify. In 2017, the amount of earnings needed for a quarter of coverage is $1300 (https://www.ssa.gov/OACT/COLA/QC.html).

The earnings can be from either wages or self-employment, or a combination of the two. In the case of wages, the countable . . . Read More

Was The Advice We Got About Filing Online Correct?

Category: Filing For Benefits
Mar 4 2017 - 7:00am

We sent our questions into "Ask Larry" on PBS, & did not receive any response. Now, we know why.

My wife, Cindy turns 66 on Aug. 11. I am 66. I turn 67 in July. I am already collecting SS on my own earning record. Cindy wants to start receiving restricted spousal SS benefits ASAP after she reaches full retirement age. Then, when she turns 70, she wants to switch to benefits based on her own record. Cindy wants to apply online.

We have called SS multiple times & have received different answers for how Cindy should apply for SS. Some of the people, who . . . Read More

Can I Take Railroad Divorced Spousal Benefits At Age 62 And Then File For My Social Security Benefits At FRA?

Category: Railroad Retirement & Social Security
Mar 4 2017 - 6:45am

Hi Larry,
I qualify for an ex-spousal reduced RRR Benefit (37% at 62) however, my own reduded Social Security benefits at 62 amount to a higher monthly benefit than the ex-spouse RRR benefit, am I still allowed to collect the reduced RRR benefit at 62 and wait until my full Retirement SS amount at 66.4 ?

Hi,

Yes, you can file for Railroad benefits whenever you're eligible without also being deemed to file for your Social Security benefits. If you subsequently file for Social Security benefits, you'll receive basically the higher of your Social . . . Read More

Does Remarriage Bar Entitlement To Survivor Benefits?

Category: Widow(er) Benefits
Mar 4 2017 - 6:30am

I am a young Financial Advisor in need of some clarification on an interesting social security case. I have a couple who are not married yet both age 58 but are considering marriage. The woman, however, is a survivor and therefore should be entitled to her deceased husbands benefits at age 60. It is my understanding that she should file for his survivor benefits at age 60, however do not file for her own, allowing them to roll up. If she and her current boyfriend were to get married. Would she lose her right to her survivor benefit under the new rules? Also as I understand it, . . . Read More

May I Draw On My Ex's Social Security Record?

Category: Divorced Spousal Benefits
Mar 4 2017 - 6:15am

Hello, I've been divorced 10 years. My ex is 70 and not working. I'm 63 and working. May I draw on his social security benefits? Thank you.

Hi,

Assuming that you were married to your ex for at least 10 years and are now unmarried, you would likely be at least potentially eligible for divorced spousal benefits now. However, if you file prior to full retirement age your benefit rate will be reduced, and you will be deemed to have also applied for reduced benefits on your own record. And, your benefits could be subject to full or partial withholding . . . Read More

What Is The Income Restriction Based On?

Category: Earnings Test
Mar 4 2017 - 6:15am

as a widow of non retirement age, what is income restrictions based on... a W-2 or my tax return?

Hi,

I assume that you are referring to the Social Security earnings test (https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/whileworking2.html). If so, countable earnings include gross wages from W-2 forms and/or net earnings from self-employment as reported on Schedule SE of a person's tax return.

Best, Jerry

Will I Have Any Liability For WEP On Non-Covered Pension Income Received Prior To Starting Social Security?

Category: Non-Covered Pension - WEP / GPO
Mar 3 2017 - 6:30am

I am drawing a pension from Canada. Part of it is for work for Canadian employers (CPP). And part of it is a benefit based on years of residence in Canada (OAS).

I have elected to defer my Social Security benefit for a couple years, when I turn 70. I know I am subject to the WEP then, although by then I will have 27 years of substantial contributions to SS.

But I will draw 2 years of pension benefits from Canada before I start SS. Do I have any liability for WEP on this income? I would like to avoid the surprise of SS saying I owe 2 years worth of WEP offsets . . . Read More

Shouldn't I Be Held Harmless With Regard To My Part B Premium?

Category: Medicare
Mar 3 2017 - 6:15am

Hi Larry,

I started medicare part B on November 1, 2013 with the premium taken out of my SS benefit payment. MY part B premium for
2014 and 2015 was about $104.90. The part B premium for 2016 was $170.50 due to income above $170,000. For 2017
I submitted SSA-44 and my premium was reduce from $187.50 to $131. ("$134.00 for the standard Medical Premium minus
$3.00 for the reduction in your standard monthly premium") Shouldn't my Part B premium be $109 due to the hold harmless provision?

Thank You,
Bill

Hi Bill, . . . Read More

Can I Get SSI After Age 65 If I Become Disabled?

Category: Supplemental Security Income
Mar 3 2017 - 6:15am

can I get SSI after 65 and drawing social security if I become disabled ?

Hi,

If you're age 65 or older, you don't need to be disabled to qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), which is a needs based program administered by Social Security. However, you must meet all of the other requirements in order to qualify. For more information, refer to Social Security's website: https://www.ssa.gov/ssi/.

Best, Jerry

Can My Husband Get Medicare Coverage If He's Not A U.S. Citizen?

Category: Medicare
Mar 3 2017 - 6:00am

Our family got our green card in 1992. In 2000 my husband got a very good job overseas and gave up his green card. He had 32 Social Security credits at that time. Our children and I stayed on here. He has now 69 years old, retired, and wishes to come back to the US.
Question:
Will he get Medicare benefits (I know he will have to pay for Part A till he can make up 40 points) when he gets his green card? Or will he have to wait 5 years to get Medicare? Does the clock pick up from the year 2000 when he left, or does it start afresh? Very confused.

. . . Read More

Can I Draw Benefits On My Husband's Record?

Category: Disability Benefits
Mar 2 2017 - 7:30am

I am 58. My husband is 48. I am completely disabled. I an not eligible for benefits as Social Security did not recognize what I paid in on my rental property. I was disabled and not working for a full time wage since 1993. I lived on my assetts having invested in real estate wisely, not using banks but buying on contract using one property to support the other. I had 19 front doors now I have two left. I receive a house payment (having sold a house on contract) of 445.86 not much but the winter utilities are killer. This is my monthly income. Because the Goverment now requires . . . Read More

Can My Wife Get Medicare Coverage Based On My Record?

Category: Medicare
Mar 2 2017 - 7:30am

I AM 66 AND DRAWING SOCIAL SECURITY AND ON MEDICARE A&B. My spouse is turning 65 next month. She still works but will only have 36 Quarters of work credit by the end of the year-2017. May she apply now to obtain Medicare on my account? I was told she would also have to apply for Social Security benefits under my account in order to get the Medicare. Is this true? Last, if she gets medicare now under my account will she be able to collect Social Security under her own account in 2018 when she has 40 Quarters of credit herself? Thanks

Hi,

Yes, your . . . Read More

Should My Husband Start Drawing His Benefits At Age 62?

Category: Filing Options
Mar 2 2017 - 7:15am

Hi Larry,

My husband will turn 62 this year and does not currently have a FT job. I am 46 and work FT. Should my husband collect SS benefits now or wait until full retirement? I still have many years before I am eligible for my own SS benefits. Also, how will this affect my eligibility for spousal benefits? Thank you.

Hi,

Deciding when to start drawing benefits is a personal decision, but if your husband starts drawing his benefits at age 62 he'll receive a reduced rate of about 74-75% of his full retirement age rate. And, most of that . . . Read More

How Much Will My Wife Receive As My Spouse?

Category: Spousal Benefits
Mar 2 2017 - 7:00am

If I am receiving $2000 from SS currently, and my wife begins to receive spousal benefits at age 62 (she is not eligible for her own benefits), how much will she receive? If she starts receiving this at age 62, and then I die, how much will she receive for Survivor benefits?

Hi,

If your wife starts drawing reduced spousal benefits at age 62, she'll get between 65% to 70% of one-half of your full retirement age benefit rate (PIA). So, if your PIA is $2000, she'd get between $650 & $700 per month, depending on her year of birth.

If you die . . . Read More

Can My Wife File On Her Own Record At Age 65 And Switch To Spousal Benefits Later?

Category: Filing Strategies
Mar 2 2017 - 6:45am

Under the laws for 2017 - can my wife who will be 65 in May 2017 start drawing Social Security against her earnings and then when I start drawing at age 66 (FRA) can she switch over to a spousal benefit which will give her more income? If so what do we need to specify when we sign her up for Social Security? Both born in 1952.
Thanks

Hi,

No, she wouldn't be able to switch to spousal benefits, but she could potentially receive an excess spousal benefit in addition to her own reduced retirement benefit. Once a person starts drawing retirement . . . Read More

Would I Qualify For Higher Benefits On My New Spouse's Record If I Remarry?

Category: Spousal Benefits
Mar 1 2017 - 8:15am

If I remarry after the age of 67 am I eligible for SS benefits based on my 2nd spouses benefit(s) or earnings which are higher than benefits based on my former spouse's earnings.

Hi,

Potentially, yes (https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/applying6.html). However, unless you are already drawing benefits on a former spouse's record, you would not be eligible for spousal benefits on your new spouse's record until you have been married for 1 year.

Best, Jerry

How Can I Find Out If I Can Get More Disability Money?

Category: Disability Benefits
Mar 1 2017 - 8:15am

I have been receiving Social Security Disability since 2006. My check right now is about $1100. How can I find out if I can get more disability money. I am now widowed and the extra money would really help.
I also receive a Survivor's benefit from my husband. Also his pension and a life insurance annuity.

Hi,

You can check with Social Security, but it sounds like you're probably getting all of the Social Security benefits to which you're currently entitled, unless you had another marriage and could receive a higher benefit rate on their record . . . Read More

Why Does The Maximize My Social Security Software Show Potential Survivor Benefits For My Wife?

Category: Non-Covered Pension - WEP / GPO
Mar 1 2017 - 8:00am

My wife is a teacher in Connecticut covered by the State Teachers Retirement Plan and does not pay into Social Security. Maximize My Social Security shows that she will receive a survivor's benefit if I die first. I have paid Social Security Tax since 1975 and have substantial earnings since 1979. A financial planner told us that if I die first, my wife will not receive a survivor's benefit because she only has 9 years of substantial earning under Social Security and is subject to WEP and GPO. Why does Maximize My Social Security show the survivor's benefit for my wife?

. . . Read More

Can My Granddaughter Get Benefits On My Social Security Record?

Category: Child Benefits
Mar 1 2017 - 7:45am

I AM LOOKING TO RETIRE AT 62 ON SOCIAL SECURITY,I HAVE BEEN TAKING CARE OF MY GRAND-DAUGHTER SINCE BIRTH,SHE HAS LIVED WITH ME HER WHOLE LIFE.HER MOTHER AND FATHER ARE NOT MARRIED AND NEITHER OF THEM LIVE WITH ME.SHE GET HEALTH INSURE FROM MEDICARE THROUGH WAREFARE,BECAUSE HER MOTHER DOES NOT WORK AND THE FATHER PAYS 500.00 A MONTH TO MOTHER FOR CHILD SUPPORT.BUT I PROVIDE A HOME FOR HER AND TAKE CARE OF HER.I DONT HAVE CUSTODY OF HER.
WOULD I BE ABLE TO COLLECT ANY SOCIAL SECURITY FOR HER WHEN I GO ON SOCIAL SECURITY,UNTIL SHES 18.IF I HAD TO ADOPT HER TO COLLECT,WOULD . . . Read More

Is It Correct That I Can't Get Spousal Benefits?

Category: Non-Covered Pension - WEP / GPO
Mar 1 2017 - 7:30am

My husband is 71 and waited until 70 to claim SS. I am 66 and have not claimed. I was told I could claim Spousal Benefits now then at 70, decide whether to file for my own or stay on Spousal. We went to SS office that said NO because I draw a pension from my teaching career where no SS was taken out. Is this correct?

Hi,

Probably. If you receive a government (e.g. Federal, State, Local) pension based on your work that was exempt from Social Security taxes, the Government Pension Offset (GPO) provision requires 2/3rds of the amount of the government . . . Read More

Does The Sale Or Purchase Of A House Affect My Disability Benefits?

Category: Disability Benefits
Feb 28 2017 - 7:30am

Hi Larry. Got a question. Back in 2015 I sold my home because i was no longer able to care for it. I am disabled. Gave it away really, took a 25,000 loss. I did get 37,000. I purchased a another home with my sister and brother in law. So the money made from my house sale went into another home. My brother in law and I got approved for a loan on this other home that was 160,000. I put up 30,000 and bro in law and sis put up 12,000. Anyway we close and move in. Four month later. Sis said I was no longer needed there, that they could make it on what my bro in law makes. So now Im . . . Read More

Was Social Security Correct To Raise The Rate Of My Medicare Premiums?

Category: Medicare
Feb 28 2017 - 7:00am

i was not 66 age of retirement.nor had i apply in social security system.2014 I took a large amount of funds out of retirement I was hit for tax for doing so and file on my 2015 Taxes.
I file for a hardship yes in2014, I had to start paying into Medicare in july monthly payment for 6 month thin after i started drawing social security and payment for medicare was taken out of my social security,But I had to pay for July out of pocket.I got my july check for August.
I was not in Social Security system in 2014 at all when they took $267 for medicare payment from my . . . Read More

Will My Divorced Spousal Benefits Reduce My Ex's Benefit Payments?

Category: Divorced Spousal Benefits
Feb 28 2017 - 7:00am

If I'm able to draw ss off x spouse after being married 21 yrs would it cut his ck he will be 66 this yr & I'm 62?

Hi,

No, if you become entitled to divorced spousal benefits it will have no effect on the benefit rate paid to your ex-husband, nor to any other beneficiaries eligible on his record.

Best, Jerry

What Can We Do With The Software?

Category: Maximize My Social Security Software
Feb 27 2017 - 6:15am

Larry, we just purchased your software license for households. My wife and I would like to know about different scenarios--such as I take SSA at 62, or FRA, even age 70--and my wife take it at different times at FRA,while I take it as above, or she waits till age 70,etc....is that possible with the software. We were overwhelmed with all the numbers....

Thanks

Ron and Bets

Hi Ron & Bets,

Yes, you can run all of the various scenarios you mentioned using the software. The filing options available to you differ depending upon your ages . . . Read More

When Do You Think I Should Claim My Benefits?

Category: Filing Strategies
Feb 27 2017 - 6:00am

I am 61 and 6 months old. My full retirement age is 65 and 2 months. I am planning on collecting widow's benefits. My first husband died in 1985 on our 5th anniversary day. I had 2 babies with a third on the way. We were able to survive on SS survivor benefits. I was a stay at home mom for awhile and then worked at a private school for the kids tuition. In 1998 I remarried and had another son. This marriage ended in divorce in 2004. I am not able to collect benefits from my ex husband because we were not married 10 years. I was told I could collect widow's benefits because when . . . Read More

Can We Do This?

Category: Filing Strategies
Feb 27 2017 - 5:45am

Wife will be 62 on March 2017. Husband was 66 in January 2017. Husband is not currently collecting Social Security. Husband has the social security higher earning record. Wife was works part time.
Can we do the following?
Wife would like to begin her benefits April 2017 at 62 and 1 month. Wife will file first.
Husband will file a restricted spousal benefit after wife files in April 2017 at 66 and 3 months.
Husband switches based on his earning for benefits in January 2021 at age 70
Wife adds spousal benefits in January 2021 at 65 and 10 months . . . Read More

How Can I Tell If Military Credits Were Added To My Social Security Record?

Category: Veterans Benefits
Feb 26 2017 - 10:15am

Larry,
I was active duty U.S.Army from 1973 to 2001. I signed up for Social Security Retirement (January 2017. How can I tell if I'm received the special extra earnings for periods of active duty to be credited to my Social Security earnings record?

Thank you,

Frank

Hi Frank,

Starting with 1968, Social Security began automatically adding deemed military wages for periods of active duty. About the only way to see if you received the extra credits is to compare the amounts posted to your Social Security earnings record with the . . . Read More

Will I Lose My Veteran's Benefits If I File For Social Security Widow's Benefits?

Category: Widow's Benefits
Feb 26 2017 - 10:00am

Hi Mr Larry
I'm the surviving spouse of a Retired Military Veteran. I am drawing both DIC Benefits & DFAS-SSIA Benefits. I was told, at the time of my husband's death in 2011, that I could begin drawing from his SS benefits when I reached age 60. I will be 60 in April of this yr (2017). My question is... Will I lose my surviving spouse military benefits (either all OR partial) when I start drawing benefits from my late husband's SS?
Thank I for your help.

Hi,

I'm sorry, but Social Security is my only area of expertise. I can tell . . . Read More

Can I Report My Self-Employment Income In My Wife's Name?

Category: Earnings Test
Feb 26 2017 - 8:30am

I'm a self employed farmer,about to turn 62. My wife is seven years younger and doesn't work off the farm. If I take my Social Security this year at age 62,can we sell commodities in the wife's name,continue to file a joint tax return,and not have to pay a penalty on my Social Security? If so,would we have to buy inputs in her name also? Could we farm under her name (income and expenses) and not have to pay a penalty if we filed joint or as "Married,filing separate"?

Hi,

Self-employment earnings are supposed to be reported under the Social Security . . . Read More

Will My Social Security Be Reduced If I Retire And Receive A Pension?

Category: Non-Covered Pension - WEP / GPO
Feb 26 2017 - 8:30am

I received social security (disability) under my husband record who is deceased. I have not worked since 2005 but I am not retired and plan to do so this year under the pension plan. Will my income be reduced, I am 64.

Hi,

I can't give you a definite answer based on the information furnished in your question. Certain types of pensions can cause Social Security benefits to be reduced or offset, but only if the earnings on which the pensions are based were exempt from Social Security taxes. For more information on these provisions, refer to these . . . Read More

Will I Have To Pay For Part A Of Medicare?

Category: Medicare
Feb 26 2017 - 8:00am

I just started receiving my ex-husband's Social Security widow death benefit. Because it bumped up my income, I lost my DPW Medical Assistance because I know longer qualified. Will I also now have to pay for Medicare Part A in addition to buying a supplement to replace M.A.? It was my understanding that Part A is a government- covered program and that I would only have to buy Part B -- the supplemental per cent that Medicare Part A does not pay. Can you clear this up for me?

Hi,

Medicare eligibility does not begin until you reach age 65, unless you . . . Read More

How Can My Wife And I Maximize Our Benefits?

Category: Filing Strategies
Feb 26 2017 - 7:30am

My wife who was born in 1953 will be FRA in June of 2019. She has no real work history and will be eligible only for spousal benefits when I draw them. I am 3 years younger as I was born in May of 1956. If I apply for my benefit when she turns 66 (her FRA) and I am 63 will she recieve 50% of my draw at 63 or 50% of my projected benefit that I would have received at my FRA? What would be my best stategy to maximize our total benefit over the years?

Hi,

If your wife is at least age 66 when she becomes eligible for spouse's benefits, her benefit rate . . . Read More

Can I Collect Benefits On My Own Record At 63 And Switch To Widow's Benefits At Age 66?

Category: Filing Options
Feb 26 2017 - 7:15am

I am 63 and eligible to begin receiving benefits under my own name or that of my deceased husband. My benefit is considerably less than my spouse's. Can I collect the smaller amount in my name until I am 66 and then switch to the higher benefit of my husband?

Hi,

Essentially, yes you can, but you wouldn't actually switch to the higher widow's benefit. Social Security would continue to pay you your own benefit, plus an excess widow's benefit that would bring your combined rate up to the full widow's rate. Same effect, though.

However, your . . . Read More

How Will Social Security Affect My Teacher Retirement?

Category: Non-Covered Pension - WEP / GPO
Feb 26 2017 - 7:15am

I will be 62 in November. I can begin drawing teacher retirement in 3 years and want to know if I can begin drawing Social Security at 62. How will this affect my teacher retirement?

Hi,

If you are insured for Social Security benefits (https://www.ssa.gov/oact/progdata/insured.html), you can start drawing them at a reduced rate at age 62, but your benefits would be subject to withholding if you continue to work and earn too much ( . . . Read More

Why Can't My Wife & Child Receive Benefits On My Record If I File And Suspend?

Category: Filing Strategies
Feb 26 2017 - 6:45am

Jerry, thank you for your very prompt reply! However, it leaves me with a serious question: You state “your wife and child couldn't get benefits on your record while your benefits are suspended”. Perhaps I don’t understand some nuance in your phrasing here, but this would seem to directly contradict the very premise of Larry & Paul’s book, which describes in the first few pages the genesis of the book in a conversation about the benefits of filing, suspending, and collecting spousal benefits. Is the point that, in the case of spousal child-in-care benefits and disabled . . . Read More

Am I Understanding Everything Correctly?

Category: Filing Strategies
Feb 25 2017 - 10:45am

Dear Larry,

Thanks for all your helpful info online. I am 65 and my wife passed away last year at age 61. I will earn about $50K this year. My wife's SS benefit at full retirement age would be around $16,500.00. If I am understanding everything correctly, I would be penalized 50% on all of my wages over $16,920.00. That means $50,000 minus $16,920 equals $33,080 divided by 2 equals $16,540.00 penalty. Bottom line: it makes no sense for me to apply for survivor's benefits this year as I would "fail" the earnings test.

If I apply next year after I turn 66, then I . . . Read More

Can My Wife Get Half Of My Benefit Amount When I File?

Category: Spousal Benefits
Feb 25 2017 - 10:30am

Howdy, I purchased MMSS program and used it to make my decisions. My wife took her ss at 62. At 66, I filed a restricted application and applied for half of my wife's ss. I plan to apply for my ss at 68 (next year, did not want to wait until 70). Can my spouse then apply for ss based on my work hx and receive half? I assume as a widow she would be able to apply for my full benefit.
thanks,
George

Hi George,

Your wife can apply for spousal benefits on your record when you file for your retirement benefits, but she'll only be eligible if . . . Read More

Can I Still File For Divorced Spousal Benefits At Age 66 & Switch To My Own Record At Age 70?

Category: Filing Strategies
Feb 25 2017 - 10:00am

I am presently 64.5 , my ex-spouse (we were married over 10 yrs and I never remarried) turned 65 in Feb, 1017. I was first told by an agent at Soc Sec that I qualified for up to his 50% amount at my age 66 (and that at my age 70 I could switch and collect on mine instead, therefore letting mine continue to grow). The agent (rep?) went in the back to print out the information and came back saying I will never qualify for the Divorced spousal benefits (even if he dies) because of a law passed in 2015 under Obama administration. I told her that I was very confused because I . . . Read More

Shouldn't I Be Eligible For Widow's Benefits?

Category: Widow's Benefits
Feb 25 2017 - 8:30am

My husband died in 2015 at the age of 64. He had been receiving disability social security. I had retired in 2010. Today,Feb 24, 2017, I am 62 but will be 63 in April. Social Security said I could not draw his social security because my benefit was more than what he was drawing. I did not have all my quarters in and had to go back to work part-time. Now, I do have my quarters in, BUT was told it wouldn't even pay $100 per month. It seems unfair for the widows that we cannot draw our spouses ---even a small portion-- from our spouse.

Hi,

I'm sorry for . . . Read More

Will My UK Pension Affect My US Social Security Benefit Rate?

Category: Non-Covered Pension - WEP / GPO
Feb 25 2017 - 8:15am

i have pension from UK .worked in USA have worked 10 years ,have 10 ceadis . if i apply do i have to declare my pension i get from UK, if i declare would it affect UK pension,What is Windfall EP, does it affect me . i am thinking to moove back in UK. or India . Do USA/UK exchange my information.Please answer me asap as i have to travel as my mother is sick, i am 70 year old.please give me your Tele no so i can have consultation. thanks.

Hi,

Yes, it sounds like your UK pension will likely cause you to receive a lower US Social Security benefit rate. . . . Read More

Is The Earnings Test Being Correctly Applied In My Case?

Category: Earnings Test
Feb 25 2017 - 7:45am

After burning out as an adjunct college professor some years ago, I took an unofficial early retirement and relocated to Costa Rica, where I reasoned (correctly) that I could live in modest comfort by drawing down my small retirement savings until I'm eligible for Social Security benefits at 62.

Well, 62 is around the corner (and my savings nearly depleted) so I have applied for Social Security, only to be shocked to be told by the clerk evaluating my claim that I risk having my benefits denied until I reach full retirement age.

The obstacle to my approval is . . . Read More

Will My Husband's UK Pension Affect My Social Security Benefit?

Category: Non-Covered Pension - WEP / GPO
Feb 25 2017 - 7:30am

To pay medical insurance I want to collect my SS (I will be 64 in Aug). My husband is from the UK and he has credits for about 20 yrs work in the UK We married in 1987 and he retired in 2005 after 18 yrs working in US, He is receiving US SS and a small reduced UK SS. Questions - I understand he was supposed to inform US SS about the UK SS (when he filled out the papers he was honest and told both of them, the US that he was going to file in the UK and the UK that he had an US SS)? and does any of this have an effect on my SS which is more because I worked for 30 yrs. What do I . . . Read More

Can I Take My Benefits At Age 62 And Switch To Spousal Benefits At Age 67?

Category: Filing Strategies
Feb 24 2017 - 12:15pm

My husband is receiving Social security already, about $2400 per month. In a few years at 62 I would receive $877. At 67, I would receive $1228 or half of what he receives which is about the same. Can I take my Social Security benefit at 62 and then switch it to a spousal benefit once I turn 67? Any other strategies that you would recommend? Many thanks!

Hi,

No, you can't, but this seems to be a common misconception. Whenever you file for benefits, you'll be deemed to be filing for both retirement benefits on your own record, and for spousal benefits . . . Read More

What Is My Best Strategy?

Category: Filing Strategies
Feb 24 2017 - 8:00am

Larry, my ex husband passed away last fall. He was collecting SSI. I am currently 61 years of age. We were divorced in 2010. He went to live with his mother and had a very good life. I however, have struggled. I am working from home and the income is tight but I make my bills. I have not had a vacation in 10 years and I am very tired. I qualify for a percentage of his SSI as a widow married for more than 10 years. I am alone in every which way and so there is only me to get this right. Do I collect now from January to December with a cap on my income in 2017 it is 16,000 or . . . Read More

Would My Wife's Survivor Benefits Be Reduced If She Starts Taking Her Own Benefits At Age 62?

Category: Spousal Benefits
Feb 24 2017 - 7:45am

My wife is three years younger than I am. She worked for 12 years. My FRA social security benefit will be over 2x hers. I plan to file for retirement at 66, my FRA. My wife plans to file for her benefits at 62 and then when she reaches FRA at 66 1/2 she will file for spousal benefits. Will her survivor benefit be decreased because she filed for her own benefits at 62?

Hi,

No, the reduction that your wife would take to start drawing her own benefits at age 62 would not carry over to her benefit rate as a widow. If you die after she reaches full . . . Read More

Did Social Security Give Me Correct Information?

Category: Survivor Benefits
Feb 24 2017 - 7:15am

Hi Larry,
I've read both editions of your book and truly appreciate the knowledge you have shared with your readers. Today I visited my local SSA office and I hope you can confirm the information they provided - specifically as it relates to the ex spouse benefit should the ex - spouse pass. (You mentioned that SSA offices unfortunately have reps who aren't up to speed on all the provisions of the SS law and don't provide correct information at the expense of the retiree.)
My ex spouse and I were 63 on 1/1/2016 so fall into the "grandfather" co-hort and we're are . . . Read More

Would I Be Eligible For Divorced Spousal Benefits If I Get Divorced?

Category: Divorced Spousal Benefits
Feb 24 2017 - 7:00am

I am 58 and receiving social security disability on my own record. My husband whom I was married to for 13 years is only 53 has now started collecting ssdi on his own record which he receives quit a bit more than me. I remarried at age 52 but have been separated from my second husband for 6 years. If I were to divorce my second husband could I draw on my first husbands record and If so would I get the full amount my first husband is getting and mine as well? How does that work?

Hi,

Even if you get divorced, you couldn't receive divorced spousal . . . Read More

How Much Will I Get When I File For Spousal Benefits?

Category: Spousal Benefits
Feb 24 2017 - 6:45am

Hi, I have 2 questions............. I will be 66 in Aug., 2017 and am considering filing a restricted application for spousal benefits. I understand that the spousal benefit is 50% of my husband's PIA, but how do I find out what his PIA is? Will SSA give me an estimate prior to applying? My husband began collecting his benefits at age 62 in 2012 so do I figure out what his PIA is based on the fact that his benefit when he first began receiving is 75% of his PIA?
Also, if I file a restricted application for spousal benefits does that mean I will be required to switch over . . . Read More

Can I Start Drawing Benefits In January Of The Year I Turn 66 Without Any Earnings Restrictions?

Category: Earnings Test
Feb 24 2017 - 6:30am

I turn age 65 this year and work part-time. My thoughts were to file for my social security benefits to begin in January, 2018 (as I will be fra 66 later in 2018). When I file my 2018 tax return because I started receiving benefits in 2018 which is my full retirement age year, there would not be any restriction on the amount of income I earn to reduce the social security benefits received. Is my thought process correct on this strategy or would I actually need to wait until I turn 66 later in 2018 to start drawing benefits to avoid any reduction due to work income. Thanks! . . . Read More

How Is The Monthly Earnings Test Applied?

Category: Earnings Test
Feb 23 2017 - 12:15pm

I turned 62 in October of 2016. If I file for Social Security benefits in July of 2017 I know the annual earnings max of $16920 does not apply for the first year, just the monthly max of $1410 does, but how does SSA know what I've earned each month after I apply when my employer only reports a total for the year? What if my income fluctuates, say $800 in August of 2017 and then 1600 in September? I can't find anything on line that is specific to that question. Thanks for your help!

Hi,

If you receive benefits in your first year of entitlement based on . . . Read More

Does WEP Apply If A Person Receives A Non-Covered Survivor Pension?

Category: Non-Covered Pension - WEP / GPO
Feb 23 2017 - 12:15pm

Client A is had no non-covered pension and is eligible for Social Security on own record. Client B (A's spouse) has non-covered pension with survivor benefit. If client B dies and client A thus begins receiving a survivor's benefit from the non-covered pension, is client A's social security now reduced for WEP?

Thanks

Hi,

The answer is no, but this Q & A forum is not intended for questions from financial professionals on behalf of their clients. Please consider signing up for our professional service on the purchase page.

Best, . . . Read More

What Would This Teacher Get If She's Widowed?

Category: Non-Covered Pension - WEP / GPO
Feb 23 2017 - 11:45am

Couple (both 63) - he elected to rollover what would have been pension benefits, so he has no pension but would have SS benefits of approximately $2,700 a month at 66. She is a teacher and her SS benefits show now as $289 a month at 66; she would also have a teacher pension of $18,000 a year by then. If he dies at say age 68, would she get his full SS benefit (plus her own pension) or would it be reduced in some way? I'm thinking a windfall issue in here somewhere. Thanks!

Hi,

There wouldn't be a windfall issue. The windfall elimination provision ( . . . Read More

Is There Any Way That I Can Get A Better Estimate Of My Future Benefit Rate?

Category: Retirement Benefits
Feb 23 2017 - 8:15am

I have a copy of my latest benefits estimate from Social Security. I think it estimates my future earnings based on my latest year. I plan to stop working before I start drawing Social Security retirement benefits. I'd like to know how much that will reduce their estimated benefit. They have some clever calculators online, but none of them seem to do exactly what I want. I played with one of their calculators and I think I have a close estimate. It looks like since I have 35+ years of earnings that stopping early won't change my amount a lot - maybe about $20 per year that I . . . Read More

Can My Wife And Children Get Benefits On My Record While I'm Living?

Category: Child Benefits
Feb 23 2017 - 8:00am

Under the new 2017 laws I will be turning 66 full retirement age in June I'm planning on filing three months ahead of time here in March I married to the younger wife and we also have two children 11 and 16 can she and the children draw benefits off of my Social Security while I'm still living. Thanks John

Hi,

It certainly sounds like they could. Child's benefits can be paid until a child reaches age 18, or even longer if they are in high school or disabled. And, a spouse with a child under age 16 or a disabled child in care may also qualify for . . . Read More

Can I File For Benefits On My Own Record At 62 And For Divorced Spousal Benefits At FRA?

Category: Divorced Spousal Benefits
Feb 23 2017 - 7:45am

I will turn 62 on 5/ 2018. I was married for 25 years and have been divorced for 4. Is it possible to collect on my benefits at 62 and then on my ex's at full retirement age?

Hi,

No, whenever you apply for benefits, you will be deemed to be filing for both retirement benefits on your own record and for divorced spousal benefits (https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/deemedfaq.html).

Best, Jerry

Will My German Pension Cause My Widow's Benefit To Be Reduced?

Category: Non-Covered Pension - WEP / GPO
Feb 23 2017 - 7:45am

I hope you can enlighten me on the following situation.
I am widowed and took my survivor benefits at age 60. I am 63 years now and also entitled to my pension from my work in Germany. Is it correct that social security will reduce my widows benefit by 2/3? My own US benefit is quite small at approx 500$ a month. My german benefit is approx $700 per month. My widows benefit is $1232 a month. So just keep the survivor benefit? I am still working at this point.
Thank you for your assistance.

Hi,

No, foreign pensions are NOT considered as . . . Read More

Should I File And Suspend My Benefits?

Category: File and Suspend
Feb 23 2017 - 7:15am

I have read the answers to the question "Should I file and suspend?" for inquirers of FRA and the consistent response seems to be there is no advantage to doing that. However, I thought I had read somewhere recently that a benefit to filing and suspending at FRA is that if I should need to file later in the year, I can get the full back benefits and not just the six months. In other words, if I file and suspend now, at 66, and in 10 months find I need to file for benefits, I would get all 10 months back benefits if I had filed and suspended, but if I do not file and suspend, I . . . Read More

Will My Wife's Benefits Be Higher If She Waits Past Full Retirement Age To Apply?

Category: Filing Strategies
Feb 23 2017 - 7:00am

If my wife (born in 1956) delays filing for benefits on her work history and spousal benefits after her FRA, will her benefits be higher due to DRC's than just her PIA plus excess spousal benefit (ESB)? I was born in 1953 and don't plan to file for benefits until I'm 70.

Hi,

I'll answer your question with an example. Sally's full retirement age benefit rate (PIA) is $800. Her husband, Art, is drawing his benefits and has a PIA of $2000. If Sally files for benefits at full retirement age (FRA), she will receive $800 on her own record, plus $200 (i.e . . . Read More

Do I Have A Choice Between WEP & GPO?

Category: Non-Covered Pension - WEP / GPO
Feb 23 2017 - 6:30am

Hello Mr. Koltikoff, I have a SS question that I have researched multiple times but am unable to find an answer. And right now, I don't trust SS to give me the correct one.

I am a retired Texas teacher and paid into TRS. I understand the WEP and while I don't like it, it is what it is. For now. Anyway, my ex-husband died five years ago at the age of 62. We were married for 23 years. I know I am entitled to a survivor's benefit and thus the GPO affects me as well. (I am 64 and am waiting until I turn 66 to make any SS decisions.)

My question is this: do I have a . . . Read More

Can My Wife File For Spousal Benefits At Age 66 Without Also Filing On Her Own Record?

Category: Filing Options
Feb 22 2017 - 7:15am

I am 71, retired for 2 years and started receiving my ss at my full eligibility age of 65 and 1/2 ( I believe). My wife still works and turns 66 next month (3/3/51). Which is her full retirement age. We want her to file for Spousal Benefits. The question is: 1/2 of my benefits is slightly lower than what she is currently eligible for if she filed under her work history, can we chose
the spousal benefit or will they require her to file under her own rather then waiting?

Hi,

Since your wife was born prior to January 2 1954, she can file a . . . Read More

What Is The Social Security Maximum Benefit?

Category: Retirement Benefits
Feb 22 2017 - 7:00am

I'll be turning 70 on 6/2017. I'll start receiving my full benefits then. I've been receiving spousal benefits from age 62 though.

Please inform me as to what's the maximum social security benefits one may receive which is, of course, based on one's income and contributions over a lifetime.

Just curious to know what one could potentially receive with a top % income
Bracket.

Hi,

There is no set maximum benefit amount. Social Security retirement benefits are based on the highest 35 years of a person's wage-adjusted earnings ( . . . Read More

Will You Explain The 6 Month Retroactive Benefit?

Category: Retirement Benefits
Feb 22 2017 - 6:45am

Would you please explain what the 6 month retroactive benefit is and how it works. I am 68 years old, my FRA was 66 and I am still working and haven't filed for my
S.S. retirement benefits yet

Hi,

I'll try. Since you are older than full retirement age (FRA), when you file for benefits you will have the option to claim benefits up to 6 months prior to your month of filing. However, taking the retroactive benefits will come at the cost of receiving a lower monthly benefit rate for life.

For example, say Bill turns age 70 in July 2017. . . . Read More

How Long Must You Have Been Married To Qualify For Benefits On A Deceased Spouse's Record?

Category: Survivor Benefits
Feb 22 2017 - 6:30am

IS THERE A NUMBER OF YEARS THAT YOU HAVE TO HAVE BEEN MARRIED IN ORDER TO COLLECT ON A DECEASED SPOUSE'S SOCIAL SECURITY? I WAS TOLD YOU HAD TO BE MARRIED 10 YEARS. I HAVE NEVER REMARRIED AND I AM NOW 60 YRS OLD. I WANT TO STILL WORK, BUT COLLECT ON MY DECEASED HUSBAND'S SOCIAL SECURITY. (SURVIVING WIDOW'S BENEFITS)

Hi,

If the marriage ended in death, you only need to have been married for 9 months in order to potentially qualify for widow's benefits. If the marriage ended in divorce, you need to have been married for at least 10 years in order to . . . Read More

Is My Sister In Law Eligible For Any Additional Benefits?

Category: Widow's Benefits
Feb 22 2017 - 6:15am

Hi Larry,
Thank you for your column & advice. I'm trying to help my recently widowed sister in law. Her husband passed away last Sept 2016 at 68. He signed up for social security at 62. She sign up at 63. She will be FRA (66) in March 2016. Is she eligible to be grandfathered? They never knew about the new rules about to happen in 2016. I am reading your revised book & have purchased the software. But what steps if any would you recommend to her to acquire more monthly income? Her current amount is $3.00 more than what her husband received per month.
. . . Read More

Should We Wait Until Age 70 Or Start Drawing At 66?

Category: Filing Strategies
Feb 22 2017 - 6:00am

I just turned 64 on January 6, 2017, my wife turns 64 on May 24, 2017. I am retiring at the end of September 2017 and my wife has been retired for several years after mainly working part time. We were told by social security that she will be better off drawing a spousal benefit instead of from her earnings. We are trying to decide about when to take social security and we are in a financial position that we can wait until 70. Almost 5 years ago I was diagnosed with multiple myeloma and went thorough chemo and a bone marrow transplant. I am on maintenance drugs and I am in total . . . Read More

Can I Work And Still Get Benefits?

Category: Earnings Test
Feb 22 2017 - 6:00am

l just applied for my widows benefits my first check is Apil 2017 can i still work and how much can l make will it effect my check

Hi,

If you're full retirement age (i.e. 66) or older, there is no limit on your earnings. Assuming that you are younger than that, in order to be due all of your benefits you will have to limit your earnings to either a) no more than $16,920 for the calendar year of 2017, or b) no more than $1,410 in any month for which you're entitled to benefits. If you exceed those limits and aren't yet full retirement age, you'll . . . Read More

When Should My Wife File For Spousal Benefits?

Category: Spousal Benefits
Feb 21 2017 - 7:45am

My wife took her SS retirement at 62. Her b-day is 01/17/1948 She is 69. I am 62 ,and plan to retire at 66 . My b-day12/04/1954 When should she file for spousal benefits?

Hi,

Assuming that she's eligible (https://faq.ssa.gov/link/portal/34011/34019/Article/3754/What-is-the-eli...), your wife would want to file for spousal benefits effective with the same month that you choose to start your . . . Read More

How Do I Choose Between Survivor And Retirement Benefits?

Category: Survivor Benefits
Feb 21 2017 - 7:15am

Question: Switching between Survivor's Benefits and Retirement Benefits (And exclusion from earnings test)

My spouse (51 y.o.) passed away in October.
My child (10 y.o) collects Child's Benefits.
My earnings prevent me (58 y.o.) from collecting Mother/Father Benefits (M/FB).

I want to confirm that if I stop working (bringing me within the earnings limit), I may then collect M/FB until my child turns 16? At that point, I will be 64. May I switch then to Widow(er)'s Benefits (WB)? And collect that until either my Full Retirement Age, or ideally age . . . Read More

Can You Answer These Questions?

Category: Survivor Benefits
Feb 21 2017 - 6:30am

• If I file and suspend now, at age 62, would my wife (age 49) collect spousal child-in-care for my disabled adult son (disabled before age 22) at a rate equal to half of my early (age 62) retirement benefits?
• Would my disabled adult son also collect benefits at that rate?
• If my wife took spousal child-in-care now at that reduced rate, would she still be able to take her full spousal benefit at age 67 (i.e., at 50% of my full age-70 benefit, when I plan to retire)? Or would she be forever stuck at 50% of the age 62 benefit?
• If my son took the disabled . . . Read More

Is It True That The Survivor Rate Payable On My Record Would Be Higher Than My Own Rate?

Category: Survivor Benefits
Feb 21 2017 - 6:15am

I'm really baffled by something.

I reached my full retirement age of 66 yesterday and am planning to retire sometime in 2017.

My SS statement on the SS website notes that I've reached FRA and can receive $2,615 per month at this time. It also says that if something happens to me, my survivor is entitled to receive $2,634 per month at full retirement age.

Is this really saying if I pass away, my husband can receive $2,634 per month based on my work record? I don't understand why he would receive more than me, THE PERSON WHO HAD TO WORK FOR 45 YEARS. Is . . . Read More

If I File At Age 70, Will I Get All Of My DRCs Immediately?

Category: Delayed Retirement Credits
Feb 21 2017 - 6:00am

Hi Larry,
I plan on filing for my SSA benefit in July 2018 when I reach 70. Will all DRC's be included in my August check, or will they withhold the DRC's earned from 1/2018 through 7/2018 and add them later?

Thanks for the info.

Hi,

Yes, if you file effective with the month you reach age 70, all of your delayed retirement credits (DRC) are included in your initial benefit rate.

Best, Jerry

Do You Have Any Advice About My Problem?

Category: Retirement Benefits
Feb 20 2017 - 11:45am

I am retiring in May 2017, age 67. I got a phone call from SS that my 1990 income was apparently reported twice. This skewed my benefits which became lower once the error was found (my bad for not paying closer attention to those earnings reports!!!) I was told on the phone by the SS rep that half the reported amount would be used as my income for 1990. Now I get a letter stating my income for 1990 is $0 and my benefits (including a retro payment to July 2016, if I choose to take it) are even lower. Of course I am disputing this but do you have any advice? I found out about you . . . Read More

If My Benefit Amount Goes Up Due To Additional Earnings, Will It Affect My Medicare Premium Rate?

Category: Medicare
Feb 20 2017 - 8:15am

I started medicare in 2016, but was not on SS yet. My medicare premium went up 10% in 2017 because I was not "held harmless". I am eligible for SS Oct 2017, and will qualify for the "held harmless" rule then. BUT my question is, if I continue to work after receiving SS, then my SS amount will go up by about 3% each year I keep working. My working will not cause me to go into another IRMMA bracket. If they have a COLA of 1% then my medicare premium could go up by 1% - HOWEVER will they also increase my medicare premium to include my Increased SS amount of 3%? Wiping out any of . . . Read More

Would I Be Eligible For Benefits If I Have Enough Credits?

Category: Non-Covered Pension - WEP / GPO
Feb 20 2017 - 7:45am

I am getting a teacher pension (non covered w/ss). I need 18 more quarters of covered work to reach 40 quarters. would I be able to collect any benefits from ss if I returned to work? Would I be eligible for divorced spousal benefits if I completed the 18 quarters? Thank you for your time, Pat

Hi,

You don't need to be insured on your own record to potentially be eligible for divorced spousal benefits (https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/divspouse.html). However, if you receive a non- . . . Read More

Does My Wife Need To Wait A Year To Apply For Spousal Benefits?

Category: Maximize My Social Security Software
Feb 20 2017 - 7:30am

I am 65 , DOB 2/9/1952, My wife is 66, DOB 2/9/1951. She did not work she was a homemaker with our 5 children. Does she need to wait one year until I reach 66, my FRA, to apply for her spousal benefits. I purchased your software. On the What If annual benefits it shows a full earnings deduction of all of our Social security benefits this year. It appears she should wait one year. I am thinking of applying for both our benefits next year and putting the money in my 401k.

Hi,

I don't have access to the data that you entered into the software program, so . . . Read More

Should I Wait Until Age 70 To File For Benefits, Or Continue To Contribute To My 403b Plan?

Category: Filing Strategies
Feb 19 2017 - 12:45pm

Which would be financially better? Work till age 70 then collect social security or start collecting at 66.5 (FRA) and continue to put at least 5% of my salary which my employer matches into a my 403b? I may also cut back to part time at 66.5. Currently, 5% equals approximately $4400/year. Thank you. Sincerely, Sue

Hi Sue,

Ideally, those shouldn't be mutually exclusive options. The best option may well be to do both, that is continue to work and contribute to your 403b plan, and wait until age 70 to start drawing your Social Security retirement . . . Read More

Why Is My Benefit Amount Not Higher In Relation To My Mother's Benefit Rate?

Category: Retirement Benefits
Feb 19 2017 - 12:00pm

I just wanted to know why my mother who worked for 45 years at a lower wage than I is getting $1261.00 per month, And me who worked as a Masters Degree professional at a much higher wage/ salary for the same time are to recieve only $2000.00 at age sixty five?

Hi,

Social Security is a social insurance program, not an individual retirement account. Social Security retirement benefit rates are calculated based on the highest 35 years of a person's wage-adjusted earnings. The calculation formula has 'bend points' that are designed to provide people who . . . Read More

Can I Refuse To Pay FICA Taxes On My Earnings?

Category: Earnings Subject To Social Security Taxes
Feb 19 2017 - 11:45am

I am low end SS recipient at 587.00 mo. Expenses are rising and I must return to work. I do not want to pay into FICA or insurance or any other money grab the government will take. Can barley feed myself as it is. Can I just refuse to pay out if I am hired and how do I tell my employer this without freaking him out ? Thank you for reading this.

Hi,

No, you can't choose not to pay Social Security (FICA) taxes. Employers are required to withhold FICA taxes from an employee's covered earnings, and match them. It doesn't matter if you are already . . . Read More

How Do I Cancel My Online Application?

Category: Filing For Benefits
Feb 19 2017 - 8:00am

Greetings from Tokyo. I’m turning 70 on Aug 24, 2017, and recently began filling in the online application, per telephone guidance from the SSA service center. However, I seem to have begun the process too early (on Feb 6), as my partially completed, unsubmitted/unsigned online application is defaulting to start my benefits in June 2017, well before my 70th birthday, and with no way to choose an August or September start. This is not what I want as I had purposely delayed receiving benefits until age 70. Anyway, I tried to delete or cancel my unsubmitted application but was . . . Read More

Was Our Financial Advisor Correct?

Category: Filing Strategies
Feb 19 2017 - 7:30am

i am 59 and my husband is 62. in november of 2016, a financial advisor with a large bank recommended that i collect social security on my record at age 62 thru 66. it was also recommended that my husband wait to collect on his record until age 70. at that point (i would be age 67), i was advised to turn my ss off and then collect on my husband's record. they provided us with a beautiful chart showing all of the monthly and annual benefits until i reach age 95. however, another financial advisor has told us that we were given incorrect information.

Hi,

. . . Read More

Can I Still Claim Widow's Benefits On My First Husband's Record If I Remarry?

Category: Widow's Benefits
Feb 18 2017 - 5:15pm

I am 57 years old. My husband passed away last year at age 61 after retiring but before claiming any SS benefits. We were separated at the time but not divorced. We were married 35 years in which time I was a homemaker and did not earn substantial income. I am trying to understand surviving widow benefits, retirement benefits and remarriage. If I remarry before I am 60, I understand I don't qualify for any benefits on my husbands earnings. If I remarry after age 60, can I still claim benefits on my first husband's wages when I reach full retirement age? or do I lose my rights . . . Read More

Does Social Security Owe Me Money?

Category: Spousal Benefits
Feb 18 2017 - 7:45am

I would like to know if SS owes me any back money and I will tell you why I believe that this is so. When My husband started to draw his SS and I was making about 500.00 I was told that I would get 50% of his. Well they took my money that I was getting and only paid me the 50% of his which is a 1000.00, so I really should be also getting my SS that I was getting. I know that they play all kinds of games, but that is not right. They basically have shorted me what I was originally receiving. If this is accurate, then how do I get the money that is owed to me.

Thank you . . . Read More

Was Social Security Correct To Suspend My Wife's Benefits?

Category: File and Suspend Strategy Deadline
Feb 18 2017 - 7:30am

I turned 66 in Feb. 2016 and filed and suspended my benefits before the April 2016 deadline. My wife turned 66 in August of 2016 and applied for spousal benefits at that time. After many inquires to SSI she received the the following when she logged into her account. (It was dated 09/12/2016 but did appear until Nov. 2016.) "Your claim for Spouse benefits has been approved. ..." After several months and no payment she has made multiple (documented) calls to Social Security she was told that yes her spouse benefits had been approved but been suspended, and they didn't know why, . . . Read More

Is There A Newsletter?

Category: Maximize My Social Security
Feb 18 2017 - 7:30am

Is there a newsletter?

Hi,

No, we don't publish a newsletter. For a list of available services, please click on the 'Purchase' tab.

Best, Jerry

If I Get A New Social Security Number, Can The Welfare Office Still Find Me?

Category: Social Security Numbers
Feb 18 2017 - 6:45am

If I get a brand new SSN, can welfare still find me under my new number even though is not provided to them?

Can you please answer me quickly, as I'm going to start a new job on Tuesday and I don't want them to run my SSN.

I'm been harrassed but I'm still unable to find proof and I m working with a private detective

Hi,

Social Security can issue a new Social Security number (SSN) to individuals in some cases (https://faq.ssa.gov/ . . . Read More

Can I File A Restricted Application For Spousal Benefits After Filing On My Own Record?

Category: Filing Strategies
Feb 18 2017 - 6:30am

I AM ELIGIBLE TO RESTRICT MY APPLICATION AND TAKE 1/2 OF MY HUSBANDS SS AMOUNT AT AGE 66.

CAN I TAKE MY OWN SOCIAL SECURITY AT AGE 66, LET IT GAIN 8% UNTIL AGE 67, AND AT AGE 67 DO A RESTRICTED APPLICATION FOR 1/2 OF MY SPOUSE'S SS AMOUNT?. IS THIS ALLOWED? OR ONCE YOU TAKE YOUR OWN SOCIAL SECURITY AT AGE 66, YOU CAN NO LONGER, IN THE FUTURE, PERMITTED TO CHANGE IT AT AGE 67, OR 68 OR 69, DO A RESTRICTED APPLICATION, AND TAKE 1/2 OF YOUR SPOUSES?

Hi,

No, once you file for retirement benefits on your own record, that becomes your primary . . . Read More

Will My Wife Get My Benefit Amount If I Precede Her In Death?

Category: Widow's Benefits
Feb 17 2017 - 10:45am

I was born 12/21/1950 and began receiving SS this year (1/2017). My wife (born 4/8/1956) plans on receiving a reduced benefit in 2018, at 62. My question is: If I precede my wife in death, will she be eligible to receive my benefit, which is considerably higher?

Thanks, Ted

Hi,

The answer is yes, provided that your wife is at least full retirement age at the time of your death. She would not get both her own benefit amount and yours, though, just the higher of the two.

If you die before your wife reaches age 66, she could either apply . . . Read More

Will My Retroactive Widow's Benefits Affect My Own Benefit Rate?

Category: Delayed Retirement Credits
Feb 17 2017 - 10:30am

I turned 66 in May 2016 and retired Dec. 31, 2016. Applied for SS benefits in Sept. 2016. I am getting widows benefits.
The SS rep advised me that I was entitled to those benefits in May when I turned 66 and can still recieve retroactively. I recieved a lump sum for 5 months retroactive & then regular monthly payments thru Dec. while still employed. At the SS reps recommendation I had 15% Fed Withholding Tax taken out. After I quit working I changed to zero withholding. I was informed that at age 70 I can switch to my earnings benefit if it is more than my late . . . Read More

Does This Plan Make Sense?

Category: Filing Strategies
Feb 17 2017 - 8:00am

Retire early, and plan on filing for Social Security in order to maximize our expected lifetime income. Full retirement age for both of us is 67.

Husband:
Age: 55
Estimated benefit (in today’s dollars) at age 62: $850
Estimated benefit (in today’s dollars) at age 70: $1,200

Wife
Age: 53
Estimated benefit (in today’s dollars) at age 70: $2,700

Filing can be delayed as long as necessary, but wife’s life expectancy is less than husband, due to long-standing health issue. Thus, plan is for husband to file at age 62 for his . . . Read More

When Should I Apply In Order To Start My Benefits At Age 70?

Category: Filing For Benefits
Feb 17 2017 - 7:45am

I'll turn 70 March 20, 2017 (DOB March 20, 1947). If I want to maximize my benefit, what date should I meet with social security and when should I start my annuity?

Hi,

You can start the application process any time now, and you'll probably want to do it sooner rather than later. It often takes a month or more to get an appointment with Social Security.

When you do apply, you should select March 2017 as your month of election to begin benefits. Social Security will consider you to be age 70 for the entire month of March for benefit purposes . . . Read More

When Should I Apply For Divorced Spousal Benefits?

Category: Divorced Spousal Benefits
Feb 16 2017 - 8:30am

Hi Larry, I am divorced after married 17 years, now I'm on Disability and 65 years old. After reading extensively I understand my Disability will roll over to regular Social Security at the same rate of payment as the Disability payment when I turn 65.
I want to file on his Social Security to increase my income, but not sure what to do or when. Do I wait till I'm 66 to file for the most benefit on his SS or go ahead and do it now and get mine and half of his? I read so much, will timing make a substantial difference? What is the best way?
Thank you for your help! . . . Read More

Who Do I Have To See About Adjusting My Payment Amount?

Category: Foreign Pensions
Feb 16 2017 - 8:15am

I resided in Canada for 33 years. When I turned 62 I applied for SS retirement. At the time I was receiving Canada Disability payments. So SS decided to claw back about $190. When I turned 65 in 2014 my disability stopped and I only received money I paid into Canada Pension Plan. SS told me let them know when I stopped receiving CPP. So now I am trying to get SS to give me my original amour of benefit which was supposed to be $690. They were only giving me $477. per month since 2014. Who do I have to call or see to get this money that they "clawed" back from my Social Security . . . Read More

How Much Will My Benefit Rate Increase If I Keep Working?

Category: Filing Strategies
Feb 16 2017 - 8:00am

I WAS BORN IN 1951 AND HAVE BEEN MARRIED FOR 30 YEARS TO A SPOUSE WHO IS CLAIM HIS SS, AND DID SO AT HIS FULL RETIREMENT AGE. I KNOW I CAN RESTRICT MY APPLICATION AT MY FRA TO MY 1/2 OF MY SPOUSES SS AND RECEIVE A 8% INCREASE ON MY SS AMOUNT UP TO AGE 70. HOWEVER I WILL BE WORKING TO AGE 67 AND THAT WILL INCREASE MY SS AMOUNT, PER SS, BY 10% FROM MY AGE 66 AMOUNT. IF I RESTRICT MY APPLICATION AT AGE 66, AND WORK UNTIL AGE 67, WILL I GET THE 10% INCREASE FROM MY WORKING AND THE 8% INCREASE FROM MY RETRICTION TO EQUAL A 18% INCREASE, AT AGE 67? OR WILL I JUST GET ONE OF THE . . . Read More

Should The Hold-Harmless Provision Apply In My Case?

Category: Medicare
Feb 16 2017 - 7:45am

Should The Part B Premium Hold-Harmless Provision Apply In My Case?

In follow-up, since there was a retroactive adjustment to my Medicare Part B premium in 2016 because of the change in my social security benefit amount based upon prior work credit, and the SSA manual for VSMI premiums does mention exemptions related to retroactive benefit increases resulting from work, should this rule be applicable?

Please advise.

Hi,

The exception you mentioned refers to benefit rate increases resulting from recomputations to credit additional . . . Read More

Can I Still Terminate My Spousal Benefit And File On My Own Record?

Category: Filing Strategies
Feb 16 2017 - 7:30am

Hello - I used the Maximize My Social Security Program to develop what we felt was best filing plan but the 2/7/17 article in Forbes now gives me concern. I have attained my FRA in September 2016. My wife is 62 and she has filed for her social security benefit. Subsequently, based on the program's suggestion, I filed for spousal benefit. My question is, when I reach full retirement age and under current law, still eligible to terminate the spousal benefit and file for my full retirement benefit? I purchased the Maximize program early in 2016 and used it during December 2016 to . . . Read More

Can My Wife Get Spousal Benefits When I Start Drawing?

Category: Filing Options
Feb 16 2017 - 7:15am

My wife is now 65 and has been collecting her social security since age 62. She gets less than $800 per month.
I am planning to collect my Social Security when I reach 62 which will be at the amount of $2000 per month. Can my wife collect half of mine at $1000 per month at that time instead of the $800 which will be at the end of 2017 or beginning of 2018. Since I was born in 55 my normal retirement age is not until 66 and 10 months.

Hi,

Your wife may be able to get an excess spousal benefit when you start drawing, but she'll keep the reduction . . . Read More

When Should My Wife Start Collecting Benefits?

Category: Filing Strategies
Feb 15 2017 - 7:15am

I'm 70 and collecting Social Security. My wife turned 62 last November. Should she wait until she's 70 to collect ? I get $1869 a month. If she collects now, she gets $689/mo; at 66 $904/mo and at 70 $1194 a month. We aren't in desperate need of the money, but 50% of my payment is already above her age 66 payment.

Hi,

That partly depends on when you started drawing your benefits. Your wife could be eligible for essentially the higher of her own benefit rate or 50% of your full retirement age rate (PIA), which may be the latter if you started drawing . . . Read More

When Should I File For Widow's Benefits?

Category: Filing Strategies
Feb 15 2017 - 7:00am

My husband died 09/2015 at age 56. I was age 63 at the time of his passing. I was working and I am continuing to work until my full retirement age 66. My birthdate 02/1952. I was earning $54,500 when my husband passed and was told I made too much money to quality for survivor spousal benefit over the $16,920. Now I am reading something about $44,880. This year I turned 65 on 02/2017 and expect to be making $56,500.00 for 2017. Should I be signing up for survivor spousal benefit now? Thinking I would be able to collect on his benefit which is only $100.00 less monthly than my . . . Read More

When Would My Wife Become Eligible For Spousal Benefits?

Category: Spousal Benefits
Feb 15 2017 - 7:00am

MY wife is 65 and does not qualify on her own for SSA. I will turn 62 in May. Can my wife collect spousal benefits on my record and does she have to wait until I reach full retirement age?

Hi,

Your wife can't get spousal benefits until you start receiving your benefits, but she can start drawing as soon as you do, even if you take you take reduced benefits prior to your full retirement age.

You may want to consider running the maximization software available on this website in order to determine your best filing strategy.

Best, Jerry

How Much Will My Social Security Rate Increase If I Work Until Age 70?

Category: Delayed Retirement Credits
Feb 15 2017 - 6:45am

I just finished reading your book on social security. Page 112 on the Social security calculators - which one will tell me, if I claim at FRA my benefits BUT keep working until age 69, HOW MUCH my social security amount will increase (I do know what my wages will be from age 66-69. Or does your calculator do that? 2nd question, my husband went on social security disability (SSDI) at age 60. He is now age 66 (his FRA). His social security amount is a lot higher than mine. If he dies before me, will I get hit with a reduced amount of his SS benefit for my Widow benefits because . . . Read More

Should Spousal Benefits Be Suspended If The Worker's Benefits Are Suspended?

Category: Spousal Benefits
Feb 15 2017 - 6:30am

We had a client file for her regular benefits at 62 and her spouse file a restricted application at 66, his FRA. Since she has now increased her regular earned income her benefit is being deferred, but now SSI is also deferring his spousal benefit. Is this correct or should we advise them to move their case up the chain of command? We believe he should be entitled to his spousal benefit no matter what happens to her benefit.

Hi,

This forum isn't intended for questions from financial professionals on behalf of their clients, so please consider . . . Read More

What Is The Best Strategy For Us?

Category: Filing Strategies
Feb 15 2017 - 6:15am

I bought your book and I'm about a third of the way through it. With the most recent change SS made I'm trying to access if one of us can suspend and the other file on their spouse. My wife will be 66 in 2 years. I will be 66 in 2 months. We both work. I own a start up business earning about 1500 a month. She is a teacher at $80,000 per. She will have a nice pension about $30k per and she wants to retire in 2yrs. I have no pension. My SS estimate is $2100 per month at 66. My wife is at $1600 at 66. She is in good health, I have Afib and survived esophageal cancer. Wait? until . . . Read More

Will My Daughter Receive Benefits From My Late Wife's Record?

Category: Survivor Benefits
Feb 14 2017 - 7:30am

Will my daughter receive a benefit from my late wife?
My wife passed away 6 weeks ago at the age of 45. She was a stay at home mom to our 8 year old daughter since her birth. She worked full time from the age of 18 through 37. Will my daughter be eligible for a benefit?

Hi,

I'm sorry for your loss.

Assuming that your wife paid Social Security taxes when she was working, it certainly sounds like your daughter would qualify for surviving child's benefits on your wife's record (https://www.ssa.gov/ . . . Read More

Should I File For My Retirement Benefits Or Continue Drawing Widow's Benefits?

Category: Filing Strategies
Feb 14 2017 - 7:30am

Hello,
Thank u for such a great service!
I am currently collecting disabled widows benefits. I am turning 66yrs old next week. Should I apply for my own retirement benefit? Would that take the place of the disability widow benefit? They just sent me a new Medicare card changing the "W" to a "D4” along with a letter that I cannot work which I've not done since 2008. Anyway.... thanks. G

Hi G,

You would probably only want to apply for retirement benefits on your own record if the benefit amount would be higher than your widow's benefit . . . Read More

What Is Our Best Filing Option?

Category: Filing Strategies
Feb 14 2017 - 7:15am

My wife turned 66 on Jan. 25, 2017 and will be retiring on March 2, 2017. I will turn 66 on Aug. 22, 2017 but will not be retiring for perhaps another year or so. My earnings have been been more than double hers for most of our 47 year marriage. What is our best option for filing?
Thanks,
Dan

Hi Dan,

My guess is that the best option may be for your wife to start drawing her benefits either now or in August 2017, which would enable you to file a restricted application for spousal benefits only on her record effective with August 2017. . . . Read More

Should The Part B Premium Hold-Harmless Provision Apply In My Case?

Category: Medicare
Feb 14 2017 - 6:30am

I have been receiving social security benefits since 2014. During 2015 my Medicare Part B premium was $104.90/mo. This rate was maintained during 2016, but then SSA changed it later in the year whereby I ended up paying the standard rate of $121.80/mo for all of 2016.

Even thought I did not exceed the income threshold, had Medicare premiums taken from my social security benefit each month since Dec 2014, and of course did not receive a COLA in 2016, I was not protected from an increase.

Apparently, due to additional work and part-time earnings from 2014 that got . . . Read More

How Can I Find Out Which Method Was Used To Calculate My Disabled Widow's Benefit Amount?

Category: Widow's Benefits
Feb 13 2017 - 7:45am

I have long suspected my disability widow's benefits are lower then what I expect. I recently read about SSA not calculating widow's benefits correctly if the spouse died before age 62. I guess this has accord when SSA did not apply the Windex pia to their calculations. SSA’s systems did not detect when a WINDEX PIA applied for manually processed claims. Not sure how my claim was processed and would like to know how I could go about finding out. if they did or did not apply this benefit to me?

Hi,

When a person dies prior to age 62, Social Security . . . Read More

What Earnings Years Can Be Used To Calculate My Retirement Benefit?

Category: Benefit Amount
Feb 13 2017 - 7:45am

I always read that social security benefits are based on your highest 35 years of work. Very occasionally I also read the disclaimer that this means the highest 35 years of work starting the year after you attain the age of 21. If so, that would exclude any years of work prior to age 21. When I read my earnings history it appear I paid into social security during my teen years and in ages 20-21.
So when exactly do those 35 years of work begin? Thanks for the clarification.

Hi,

There is no lower or upper age limit from which your highest 35 . . . Read More

How Can I Pay My Medicare Premiums After I Start Receiving Benefits?

Category: Medicare
Feb 13 2017 - 7:30am

I am currently on Medicare AB&D plus a Medigap G Plan. I am currently NOT collecting social security. I understand that once you begin collecting SS you can have your Medicare premium payments automatically deducted from your SS check. Does that include D and my G plan or just B? Also, can you elect to have none of the premiums dedicated from your check and continue to make those payments yourself?

Hi,

When you start drawing your Social Security benefits, your Part B premiums will be withheld from your benefit payments. You can't opt to continue . . . Read More

How Can I Get More From Social Security?

Category: Benefit Amount
Feb 12 2017 - 11:45am

I can't get help from SS since they say my monthly SS check is too high. (1540 in CA).
That is crazy since I live in CA where nothing is cheap. How can I get more money or
at least qualify for more to live here. I am 79 and no one wants to hire a person in that
age range.

Hi,

Social Security is a federal program, so benefit rates are calculated exactly the same for people living in California as they are for those living anywhere else in the U.S. So, unless you are entitled to some type of benefit in addition to what you're now . . . Read More

Can I Draw Survivor Benefits And Continue Working?

Category: Earnings Test
Feb 12 2017 - 7:15am

I am 62 years and working full time is becoming very exhausting. I have been a widow for over 15 years and have been struggling to survive even though I work full time. Please, can I collect survivor's benefits while working?

Hi,

That depends on how much you earn. If you file now, Social Security would withhold $1 of your benefits for every $2 that you earn in excess of $16,920 this year (https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/whileworking2.html). For example, say Jane is eligible for . . . Read More

How Much Does A Widow(er) Get If Their Spouse Dies At Age 69 Without Having Drawn Retirement Benefits?

Category: Widow's Benefits
Feb 11 2017 - 7:15am

You are the higher income earner and file for restricted spousal benefit(when you are 66 while your spouse is 64)
And you die at 69 before you switch to your own earned benefit; what will you spouse get for survivor benefit?
Looking forward to hearing from you
Thanks in advance Joe

Hi Joe,

The surviving spouse in your example would be at least full retirement age at the time their spouse's death. Therefore, their widow(er)'s rate would be 100% of the benefit amount that their spouse would have been eligible for had they started . . . Read More

How Can I Build A Nest Egg?

Category: Filing Options
Feb 11 2017 - 7:00am

Hello...I will be applying for my social security in about 6 wks. I turn 62 on 6/23/17. I'm registered with an account on the SocialSecurity.gov website and learned my monthly check will be $973 a month. I'm healthy and want and have to continue working throughout my 60's at least but I need the extra money the SSI will provide now to get my head above water completely. Deciding to take my SSI early is my decision to have more money to fall back on every month and also to hopefully put some of it into something worthwhile. Can you suggest what I can do with a few hundred . . . Read More

Which Is The Best Way For Me To Draw Widow's Benefits?

Category: Widow's Benefits
Feb 11 2017 - 6:45am

My husband died in Sept 2016 at age 62. I turned 62 this week. Which is the best way for me to draw his social security. I have not worked in 30 year. I was a stay at home mom.
Looking forward to your answer.

Hi,

I'm sorry for your loss.

The answer largely depends on whether or not your husband drew reduced retirement benefits before he died. If he didn't, you would probably want to wait until age 66 to draw widow's benefits if you can afford to do so. However, if he did draw reduced retirement benefits, you would want to start drawing . . . Read More

Can I File For Spousal Benefits Only At Age 66 And Delay Taking My Own Benefits Until Age 70?

Category: Filing Strategies
Feb 10 2017 - 7:45am

my wife started drawing social security at 63.5 i will be 66 in september of 2017 can i file a restricted application to recieve half of her fra and delay my benifits until i turn 70

Hi,

Yes, since you were born prior to January 2 1954, you can file a restricted application for spousal benefits only at age 66, and delay taking your own benefits until age 70 (https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/deemedfaq.html).

Best, Jerry

Can I File For Benefits On My Own Record At Age 63 And Divorced Spousal Benefits At Age 66?

Category: Divorced Spousal Benefits
Feb 10 2017 - 7:45am

I was married for 38 years. Divorced for 2+. I am 63. My ex-husband is 66 and started collecting SS at age 63. I was a stay-at-home-mom, but did work a little bit before kids. My spousal support was just reduced ( ex stopped working to avoid paying support) so I am faced with having to apply for SS at this point. Filing under my own record I will receive a little bit, about $500/month. It is my understanding that I cannot file under my ex's record until I turn 66. Can I file under my record now and then when I turn 66 file under my ex's record. I am thinking that I will receive . . . Read More

Can I Get Social Security Benefits If I Am A Civil Service Employee?

Category: Non-Covered Pension - WEP / GPO
Feb 10 2017 - 7:15am

I am a civil service employee still working I have 24 soc sec credits when I retire will I be able to get anything from soc sec? also my husband is now getting soc sec disability being a civil service employee will I be able to draw any of his soc sec if he were to die?

Hi,

You would need at least 40 Social Security quarters of coverage to be eligible for benefits on your own record. And, if you receive a civil service pension based on work that was exempt from Social Security taxes, your benefit rate would likely be lower due to the Windfall . . . Read More

Does The Hold-Harmless Rule Limiting Medicare Premium Increases Apply If Your Benefits Are Suspended?

Category: Medicare
Feb 10 2017 - 7:00am

My husband started taking social security at age 62. He turned 68 on Dec 31, 2016. He wants to suspend his benefits and have them start up again at age 70. My question is: Will his Medicare part B premium be apx the same amount when he starts getting checks again at age 70? As of now it is $109 a month. Does the hold harmless still apply while benefits are suspended or will he be charged the current Medicare premium when he turns 70 in Dec 2019.

Hi,

No, the hold-harmless rule does not apply if benefits are suspended, so your husband's Part B Medicare . . . Read More

Does My Ex-Husband Need To Be Drawing His Own Benefits For Me To Get Divorced Spousal Benefits?

Category: Divorced Spousal Benefits
Feb 10 2017 - 7:00am

Does my ex-husband have to have filed for his own social security benefits before I can file for spousal only benefits? Or am I out of luck if he hasn't filed yet? I will be 66 this November. He just turned 67 but I think that he is still working (don't know for sure). We were married over 10 years and were divorced 30 years ago. I have never remarried. So I think I am grandfathered in on all the other criteria to file for spousal benefits only this year and wait until I am 70 and then file on my own benefits.

Hi,

No, since your ex-husband is over age . . . Read More

Can I Start Drawing My Own Benefits At Age 62 And Get Divorced Spousal Benefits Later?

Category: Filing Strategies
Feb 10 2017 - 6:45am

Hello...I will be apply for social security this March. I will be 62 on June 23rd. I don't really want to collect at 62 but need the extra money instead of waiting until age 66. Anyway, I was married 23 yrs. My ex husband is 10 yrs younger than me. I know the qualifications to collect on an ex spouse but am I correct in that I can collect on my own work history income and then when he turns 62 (provided) I'm still alive, lol....can I then re file based on his income?? Thank you.

Hi,

Yes, you can potentially start drawing your own reduced benefits at . . . Read More

Do I Need To Do Anything To Start My Benefits?

Category: Filing For Benefits
Feb 10 2017 - 6:45am

I will turn 70 on March 20, 2017. I applied for benefits and suspended them in Fall 2015. They have sent me a letter, which I received in December 2015, stating that my entitlement date is May 2015 and and my benefit rate is $1883. The letter also states that they will reinstate my benefits at age 70. Later last fall, they sent me a letter stating that my benefit amount was increased by approximately $8 due to income figures from 2015. The result is a benefit rate of $1991. This letter has been misplaced by me.
I wish to start benefits whenever it is best for me. Is . . . Read More

What Happens When I Turn Age 70?

Category: Filing For Benefits
Feb 10 2017 - 6:30am

Larry, I am receiving divorced spousal benefits, I will be 70 in May 2017 when I want to get benefits on my own record, can I still receive the spousal benefit as well? Do I have to notify social Security that I want to start drawing my own benefits?

Hi,

You must file an application in order to start receiving benefits on your own record. You can apply up to 4 months in advance, so you can contact Social Security as early as today to start the application process.
You will only be eligible for the higher of your own benefit amount or your . . . Read More

Should My Wife File For Retirement Benefits While Her Disability Claim Is Pending?

Category: Disability Benefits
Feb 9 2017 - 1:15pm

My wife applied for disability almost two years ago. The first request was denied so we appealed and were informed that a federal judge would look at the case, we are waiting to hear from them on this. My questions are: 1 she turns 62 this April ,should we apply for regular s.s and take what we get, if they approve her claim would we get the back pay and then go the higher amount? Or would they say that since she has already applied that she doesn't get the back pay amount? 2 Would she qualify for Medicare right away or would there be a two year wait to get that?

. . . Read More

Can I Discontinue My Disability Benefits At FRA And Receive Spousal Benefits Instead?

Category: Filing Strategies
Feb 9 2017 - 1:00pm

I am 59 yrs. old and have been receiving SSDI for 15 years. My husband is 70 yrs. old and filed for SS retirement benefits at age 62 yrs. old. Unfortunately we were unaware of the choice to wait until he was 70 yrs. old in order for him to receive 35% more benefit money. At what age does my SSDI convert to SS retirement benefits? At that time am I eligible to file for a restricted application to receive 50% of my husbands SS retirement benefit, discontinue my SS benefits and wait until I am 70 yrs. old to file for my SS retirement benefits in order to get the 35% higher amount . . . Read More

Is There A Reform In The Works To Amend The WEP Provision ?

Category: Non-Covered Pension - WEP / GPO
Feb 9 2017 - 7:30am

Is there a reform to the windfall elimination in the works and, if so, would a person who is subject to the elimination because they work for a government agency going to come out better or worst than the way it is now?

Hi,

Congressman Sam Johnson from Texas has introduced a bill that would repeal the Windfall Elimination Provision, or WEP (https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10045.pdf), beginning with benefits payable January 1 2023. As written, this bill would do away with the reduction in Social . . . Read More

How Much Will My Spousal Benefit Be?

Category: Spousal Benefits
Feb 9 2017 - 7:30am

My husband started his Social Security benefit at age 70 so gets a 35% increase in his benefit by waiting. I am 68 and have applied to get half of his benefit. Do I get half of the larger benefit at his age of 70 or do I just get half of his benefit if he didn't delay his benefits?

Hi,

Assuming that you aren't already receiving benefits on your own record, your spousal benefit will be 50% of your husband's full retirement age rate (PIA), not 50% of his age 70 rate inclusive of delayed retirement credits (DRC). However, if your husband dies before you . . . Read More

How Do I File A Restricted Application For Spousal Benefits Only Online?

Category: Filing Strategies
Feb 8 2017 - 12:15pm

Larry,
In April, 2017, I am going to file an online application for Social Security spousal benefits (SIB). (I will be 66 years old in July, 2017, and I will request that my spousal benefits begin at that time.) I've decided to file online to avoid the pitfall of encountering Social Security representatives who do not know the precise rules for restricted applications and the grandfathering provision, as determined by the Bi-Partisan Budget Act of 2015.
My wife is 76, and she started receiving Social Security benefits a decade ago. We/I will not be affected by the . . . Read More

Can You Help Sort This Out?

Category: Medicare
Feb 8 2017 - 11:30am

Hi Larry and Jerry
I need help! I have been without hospital coverage for 6 months due to an error made by my agent in filing for my spousal benefits. The details are as follows:
In Feb. 2015, (I was 66, my wife 63) we went to the local SS office and applied to have my benefits deferred to age 70 and to begin receiving benefits from my spouse. Receiving Spousal Benefits was still a valid option at that time, and the agent we worked with seemed to be cognizant of the procedure and competent in his work. The next month my wife and I both started receiving benefits . . . Read More

Why Did My Mother Receive A One-Time Payment From Social Security?

Category: Payment Dates
Feb 8 2017 - 10:45am

My mother received a sizable deposit into her bank account from SSA. On her My Social Security website account it is only referenced as a One Time Payment.

Any thoughts of what this might be?

Hi,

I have no idea why your mother would be due such a payment, but Social Security often makes adjustments of one sort or another that can result in a one-time payment of retroactive benefits due. The cause could be from additional earnings or some other type of recalculation that wasn't processed timely.

Your mother should receive a notice in . . . Read More

Why Can't My Mom Continue Receiving My Deceased Father's Social Security Benefits?

Category: Widow's Benefits
Feb 8 2017 - 10:30am

My father died in 2010 and was getting his SS benefits, but after he died my mom wasn't able to continue getting those benefits. Why? My father worked all his life to get access to those dollars for himself and my mom and now she gets none of it. How is that right, can that be reversed and where has that money gone?

Hi,

If your mother is full retirement age or older, she should be eligible for the higher of her own benefit rate or your father's benefit rate (https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10084.pdf . . . Read More

Will My Mother's Disability Rate Increase When Her State Disability Stops?

Category: Disability Benefits
Feb 8 2017 - 10:15am

My mother seemed to have been approved for Social Security Disability benefits, however the amount that is on the verification letter and the amount that was deposited into our account is about $500 less than what was estimated when we applied for the disability benefits.

The reason is likely due to an offset from the temporary state disability income she has been getting which is set to expire in July. After July she will no longer be getting the state disability benefits, only her pension and the Social Security income.

I did read "Your Social Security . . . Read More

If My Husband Gets Disability Benefits, Can I File For Spousal Benefits Only On His Record?

Category: Filing Strategies
Feb 8 2017 - 10:00am

I am 67 and retired but have not filed for my social security. I was planning on filing when I reached 70 if possible. My husband is 59. He recently recived a medical retirement and was told by his lawyer that he should now apply to social security for disability. If he gets on SS disability would I be entitled to collect off his disability benefit till I reach 70 and collect off my own? Our benefit at PIA are similar.

Thanks for your wonderful column.
Carol

Hi,

Yes, if your husband is approved for disability benefits, you'll want to . . . Read More

Are My Calculations Correct?

Category: Family Benefit Maximum
Feb 8 2017 - 8:00am

My husband is retired, receiving SS benefits of $2649.
Our disabled child receives $ 993
I receive Child in Care benefits $993.
I will be 66 in April 2018. My PIA is $818 and my Family Maximum is $1227. My husband's Family Maximum is $4618. The Combined Family Maximum right now is $5268.
In April 2018, I want to file for my own and spousal benefits. I believe that the new benefits we will receive after April 2018 are;
husband $2649
disabled son $1324 (50% of father's PIA)
me $818 (my own earned benefits) PLUS
me $506 ( . . . Read More

Would I Qualify For Medicaid?

Category: Medicaid
Feb 8 2017 - 7:45am

My husband left us for a girlfriend, I want to get a divorce (he says a divorce I would not be covered under his health insurance)... I make $36,000 a year.. he pays the mortgage & heat, car payment & car insurance. I pay all credit card bills that we had, lipa, cable, ..I feed our 3 kids and play for anything that comes up! What is the eligibility requirements for Medicaid as health insurance for just myself!!?

Hi,

I'm sorry, but Social Security is my only area of expertise. I really don't know much about Medicaid, but you may want to check . . . Read More

What If I Have A Question About Calculations Made By The Software?

Category: Maximize My Social Security Software
Feb 8 2017 - 7:30am

Hi Larry,
I am fun of your publications since 2014. I am 66 and my husband is 67. We are still working and planning to do so for couple more years. My current spousal benefit is $1,109. It was $1,106 in 2016 based on $2,212 PIA for my husband.
I am using your software for the second year and I just found a discrepancy. Per your calculation, my spousal benefit for 2017 should be $1,132 not $1,109. I hope it is not an error!
Is it possible, that there is a delay in the calculation of PIA for working individuals? I am assuming that the PIA of my husband in . . . Read More

Do You Factor In Potential Future Changes In The Law?

Category: Filing Options
Feb 8 2017 - 7:15am

When you provide your opinion about when people should take SS, do you factor in at all the fact that the pot will run dry and that at some point Congress may cut benefits? I am fearful of this happening and am wondering if it is not better to file sooner than later, even though my monthly checks will be smaller, just in order to be "grandfathered" in to the system. What are your thoughts about this? Thanks for all your advice!!!!

Hi,

No, the maximization software on this site will tell you the best filing strategy based on current Social Security . . . Read More

Should I Have Benefited From The Additional Social Security Taxes I Paid After Retiring?

Category: Retirement Benefits
Feb 8 2017 - 7:00am

I RETIRED AS AN INSURANCE AGENTin1990. and began Social Security. As a pension I also received over the years monthly renewal income from which was withheld annually the sum.of $199.80 Social Security plus $46.68 re: Medicare. Therefore as I received $16,824. SS each year I continued each tax time to pay, over 26 years, $5,195 total( so far) back into
Soc. Sec. system. Question: will I ever benefit from the extra $5,195. paid back into Social Security ? .I'm nearly age 90 now . And should I request a larger benefit from local SS. office? Thanks for your response .( I . . . Read More

Is A Do-Over Possible?

Category: Filing Strategies
Feb 8 2017 - 7:00am

My spouse took SSDI in 2009 and I took a spousal benefit on that account at FRA in 2013. My spouse turned FRA in July 2016 and her benefit was changed from SSDI to SS. I just turned 70 and will be getting my delayed retirement benefit staring this month on my own account. Since it is less than 12 months since my spouse went on regular SS, is their a do-over possible? I know, if there is, that we would have to return 6-7 months of her benefit and my spousal benefit. If it is possible, is there a formula to show whether it makes economic sense to give that back and then have us . . . Read More

Do You See Any Problems With Our Scenario?

Category: Filing Strategies
Feb 8 2017 - 6:45am

Both my wife and myself are "grandfathered" under the new law. She is 68 and has been receiving her SS since age 62. I had been the higher earner and after retirement, neither of us has or will work in the future. I will be 66 in September and plan on applying for my "spousal benefit" at that time.

Question 1: Do you see any problems with that scenario so far?
Question 2: I may be confused, but what I'm getting from the book is that when my wife turns 70, she can also apply for a spousal benefit? Would this be in addition to her current payment?
Question 3 . . . Read More

Do I Need A Lawyer?

Category: Social Security Overpayments
Feb 8 2017 - 6:30am

I was fully at my full retirement age in April 2013. In Oct 2013 I received a letter stating I owed amounts that did
not match what I calculated. I was told by representative at that time that I owed $1332. At this point we set up
a payback plan of $50 per month until paid in full. That would mean 26 or 27 months later I would be completed
with my payback. I should be paid of in Jan of 2016. It is now Jan 2017 and I am still paying back. They are actually
increasing my payback time by several years. Not sure if I need a lawyer or an accountant to . . . Read More

Is The Check I Receive In February For January & February?

Category: Payment Dates
Feb 7 2017 - 10:15am

I applied for SSN in Sep 16. My birthday is Dec 16. My first SSN check is FEB 17. Will I get Jan/FEB or just Feb?

Hi,

Social Security monthly benefits are paid in the month after the month for which they are due. So, the payment you receive in February is for January. Your check for February will be paid in March, and so on.

Best, Jerry

Can My Husband Have His Spousal Benefits Directly Deposited To My Checking Account?

Category: Spousal Benefits
Feb 7 2017 - 10:00am

I am starting SS. My husband is going to draw spousal benefits. My question- we are doing direct deposit. Can we have it deposited back to my checking account? Or does it have to deposit in his checking account since he is the one filing for spousal benefits. We have separate checking accounts...thank you..

Hi,

Unless I'm mistaken, your husband must be listed as the owner or joint owner of the account to which he has his Social Security payments directly deposited.

Best, Jerry

Do You Provide A Personalized Consultation Option?

Category: Maximize My Social Security
Feb 7 2017 - 10:00am

Hello Larry,

I've been "on board," with your invaluable counsel, at first via your book and shortly thereafter, your software, which I purchased in mid-November of 2015 and have subsequently renewed. I am presently at a key decision making crossroads as to pulling the trigger on my S.S. benefits: I am about to turn 66 this week (DOB: 2/9/51). At the same time, my spousal and dependent situation is quite idiosyncratic:

My wife, at 50 (DOB: 11/18/66), is a good deal younger than I; moreover, I am the father of two young girls, 11 and 4 yrs. old. We are both in . . . Read More

Can You Explain What Social Security Is Saying About My Daughter's Benefits?

Category: Disability Benefits
Feb 7 2017 - 6:45am

Hi, this is complicated but here goes: my daughter receives SSDI under two accounts as follows: $900 as my adult child; $200 under her own work record. This has been the case for several years.

Recently, my wife filed for spousal benefits.

Now I have received a letter stating that my daughter no longer qualifies for child's benefits and that, due to my wife's filing, benefits are no longer due to my daughter. In addition the letter said my daughter was overpaid by $200 and that amount was taken from my wife's benefits.

My concern is that the amount . . . Read More

Can My Mother Get Social Security And Railroad Retirement Benefits?

Category: Railroad Retirement & Social Security
Feb 7 2017 - 6:30am

My mother is collecting railroad retirement benefits because of my father's employment. He is deceased since 1978. My mother worked many years and payed into social security. Isn't she entitled to collect social security benefits as well?

Hi,

Railroad Retirement (RR) Benefits consist of two tiers. Tier 1 is a rough equivalent of Social Security benefits. Tier 2 is like a company pension based on railroad service only. If your mother files for Social Security benefits, her Social Security benefit amount will be offset against her tier 1 RR benefit . . . Read More

Are The Provisions In My Divorce Decree Legal?

Category: Divorced Spousal Benefits
Feb 7 2017 - 6:15am

On my final decree said that I will have to take ss at 62 so my ex husband can
reduce that amount of the alimony. We went to court for this and the judge
dismiss it. My attorney he is in family law since 1966 and he said he never
saw that on any divorce. Do you think this is a unconstitutional or illegal? If my ex died
at 63, I would end up with a little ss check.
Thanks
PIlar

Hi Pilar,

I don't know if it's legal or not, but the divorce decree does not legally bind you to file for Social Security benefits at . . . Read More

Will A Survivor Benefit I Receive Form A Municipal Retirement System Affect My Social Security Benefits?

Category: Non-Covered Pension - WEP / GPO
Feb 7 2017 - 6:15am

I have worked all my life and just turned 62, I have worked plenty enough to draw my own ss when I retire at 65. My husband passed away in 2003 at a young age, and I received a small check from the Municiple Retirement System each month from the job he held. Will this amount be deducted from my SS benefits when I do retire?

Hi,

The only pensions that affect Social Security benefits are pensions based on your own work that was exempt from Social Security taxes. So, a survivor pension from your husband's former employer won't affect your Social . . . Read More

Who Do I Complain To About The Windfall Elimination Provision?

Category: Non-Covered Pension - WEP / GPO
Feb 7 2017 - 6:00am

Who, and when did the law go into effect for people who worked for a government entity (Bus driver for OCTA) and get a pension from them, but have to take a % cut in our social security? I would like to know who to contact in the government branch to get this changed. It is not fare in my eyes. I have payed into SS, it makes no sense to me that we are denied full SS. Thank you

Hi,

The regulation to which you refer is the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP), which was part of the 1983 Social Security amendments passed by Congress ( . . . Read More

Can We Visit A Different Social Security Office Than The One Closest To Us?

Category: Filing For Benefits
Feb 7 2017 - 5:30am

My husband is 66.5 and plans on filing this month for benefits. A recent letter from SS says you receive an 8% increase for each year you delay filing until age 70. Question: if he waits until his 67th birthday (9/16); will he receive the 8% increase? I called Social Security with this question, and they advised us to go to my local office where they'd be able to do the projection. They further said we MUST go to the local office determined by our zip code (which is in an area we don't feel is safe). Are you aware of any rule that supports that?

Hi,

. . . Read More

Will My Mother Receive A Full 50% Of My Father's Benefit Amount When He Files?

Category: Spousal Benefits
Feb 7 2017 - 5:15am

My mom filed early for her Social Security benefits at age 62. She receives a very low amount based on her record. My father plans to wait until full retirement age to file for his benefits. He will be entitled to a much higher benefit based upon his work record. When he does file, will my mom's benefit then be stepped up to the full 50% spousal benefit or will she be penalized for claiming her own benefits early? What can my mom expect to receive? Thank you!

Hi,

No, she won't get the full 50%. She'll keep the reduction amount that she took on her . . . Read More

Can My Wife File For Spousal Benefits Before Filing For Her Own Benefits?

Category: Filing Strategies
Feb 6 2017 - 6:30am

In your new book (Get What's Yours - revised edition) page 57 about spousal benefits - I'm still confused. Here's what we want to do. I'm now 62 and plan on waiting until my FRA to take my full benefit (age 66). My wife will be 64.5 then. When we turn on my benefit at 66 can we at the same time turn on my wife's spousal benefit, meaning I will get my full amount and she will get an amount equal to 50% of mine, until she decides to turn off her spousal benefit and turn on her own full benefit when she turns 66 (and some months)? Thanks for the advice, Steve

. . . Read More

Can A Person Receive SNAP Benefits Before Qualifying For SSI?

Category: Public Assistance Payments
Feb 6 2017 - 6:15am

Can a person in Texas receive SNAP benefits when applying for SSI, or can they not get SNAP until they are actually approved for SSI?

Hi,

I don't really know much about the SNAP program, but I don't think SSI (Supplemental Security Income) eligibility is required. For more information, refer to the USDA website: https://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/eligibility.

Best, Jerry

How Will My Wife's Spousal Benefits Be Calculated?

Category: Spousal Benefits
Feb 5 2017 - 6:15am

Dear Larry:
Two questions: I'm still working at 66 and don't yet draw SS benefits, and my wife is also 66 but began her benefits at age 62. Question: When I finally retire and file for my benefits at 68 (my target) and my wife files for spousal support, is it true because she began at 62 that she's only entitled to “receive” 35% of what would be the normal 50% spousal value based on my benefit amount? Or, is that 50% amount “reduced” by 35%? Both conditions offer very different math outcomes, but I'm getting conflicting info from SSA and other online articles.
. . . Read More

How Does Social Security Credit Military Service?

Category: Retirement Benefits
Feb 5 2017 - 5:45am

I was in the military (enlisted service) from 1972-1975 and again (officer service) from 1979-2006. Can you explain how Deemed Military Credits (DMC's) work and how do I verify that SSA has credited me properly?

Hi,

Deemed military wages are extra wages that Social Security adds for periods of active U.S. military service (https://www.ssa.gov/OP_Home/handbook/handbook.09/handbook-0953.html). For the period 1957-1977, an extra $300 in wages is granted for each calendar . . . Read More

How Will A Reduction In My Earnings Affect My Benefit Rate?

Category: Retirement Benefits
Feb 4 2017 - 5:00pm

Hello -- I will be 63 in June. I am and have always been single. I work, but my work looks to be dropping off substantially this year due to changes in the company. I would llike to know if I should file for social security benefits soon because it looks like I will earn substantially less than I did in the last 15 years. I obviously want to maximize my benefit; however, I do want to retire very soon anyway. This change in my income was unexpected, so I have not figured out what is best -- use savings and wait or file now? The focus of my question is really the effect this low . . . Read More

How Do I Get Social Security To Recalculate My Benefits?

Category: Retirement Benefits
Feb 4 2017 - 4:30pm

Last October I received a letter from SSA informing me that my monthly benefit would be increased,this past year my earnings have increased considerably,how do I go about asking them to do the same one more time.

Hi,

Recomputations are done automatically on an annual basis, so no action on your part is required. However, you may see the increase sooner if you submit proof of your 2016 earnings to your nearest Social Security office (https://secure.ssa.gov/ICON/main.jsp) and request a manual . . . Read More

How Does Workers' Compensation Affect Disability Benefits?

Category: Disability Benefits
Feb 4 2017 - 8:00am

The brochure I was given regarding Worker's Compensation says it "may" have an effect on your disability payment. When does it, and when does it not.
I am receiving disability but I don't receive any of it because of a Worker's Comp lump sum, and over payment from 1999. Is there a limit to how much they can take? Does my pension (Chicago Teachers Pension Fund) decrease my funds also. I am not sure if that is considered a government pension or not.

Hi,

The basic rule is that your combined monthly Workers' Compensation and Social Security . . . Read More

If I Die Before I Start Drawing Benefits, What Will My Wife Receive?

Category: Widow's Benefits
Feb 4 2017 - 7:45am

I am 67 and my wife is 59. I have suspended my benefits until I reach age 70. If I die before I start my benefits at age 70 , will my wife immediately start getting what I would be entitled to when I die. ( my actual benefit plus my delayed Retirement Credits that I have built up? Thanks

Hi,

If you die before your wife, her unreduced widow's rate would be equal to what your benefit rate would have been if you had started drawing your benefits in the month of your death. However, if your wife started drawing the widow's benefit before full retirement . . . Read More

Do I Have Any Options?

Category: Filing Strategies
Feb 4 2017 - 7:45am

Im 62 , Previous wife died at 49 fully retired from state with death and disability , we were married 22 years. New wife now married 10 years but SS said can not collect previous wifes ss because I wed before 60. Any options?

Hi,

It's true that you couldn't qualify for benefits on a previous spouse's record if you are currently married and your remarriage occurred before age 60. You still likely have options with regard to when to start your own benefits. And, your current wife may qualify for spousal benefits on your record, or vice-versa, either . . . Read More

How Can I Find Out How WEP Will Affect My Benefits?

Category: Non-Covered Pension - WEP / GPO
Feb 4 2017 - 7:30am

Neither STRS nor Social Security can give me WEP info for planning. What about teachers who also worked through school and tutor, for example through WyzAnt 1099 on the side, worked in private summer schools, and after teacher retirement (after teaching 30 years) work years contributing to ss. Is it better to have consecutive years for SS ( not claim and write off 1099)? After 30 years of teaching what is the max they can deduct? How can I maximize SS as I work for myself and otside teaching until I'm 66 and 2 months or whatever it is?. Nobody seems to have specialized info. . . . Read More

Could I Work And Receive Social Security Retirement Benefits At Age 62?

Category: Disability Benefits
Feb 4 2017 - 7:15am

I have been on Social Security Disability since I was 55 and I will be turning 62 in two months. I know under normal circumstances I could have elected to start drawing SS at 62. My question is, since I am already drawing SSD, at 62 could I return to work and still draw SS at the age 62 reduced benefit without being penialized.

Hi,

If you were to switch from disability to retirement benefits at age 62, your benefit rate would be reduced by about 25%. Also, there is an earnings test that could limit the reduced retirement benefits that you could draw . . . Read More

Can My Wife File For Spousal Benefits At Age 64 And Switch To Her Own Record Later?

Category: Filing Strategies
Feb 4 2017 - 7:00am

My wife's birthday is 12/14/1953 (age 63), and my birthday is 8/16/1947 (age 69), I will start to take my benefit this AUG when I reach 70.

Can my wife collect (in AUG) on my benefit, while her benefit still grows? If this benefit is still available, we then would plan for her to switch over to receive her own benefit payment once she reaches Full Retirement Age? Thank you in advance!

Hi,

No, your wife cannot do that. If she files for spousal benefits prior to full retirement age (FRA), she'll also be deemed to be applying for reduced . . . Read More

Why Did My Husband's Benefit Stop?

Category: Non-Covered Pension - WEP / GPO
Feb 4 2017 - 6:45am

My husband is receiving Federal Civil Service Retirement pension. We applied for and he was granted spousal benefits based on my Social Security earnings beginning Nov 2014. We knew he was not eligible for his own SS benefits due to the Windfall Elimination Provision. We are currently living out of the country and suddenly his benefit has been stopped stating he is not eligible due the this provision. We disclosed his status when applying and were told he was still eligible for spousal benefits. Can you explain the decision based on this information. I intend to file an appeal . . . Read More

Should My Husband And I File Separately?

Category: Filing Strategies
Feb 3 2017 - 12:45pm

I am 70, retired at age 66. My husband is 60. He plans to retire either at 66 or 70. Our combined incomes are approximately $69,000. Should we file separately? Should husband file at 66 and suspend benefits until age 70? His income will likely rise but only slightly from 66 to 70. Suggestions? Thank you very much.

Hi,

I'm not sure if I fully understand your situation. If you haven't yet filed for your own benefits, you'll want to do that ASAP. Your benefit rate will not get any higher if you wait past age 70 to file.

The age at which you . . . Read More

Should I File An Appeal?

Category: Medicare
Feb 3 2017 - 12:45pm

Just received Feb 2nd notification my February SS would be reduced by $99.90. Reason, deducting past due premiums. I've made no changes. Seems odd. Do I think they are wrong they ask. This is the 1st time in 5 years for this to happen. Should I appeal? What past due premium is it? Thank you for your help.
Bob

Hi Bob,

The only 'premium' that I can imagine this referring to is a Part B or D Medicare premium. Before filing an appeal, I'd suggest contacting Social Security to ask for an explanation. If they tell you that it involves your Part D . . . Read More

Can I Apply For Welfare Or Any Other Benefits?

Category: Public Assistance Payments
Feb 3 2017 - 6:15am

Dear Larry...70 yr male in NYC. Recently come upon hard times
I get $750 in SS . Can I apply for welfare or any other benifits
I am 4 months behind in rent @$2200 per month. Im looking into Senior housing hard to find a place

Thanks so much/Abe

Hi Abe,

I'm sorry, but my only area of expertise is Social Security. If you are married now, or if you were widowed or married for more than 10 years and divorced, then you may qualify for additional Social Security benefits based on a spouse's work record.

It sounds like your . . . Read More

Can My Wife Get Spousal Benefits At Age 66 And Then Switch To Her Own Record At Age 70?

Category: Filing Strategies
Feb 2 2017 - 3:30pm

I have listened to your book in audio form. Thank you! My question is this: If both my wife and I delay receiving our SSI benefits until age 70 (at which time her benefit will exceed any spousal benefit she could receive on my earnings) , can my wife claim spousal benefits on my earnings from age 66 to 70, and not impact her own SSI benefit at age 70? If your answer is "Yes," does she need to wait until she reaches age 66 to take the spousal benefit? or can she do that when I reach 66? We don't want to be "deemed." Has the law closed whereby this strategy has been eliminated? . . . Read More

How Much Will My Wife Receive On My Record?

Category: Spousal Benefits
Feb 2 2017 - 3:15pm

i am 68 and on ssa retirement i was on disability my wife who does not have enough credits on her own account has been disabled longer than me when i first became disabled i had employer disability which they said disqualified her from spousal benefit she is now 62 if she takes her spousal benefit now at a reduced rate and i die when she is 64 would her survivor benefit be at a reduced 62 or 64 rate also could she collect as a disabled spouse on my record and have her reduced survivor benefit at fra no longer be reduced thank for your time

Hi,

If your . . . Read More

When Will I Receive My Delayed Retirement Credits?

Category: Delayed Retirement Credits
Feb 2 2017 - 3:00pm

I turned 66 on January 23, 2016 and decided to delay my benefits by 2 months, so I started to collect in March of 2016 instead of January.
Now it is February 2nd, 2017 and I still have not seen any increase in my benefits resulting from the 2 months of delayed retirement credits I should have received.
I have been to the local Social Security office twice in the last year to try to get answers. The first time they told me I would receive the increase in January of 2017. That has come and gone with no increase. The second time (yesterday), they said I should be . . . Read More

When Should I Apply For Benefits?

Category: Filing Strategies
Feb 2 2017 - 2:45pm

I'm 9 years older than my spouse and they have been a very high earning executive. I worked years ago (meeting all the SS contribution/distribution requirements) but haven't worked (volunteered) for nearly the last two decades. How do I time my spousal benefit, which I'm sure will be higher than my retirement benefit? I will hit 70 before spouse can file and suspend either at 62 or 67. Will I be able to get the larger maximum spousal benefit at age 76 even though I would have had to start taking distribution at age 70, if not earlier if the math works better?

. . . Read More

Can I Get Disability Benefits Instead Of Regular Retirement Benefits?

Category: Disability Benefits
Feb 2 2017 - 8:15am

larry i receieve social security i had surgery in 2014 that is made me disable can i get disability benefites instead of social security

Hi,

The answer depends on your age. To qualify for disability benefits, you must become disabled at least 6 months prior to your full retirement age. And, disability benefits can only be paid retroactively for a maximum of 12 months. You must also meet the insured status requirements for disability benefits. So, if you are currently under age 67 and became disabled in 2014, then it's possible that you could . . . Read More

Will A Lawsuit Settlement Affect My Benefits?

Category: Earnings Test
Feb 2 2017 - 8:15am

i will receieve a lawsuit settlement in a few weeks of 27000 will that effect my social security

Hi,

The only way that I can imagine that it might is if it is an award of back wages, or if it is worker's compensation and you are receiving disability benefits.

Best, Jerry

Am I Eligible For Supplemental Security Income?

Category: Supplemental Security Income
Feb 2 2017 - 7:45am

While my husband was under hospice care i went thru the application process for myself to get SSI for my disabilities. SSA deemed me disabled by their requirements but was told that i could not collect any benefits and/or medical care myself for the disabilities bcuz i was married. Now since the passing of my spouse i receive widows benefits as well as survivors benefits for the two minor children still at home which is divided between the three of us equally according to husbands maximum family benefit amount. Im able to get medicaid for children but not healthcare myself and . . . Read More

Can I Avoid WEP By Withdrawing My Contributions To My Employer Retirement Plan?

Category: Non-Covered Pension - WEP / GPO
Feb 2 2017 - 7:00am

I am retiring from my County job (not paying SSI) where I have a defined contribution savings with County matching 10% of my contributions. I also have over 10 years of employment where I paid SSI. It looks like my defined contribution savings will reduce my SS benefits due to WEP. If I roll over just my contributions from the savings into a regular IRA before having the County convert the remainder into an annuity "pension" will this reduce the SSA WEP deductions from my benefit? Or will SSA just figure my IRA rollover is a lump sum pension and reduce my benefit more? Thanks . . . Read More

Can I Receive Benefits On My First Husband's Record?

Category: Widow's Benefits
Feb 2 2017 - 7:00am

Hi Larry,
My first husband died 43 years ago, I was 30, drew Social Security on me and the children who were 5 and 7. I raised my boys and 17 years later remarried happily for 21 years. He passed away 5 years ago, question is can I draw widow benefits on my first husband? I am retired, 72 and draw widows benefits from my second husband. Someone just told me yes I can. I don't think I can. Thank you

Hi,

I'm sorry for your loss.

It sounds like you are potentially eligible for widow's benefits on your first husband's record, but you could . . . Read More

Will My Husband Need To Do Anything To Restart His Benefits At Age 70?

Category: Suspending Retirement Benefits
Feb 2 2017 - 6:45am

My husband suspended his ss benefits at age 66 and will turn 70 on Aug 9. When he turns 70 will his benefits automatically start or does he need to file to un-suspend his benefits? If he needs to do something is it better to do this online, in person or over the phone?

Hi,

Your husband's benefits should be reinstated automatically with no action needed on his part. His payment for August should be received in September. If you've changed bank accounts since he filed his application, you'll want to be sure that Social Security has the correct direct . . . Read More

How Do I Choose The Best Overall Retirement Strategy?

Category: Filing Options
Feb 1 2017 - 2:45pm

Hi Larry,
While looking around the internet for information, I came across Motely Fool's "Rule Your Retirement." They say: "We know that preparing for retirement can feel overwhelming. That's why we designed Rule Your Retirement to be a rich resource you can rely on to make progress toward your personal retirement goals and objectives. To learn how to get access to its useful content and powerful tools, backed by a 30-day, 100% membership-fee-back guarantee, simply click here." It costs $99 a year and you get the newsletter! I did not sign on, but right away I started . . . Read More

What Is My Best Strategy?

Category: Filing Strategies
Feb 1 2017 - 8:15am

Hi Jerry,

My husband will be 70 in October 2017, he started collecting his SS benefit at age 62. My question is that I am waiting until FRA age 66 in 2018 to start collecting my SS benefit about $300/$400. Can I collect half of my husband's benefit and wait until age 70 to start my own benefits? What type of application would I file for spousal benefits? Thank you!

Hi,

Yes, you do have the option to apply for spousal benefits only when you reach age 66, and let your own benefit rate grow until age 70.

Technically, the application for . . . Read More

Is Filing For Survivor Benefits My Best Option?

Category: Filing Strategies
Feb 1 2017 - 8:00am

I am 64 years old and still working and hope to work two more years. My husband died in 2016 at age 65. Is survivors benefits the best option for me to receive or what do you think I should do?

Hi,

I'm sorry for your loss.

Your best strategy is likely one of the following:
1) File for survivor benefits now or as soon as your earnings will permit payment of at least some benefits, then switch to your own record at age 70; or,
2) File for retirement benefits now or as soon as your earnings will permit payment of at least some . . . Read More

How Do I Switch From Spousal Benefits To Benefits On My Own Record?

Category: Filing For Benefits
Feb 1 2017 - 7:45am

Larry:

What is the process to switch from receiving spousal benefits to filing for benefits under your own earnings record/social security number?

I've scoured many social security websites but can't seem to find a concise answer.

Thanks

Hi,

You'll need to file a separate application to start benefits on your own record. If your own benefit rate is higher than the spousal benefit, the spousal benefits will stop when your own benefits start.

Applications can be filed up to 4 months in advance of the month you want to . . . Read More

How Should We Appeal The Decision To Stop My Wife's Disability Benefits?

Category: Disability Benefits
Feb 1 2017 - 7:30am

Hello Larry my wife has been on Social Security SSI for three years now do too papillary and carcinoma stage 3 cancer on top of depression and pre-diabetic. My question is 3 years is up she went under review there was more than enough evidence to show that she still qualifies for social security benefits she is on numerous amount of Medicine and due to the fact of so much medicine it is been very hard for me to work because I have time schedules for her to take her medications. They denied her disability and said starting March is her last check. Now I have to appeal it what . . . Read More

Can My Adopted Granddaughter Get Benefits On My Record?

Category: Child Benefits
Feb 1 2017 - 7:15am

I am 67 have filed and suspended my benifits, my husband turns 66 March 26th he will collect on my benefits as they are higher. Does he apply now or wait till February
Also I have adopted my grand daughter can I get benefits for her now even though have suspended benefits.
I am the only adoptive parent

Hi,

Social Security applications can be filed up to 4 months in advance, so your husband could apply any time now.

Assuming that your granddaughter is under age 18, or under 19 and still in high school, or disabled, it sounds . . . Read More

Is There An Obvious Best Strategy In Our Case?

Category: Filing Strategies
Feb 1 2017 - 7:00am

My FRA is July 2017; my wife's FRA is June 2017. My benefit is about 3 times as large as my wife's benefit. We are not working and will not work in the future. Is there an obvious strategy, given the closing of the file and suspend "loophole.

Hi,

It sounds like the probable best strategy would be for your wife to file for her retirement benefits effective with June 2017, and for you to file for spousal benefits only effective with July 2017. You could then file on your record at age 70 and your wife could file for an excess spousal benefit at that . . . Read More

Will My Benefits Increase If I Suspend Them, Or Must I Withdraw My Application?

Category: Delayed Retirement Credits
Jan 31 2017 - 7:00am

My husband turned 66 in September 2016. At my urging he filed for Social Security benefits. We realize it wasn't in our best interests. He suspended his benefits. He just spoke to Social Security. He was told that suspending his benefits and waiting until age 70 will not increase the amount of the benefits. In order to increase the amount of benefits by 8% per year he must withdraw his benefit application and repay all of the benefits he has received. I'm sure that includes the premiums paid to Medicare.
I tried to navigate social security website. Finding info there is . . . Read More

Should I Be Concerned About New Laws Affecting Me?

Category: New Law
Jan 31 2017 - 6:45am

Help! The new Republican government wants to privatize Social Security, and judging from the haste in which the last major SS law was passed, I feel major disruption is possible in short order. It seems wise to me to file now (I am 62) which might get me grandfathered in after the new laws are passed. If I have not yet filed, I might be out in the cold. What do you think?

Hi,

My opinion is that you shouldn't make any Social Security decisions based on concerns over future changes in the law that may never happen. Since you are already age 62, you . . . Read More

Am I Eligible For Survivor Benefits On My Ex-Husband's Record?

Category: Filing Strategies
Jan 31 2017 - 6:30am

I am a soon to be 64 year old currently working and making more than 65K a year. My ex-husband died. We had been married 13 years. I believe his average lifetime salary would have been less than mine. A friend told me she is collecting a monthly SS benefit from her ex-spouse, still living but age and income are similar. I was told by my local SS office that the only way I could collect a benefit before age 66 would be if my income was 17K. Am I eligible now or will I be eligible for any benefits once I retire?

Hi,

Assuming that you're unmarried now, . . . Read More

When Can I Apply For Spousal Benefits Only?

Category: Filing Strategies
Jan 31 2017 - 6:15am

I turn 65 on June 2, 2017. My husband has been collecting his full SS benefits for a year.
I know that once I am 66, I can collect 50% of his benefits, and put off getting my own benefits until I'm 70. Without it reducing either of our benefits.
BUT - am I able to start collecting half his benefits at age 65? Or do I have to wait until 66.

thank you!
m

Hi m,

You must wait until age 66. If you file to start spousal benefits any month before then you'll be deemed to have also filed for reduced retirement benefits on your . . . Read More

Can I Collect Half Of My Husband's Benefit And Wait Until Age 70 To Start My Own Benefits?

Category: Filing Options
Jan 31 2017 - 6:15am

I INTEND TO CONTINUE TO WORK AFTER AGE 66 WHICH IF MY FULL RETIREMENT AGE TO COLLECT BENEIFTS. MY HUSBAND IS NOW COLLECTING FULL SOCIAL SECURITY BENEFITS. CAN I CONTINUE WORKING COLLECT HALF OF HIS SOCIAL SECURITY BENEFITS AND
HOLD OFF TILL 70 TO COLLECT MY OWN.

Hi,

If you were born prior to January 2 1954, then the answer is yes (https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/deemedfaq.html). You'll need to wait until age 66 to be able to file just for spousal benefits without also being . . . Read More

What Month Should I Choose To Receive Maximum Benefits?

Category: Retirement Benefits
Jan 31 2017 - 6:00am

I turn 70 in the month of June. When applying for benefits, should the starting date be June or July in order to receive the maximum benefit?

Hi,

If you were born on June 1st, you would want to choose May as your month of entitlement. If you were born any other day in June, you'd choose June to get the maximum rate. Social Security pays benefits a month behind, so payments for June are issued in July.

Best, Jerry

Can I Work Part-Time Without Losing My Disability Benefits?

Category: Disabled Widow(er) Benefits
Jan 30 2017 - 2:15pm

I live in TX. I receive widows benefits at the rate of 72% of what I would have received had my husband retired. He was 57. I also am disabled since 2006 and thus receive a small percentage of mine due to forced medical retirement. As you may have guessed, it is a meager income and Medicare does not cover all the bills.
Is it possible for me to work part time, if my health will allow, without affecting my social security? If so, what is the monetary limit? I'm getting disparate and don't want to lose my home or have to move in with family
Kandi

. . . Read More

What Is My Best Strategy?

Category: Filing Strategies
Jan 30 2017 - 5:45am

I am currently 65 and my wife is 62, obviously past the April 30, 2016 date to be grandfathered to allow the use of the file and suspend strategy I had planned on. What should be my general plan going forward?

Hi,

That depends largely on your and your wife's relative benefit rates and how much she earns if she's working. You were grandfathered under the new deeming provisions (https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/deemedfaq.html), so you would have the option of filing for spousal . . . Read More

What Is My Best Filing Strategy?

Category: Filing Strategies
Jan 30 2017 - 5:15am

I have been married 2 years. My husband retired early in 1986 receiving disability social security benefits which then at age 62 I believe they changed to regular social security. He is now almost 80 and I turn 62 this February 2017. His benefits are far higher than mine will be as I stayed home caring for a disabled elderly family member for many years.
With the new changes should I go ahead and apply early or is it better to wait? Will I qualify for spousal benefits at all if we are not married at least 10 years? We do not need my benefits for our financial needs right . . . Read More

Can I Receive Higher Benefits As A Widow?

Category: Widow's Benefits
Jan 30 2017 - 5:00am

Someone said that at age 70 I could receive 32% more social security benefits filing for the "Widow's Pension" (my husband died during our marriage). I, however, am on Social Security Disability (which may now be considered regular social security), and wonder if this applies to me if I receive about $1,312 per month and have help paying medicare part B insurance premiums, etc. (I think the total is about $15,696 per year). Thank you for your help.

Hi,

You can't qualify for a higher widow's rate by waiting until age 70 to file. Widow's benefits hit . . . Read More

What Effect Does A Civil Service Pension Have On Benefits?

Category: Non-Covered Pension - WEP / GPO
Jan 30 2017 - 4:45am

Both my husband and I are retired civil service. My husband has been on SS for about 4yrs. I will be 65 in Mar of this yr. 2017 and am not on SS. Can I claim SS under my husband next Mar 2018 when I am 66yrs and then claim my own SS at age 70 in 2022? Or claim my own SS at age 66 and half my husband's at age 70? Do you have info for me to read when both of spouses are retired civil service in order for me to make the best choice of how and when to take SS benefits? Every time I ask SS what my benefits would be at age 66 I get different numbers which vary by $200-300/month at . . . Read More

How Far In Advance Do We Need To File?

Category: Filing For Benefits
Jan 30 2017 - 4:30am

Hello,
My wife and I have run the maximization software. I will be 66 on July 16, 2018. My wife will be 64 on May 1, 2018. The software indicates that she should file for her own benefit in July, 2018, and that I should file for a spousal benefit that same month (July, 2018). Should my wife file before I file? If so, how far in advance of my filing should she file?
Thanks,
David

Hi David,

Both you and your wife can file at the same time, but it's not mandatory. You would both want to elect July 2018 as your month of election to . . . Read More

Should I File For Spousal Benefits And How Should I File?

Category: Filing Strategies
Jan 29 2017 - 3:45pm

My wife filed for SS on line for 70 benefits to start.SS called her for additional info: 1. Did she want Retro and 2. Did I want spousal benefits. SS employee said they would call back for our answers. I will turn 70 in one year an do not want my spousal benefits to effect my account.
Question: would it be better for me to file for spousal benefits on line instead of by phone so that I can put my intention in writing?

Hi,

It sounds like you should definitely file a restricted application for spousal benefits only on your wife's record. Drawing . . . Read More

Can I File For Reduced Retirement At Age 62 And Switch To Spousal Benefits Later?

Category: Filing Strategies
Jan 29 2017 - 3:30pm

I am (40 years) married turning 62 in February 2017. I will have very low SS benefit because I quit working to raise a family but I do have enough credits to qualify. Husband is still working and will be 63 in April 2017. He will retire when he is 66. He will receive the maximum SS payout since his income was high. He is planning to take his SS at 66. (health factors suggests he should not wait till 70 to take benefits).
If I take a my reduced benefit now at 62, can I change my status to spousal benefit (half his benefit) when he files at 66?

Hi, . . . Read More

When Should I Start Drawing Benefits?

Category: Retirement Benefits
Jan 29 2017 - 6:30am

I will turn 70 on April 15th of this year and filed on-line for my Social Security benefits to start on May 1st. I receive a call from SS saying that I should start my benefits April 1 because my 70 yr benefit would start the month of your birthday. Is this correct? I don't want to loose my 70 yr old bennifit if they start the month of April when I was only 69.

Hi,

For calculation purposes, Social Security considers you to be age 70 for the entire month of April. Therefore, you should choose April as your month of election to start benefits. Social . . . Read More

How Can My Mom Sign Up For Medicare?

Category: Medicare
Jan 29 2017 - 6:15am

My mom, 82, who is a US citizen and receives Social security , lived abroad for the past 25 years, and never signed up for Medicare, even part A. She is returning to the US. How does she sign up for Medicare?

Hi,

Part A coverage is automatic for people receiving Social Security benefits, so you mother should already be signed up for that even if she's unaware of it. She can sign up for Part B of Medicare in the current general enrollment period that runs through March 31st by contacting Social Security. For more information, refer to their website . . . Read More

Does The New Law Apply To My Husband?

Category: Disability Benefits
Jan 29 2017 - 6:00am

If my husband's SSDI began in June 2015, does the new law below apply to him? or is he grandfathered in under the old law since it began before Dec. 2015? He turns 65 in Jan. 2017.

NEW LAW: Social Security benefit will be reduced until the month you reach age 65, or the month your other benenits stop, whichever comes first. Starting December 19, 2015, due to a change in the law, your benenits will continue to be reduced until you reach your full retirement age.

Hi,

I'm not aware of any changes in the new laws passed in 2015 that affected . . . Read More

Will Social Security Know If My Wife Qualifies For Spousal Benefits?

Category: Filing For Benefits
Jan 29 2017 - 6:00am

When my wife files for social security benefits will the SSA automatically know and apply the spousal benefit for her ? She is eligible for a benefit on her own record but not as much as the spousal benefit will be.
Regards dlt

Hi,

Your wife would need to file separate applications for retirement benefits and spousal benefits. The applications ask for marital information, and Social Security uses that information to determine if the person filing is eligible for spousal benefits.

Best, Jerry

Can I Draw Both Social Security And Railroad Benefits?

Category: Railroad Retirement & Social Security
Jan 29 2017 - 6:00am

My husband worked for the BNSF for 32 years and is currently on disability. He will be 65 in four years. I will be 65 in five years. My question is - I have been working and earning my own income off and on for about 20 years. When I turn 65 can I draw SS and Railroad Retirement?

Hi,

Potentially, yes, but not both benefits in full. Railroad benefits consist of 2 tiers. Tier 1 is a rough equivalent of Social Security, whereas tier 2 is like a company pension. If you are entitled to both Social Security and Railroad Retirement (RR) benefits, you'll . . . Read More

How Can I Get Credit For Earnings Not Posted To My Social Security Earnings Record?

Category: Earnings Subject To Social Security Taxes
Jan 29 2017 - 5:30am

Good morning. I have a question/concern. I am 46 year old veteran. I am 60% disabled by the VA. My life has been in turmoil for many years after my service and I am finally beginning to get back on my feet. My question is regarding social security credits. I have worked on and off at one specific place for several years. This employer closed in February 2015. I had not filed taxes for several years because at that time I was at a point that I didn't care much for anything and wasn't very responsible. Fast forward to 2017. I was made aware that I can apply for social security . . . Read More

Will My Husband's Spousal Rate Increase If I Keep Working?

Category: Spousal Benefits
Jan 29 2017 - 5:15am

I will continue to work- I will be 65 in March 2017- and just started SS. Will my husband's restricted spousal benefit go up as I try to knock off my lower earning of the 35 years? What per cent per year will my own benefit year increase as I replace lower earning years? Some years being replaced will be significant.. Thanks..

Hi,

Spousal benefits are calculated based on 50% of the worker's full retirement age rate (PIA), so if you increase your PIA with additional years of higher earnings, it would also increase your husband's spousal rate on your . . . Read More

Can My Mother Receive VA Benefits And Social Security?

Category: Retirement Benefits
Jan 29 2017 - 5:15am

My mother receives VA income (I believe disability) and she just turned 67. Can she also apply for her Soc Sec Retirement benefits? Will she receive both?

Hi,

VA benefits have no effect on Social Security benefits, so the answer to your question is yes, assuming that she qualifies for Social Security. Some VA benefits are needs based, however, so it's possible that receipt of Social Security benefits could affect her VA benefits, depending on the type of VA benefits she receives.

Best, Jerry

What If I Have Questions About The Software?

Category: Maximize My Social Security Software
Jan 28 2017 - 9:00pm

I enrolled in the Maximizing software service today and ran a couple of scenarios. I like the service, but it isn't clear to me if you take into consideration the social security taxes that I will continue to pay in if I elect to work until I'm 70. If not netted out against the increased benefits of waiting it would give a skewed answer.
Thanks,
Kevin

Hi Kevin,

I'm sorry, but I don't have access to your software data. The Ask Larry forum is not intended for questions about the software. You can submit questions about the software using . . . Read More

Should I File And Suspend On My Own Record?

Category: Filing Strategies
Jan 28 2017 - 10:15am

Larry first I bought your book and thought it was great I also signed up for the Maximize My Social Security. Here is my question I was born in 1949 along with my ex-wife, we were married 14 years and were divorced in 1984. My understanding from your book and the MMSS calculator is I should file for and suspend my Social Security then file for my Divorced Spousal Benefit. I made an appointment with my local SS office and meet with a representative I explained to him that I wanted to file for and suspend my Social Security then file for my Divorced Spousal Benefit. He told me it . . . Read More

What Is My Best Strategy?

Category: Filing Strategies
Jan 28 2017 - 10:15am

I was widowed in Nov 2016. I am 61 years old. I was advised to file at age 62 under my living ex-spouse's benefits, which are higher than my earnings, and then switch to my deceased husband's bebefits when I turn 62 in order to be able to get 100% of his benefits, which are highest of all. I do have some funds to supplement my income until that time. Is this a permissible strategy? My approved upcoming benefits statement classify me as retired. Will I then file as a survivor or widow at age 66 for my deceased husband's benefits?

Hi,

I'm sorry for your . . . Read More

What Is The Family Maximum Benefit On Disability Records?

Category: Family Benefit Maximum
Jan 28 2017 - 10:00am

My husband has now been approved for SSDI. I heard that the family maximum is at most, 150% of his PIA. At the SSA.GOV website it shows this excerpt:

"Maximum Family Amount

Each family member may be eligible for a monthly benefit of up to 50 percent of your disability rate. However, there is a limit to the amount we can pay your family.

The total depends on your benefit amount and the number of family members who also qualify on your record. The total varies, but generally the total amount you and your family can receive is about 150 to 180 percent of . . . Read More

What Is The Most That My Family Could Receive?

Category: Family Benefit Maximum
Jan 28 2017 - 8:00am

I am 49 yrs old and was approved for $1849/mth for SSDI effective May, 2016. My stepson (27) gets $945/mth for SSDI on his own record. He earns about $20k/yr from work which is over the SGA limit but is able to continue to receive his SSDI because his job is a heavily subsidized job where SSA determined that he does not earn or perform SGA. He has been disabled (physically & mentally ) since birth.
Can you tell me how much my family max. benefit or combined family max. benefit is?
Here is my thought, I believe my wife could get spousal benefits under my record . . . Read More

Can A Child Get Survivor Benefits If They Recevie Food Stamps?

Category: Child Benefits
Jan 28 2017 - 7:45am

Can a child receive their deceased parent's Social Security if they are also receiving food stamps and Calworks?

Hi,

Food stamps and other types of public assistance have no effect on a person's entitlement to Social Security benefits, nor the rate of the benefits payable. However, receipt of Social Security benefits could effect the person's eligibility for food stamps and other public assistance payments.

Best, Jerry

Can My Wife Get Spousal Benefits And Her Own Benefits?

Category: Filing Options
Jan 28 2017 - 7:45am

Dear Larry,
I am 64 years old and began collecting benefits at 62. My wife is 63 years old and plans to wait until at least 66 to collect spousal benefits (i.e. 50% of what I would have collected at 66 years old). This much we understand.
In the Feb. 2017 issue of BottomLine magazine you penned an article called "Get What's Yours" whereby you stated that if a spouse turned 62 before Jan. 2016 he or she can claim both spousal benefits once they reach FTA AND they can also still collect their own social security benefits earned, in effect two payments. Is this true . . . Read More

How Much Will My Wife Get If I Die Before Her?

Category: Widow(er) Benefits
Jan 28 2017 - 7:30am

Larry,
Have read 90% of these answers and your book and still can't find an answer to what I think is a simple question.
My only wife and I are the same age (both will be 65 this year) and her SS payout @ 66 is ~$19,800 , @70 ~ $26,300 and mine is ~$30,900, @70 ~$40,800.
All other machinations aside, if I were to die at 71 and I had waited until 70 to claim, would she receive my 70 yr or 66 yr amount or something else? If I died before filing at say 67. would she get the 66yr amount or could she wait to claim survivor benefit at (my) 70th and receive that . . . Read More

Will I Get My Maximum Rate If I Stop Working At Age 62?

Category: Retirement Benefits
Jan 28 2017 - 7:15am

If I retire at 62 and collect my pension, and don't claim my SS benefits until 66 2 months without working for those 4 years will I get my max SSN benefit which is around 2700.00 per month.Thank You

Hi,

Your Social Security retirement benefit rate is calculated based on your highest 35 years of work-adjusted earnings (https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10070.pdf). So, if you stop work at age 62, your eventual benefit rate would not be as high as it would have been had you continued working and paying . . . Read More

How Will Your Software Help Me?

Category: Divorced Spousal Benefits
Jan 28 2017 - 7:00am

I will be 61 this year and my ex husband will be 66. I did not work long enough to collect my own Social Security so I will be collecting thru my ex husband. He made a good income while we were married, so I assume he will be collecting the maximum amount. How will your software help me if I don't have any financial info from my ex?

Hi,

You would need to provide at least the approximate amount of your divorced spousal benefit rate, which would be 50% of your ex-husband's full retirement age rate if you file at your full retirement age. If he won't . . . Read More

Can I Suspend My Benefits At 69+ And Restart Them At Age 70?

Category: Suspending Retirement Benefits
Jan 28 2017 - 7:00am

Can I suspend my benefits at 69 + 8 months and restart it at 70 in May 7, 2017.

Hi,

You can suspend your benefits, but the earliest you can do it is the month after the month of your request. So, you only have a couple days left to suspend benefits starting with February 2017.

Best, Jerry

How Will My Remarriage Affect My Railroad Retirement Benefits?

Category: Railroad Retirement Benefits
Jan 27 2017 - 12:45pm

Larry: I am 68 My deceased husband and I worked for the Railroad and you may not know about RR Retirement but it is much like SS so you can answer as if SS. My husband died 14 years ago. I am collecting spousal benefits from my husband's account. I plan to collect my own RR Retirement at age 70 in July of 2018. I have been told that my husbands benefit will reduce when I collect my own RR Retirement, and supposedly my entire benefit will be increased by about $1000 per mo. In January 2019 I plan to marry and I will be 701/2 my new husband will be 611/2 at that time. How will . . . Read More

What Is Our Best Strategy?

Category: Filing Strategies
Jan 27 2017 - 12:30pm

My FRA is January 2017; my wife's FRA is February 2017. My benefit is about 6 times as large as my wife's benefit. She is not working and will not work in the future. I will work until 2021. Is there an obvious strategy, given the closing of the file and suspend "loophole"?

Hi,

My best guess would be for your wife to file on her record now, and for you to file a restricted application for spousal benefits only. You could then switch to your own record at age 70, and your wife could file for an excess spousal benefit on your record. You may want to . . . Read More

How Does Social Security Keep Track Of Everything?

Category: Filing Strategies
Jan 27 2017 - 12:15pm

I applied for SS. My husband will do the restricted spousal benefit until he is 70. I will continue to work (I am 64) and will try to knock out some my lower earning years and hopefully increase my benefits. How in the world does SS keep track of all these different scenarios that I read about in your column- and upgrade your benefits as they occur??

Hi,

In a word, computers. Most calculations and recomputations are automated now, which makes things much easier.

By the way, until you reach your full retirement age (FRA) at 66, the Social . . . Read More

When Should My Husband File For Benefits?

Category: Filing Options
Jan 27 2017 - 12:00pm

My husband is 62 and worked for "free" at his Mothers bar for 35 years. So he has no social security credits. I am 56 and have worked my whole life. We have 2 children under 16 and my husband has a pacemaker, is deaf in one ear and just had hip replacement surgery. Should he file? Or do we wait until I am 65/67?

Hi,

I'm sorry to hear about your husband's health problems.

Your husband could apply now, but he's apparently not eligible for anything. He'd need to have paid into Social Security for roughly 10 years in order to qualify for either . . . Read More

Should I File On My Ex-Husband's Record?

Category: Divorced Spousal Benefits
Jan 27 2017 - 11:45am

Hi,
I retired early and began collecting social security at age 62. My ex-husband was able to collect a spousal amount based on my social security, which enabled him to keep working and delay his filing for social security until this month when he turned 70. He now collects $2500 after his medicare insurance, while I collect $1382. Would I be better off claiming on his SS or should I stick to my own? Thanks so much, Linda

Hi Linda,

It wouldn't hurt to check, but it doesn't sound like you'd be eligible for divorced spousal benefits. For you to . . . Read More

Can My Wife File For Spousal Benefits At Age 64 And Switch To Her Own Record At Age 70?

Category: Filing Strategies
Jan 27 2017 - 6:00am

Hi Larry, I am 71 and my wife is 64. Both are retired. I started taking Soc Sec at my FRA, 66. We plan to have her delay taking her own benefit until she reaches age 70.
If my wife, at age 64, filed for a spousal benefit now based on my record, I understand that she would get a reduced amount because she has not reached FRA. BUT, when she reaches age 70 and switches to her own benefit, will that early-draw penalty apply to her own earnings benefit? Thank you, Joe

Hi Joe,

What your proposing is not a valid option. If your wife files for spousal . . . Read More

Am I Eligible For Disability Benefits?

Category: Disability Benefits
Jan 27 2017 - 5:45am

I worked for the State of California for 27 years. I was medically retired from the state in 2005, after spending 9 months in the hospital for a severe case of pancreatitis. I have been collecting my retirement benefits since May of 2005 to present. I went back to school and because a surgical tech and work about 1 or 2 times a month. Recently, I went through a total shoulder replacement in November of 2016. I took a fall recently and have to go back in and have it repaired. Currently, I am unable to use my arm, and from what the doctor has said that the recovery and rehab will . . . Read More

Is My Wife Eligible For Benefits On My Record?

Category: Non-Covered Pension - WEP / GPO
Jan 27 2017 - 5:30am

My wife worked for a school system in Texas (TRS) and has retired. She paid very little into Social Security in her life - mostly as part time work and never reached 40 credits. She was previously married for 35 years. It appears she is not eligible for spousal benefits on her previous husband. Is she eligible for a portion of mine? We have been married for 3 1/2 years. I am 70 and have been receiving benefits since 62. She is now 65.

Hi,

Your wife can likely qualify for Medicare coverage based on your record, but if she's already receiving her . . . Read More

When Should I File For My Benefits?

Category: Filing Strategies
Jan 27 2017 - 5:15am

I will be 66 in March. I plan to continue working for at least 5 more years. My husband died in 2011 at the age of 65, he had started receiving his SS at age 62. At the time of his death I was 60 and working. the SS representative told me I could not collect widow's benefits because "I made to much". My question now is should I apply for my retirement or his and save mine until I turn 70? Also is there a time frame to apply?

Hi,

I'm sorry for your loss.

Most likely, the best strategy for you would be to file for widow's benefits now (i.e. . . . Read More

When Am I Eligible For Full Benefits?

Category: Filing Strategies
Jan 27 2017 - 5:15am

I turn 66 in April which would be my full retirement age, and I am taking my deceased spouse's benefits, but when I called Social Security, I was advised that I should take my benefits now, plus I am still working. I thought I had to wait until April to take my full benefits.

Hi,

You would have to wait until April to receive your full rate. If you switch to your own record 3 months earlier than that, your benefit rate will be permanently reduced by roughly 1.67%.

What you should likely do instead is wait until age 70 to file for benefits on . . . Read More

Can I File For Spousal Benefits At Age 66 And Let My Benefit Rate Grow Until Age 70?

Category: Filing Strategies
Jan 27 2017 - 5:00am

I was told by a social security agent that when I turn 66 ( I am 65 now) I could receive half of my husbands benefits and then when I turn 70 I would receive my full benefits. Correct? Is this my best choice?

Hi,

Assuming that your husband is receiving his benefits, then yes you can file a restricted application for spousal benefits only at age 66. You can then file on your own record at age 70, at which time your rate will be 32% higher than if you had taken it at age 66. This is probably your best choice, but you may want to run the maximization . . . Read More

What Happens To My Spousal Benefit If My Wife Dies?

Category: Widow(er) Benefits
Jan 27 2017 - 5:00am

My wife and I are both age 66. She started receiving her benefits at age 62 and I am receiving a spousal benefit on her record (equal to one-half of her FRA) while waiting until age 70 to file for my own benefit. What happens if sometime between now and age 70 (say when we are both age 68), my wife dies? Does my spousal benefit just continue unchanged? Do I have an option at that point to start receiving the benefit she had been receiving (which would be higher than my spousal benefit) or even her full amount since I had never filed for early benefits on my own record? Or is my . . . Read More

Is My Friend Eligible For Food Stamps?

Category: Public Assistance Payments
Jan 27 2017 - 4:45am

I have a friend who lives in NH. She is over 75 and receives $753. monthly from social security. Is she eligible for food stamp? This is her total income.

Hi,

I'm not familiar with the food stamp rules. Here is a link to contact information for the NH DHHS: http://www.dhhs.nh.gov/dfa/foodstamps/contact.htm.

Best, Jerry

Will I Still Be Able To File For Spousal Benefits At Age 66 And Not Touch My Own Benefits Until Age 70?

Category: New Law
Jan 26 2017 - 12:15pm

My husband is 74 and only receiving $1260 per month social security. I will be 66 in November 2018- a year and a half from now. Under the new laws is it possible for me to file spousal benefits (50% of what he is receiving monthly) and not touch my working benefits until I am 70 in order to maximize my earnings benefits at that age? Does the new laws prohibit me from collecting spousal benefits if I wait to file for my own social security benefits until age 70? The Government web page seems to imply that I can no longer do this and we had planned to do this for years to help us . . . Read More

Can I Draw Widow's Benefits At Age 60 And Keep Working?

Category: Filing Strategies
Jan 26 2017 - 12:00pm

Hi Larry, my husband passed 2013 and was receiving disability benefits for 1 yr. I am 59 yrs old and was told that when I turn 60 I could draw my husband's benefits and still work. I plan on working for 10 more yrs. My question is can I draw all his benefits and continue to work? I also was told that if I wait until retirement age that his benefits would be much higher and i would receive a much bigger benefit. Please advise.

Hi,

I'm sorry for your loss.

If you file for widow's benefits prior to full retirement age (FRA), your benefits will be . . . Read More

How Can I Find My Break-Even Point?

Category: Filing Options
Jan 26 2017 - 11:45am

I am single with no option of filing on anyone else's benefits. I would like to retire and collect my SS at 66 (full retirement for me), but still keep working. How can I find the break even point for me so I can decide whether to try and wait until I'm 70 to start collecting? I do have an employer pension fund which I can begin taking at 65, or defer until later.
Thank you.

Hi,

For Larry's thoughts on using break-even analysis to make filing decisions, refer to the following column: . . . Read More

Does WEP Affect Divorced Spousal Benefits?

Category: Non-Covered Pension - WEP / GPO
Jan 26 2017 - 11:15am

* In 2015, at 66 (FRA) I filed a restricted application for SS, opting for a small spousal benefit on my current spouse's record, and deferring my own benefits till I'm 70.
* I've received a small Belgian SS pension since 2014 (age 65), ranging from $375 to $410 a month depending on the exchange rate. (10 years of work in Belgium with mandatory SS contributions, followed by 14 in the US with mandatory SS contributions -- leaving me with sufficient credits in both countries so that the totalization agreement with Belgium does not apply to me or make the WEP moot.) . . . Read More

Can I Stop Drawing My Retirement Benefits If I Find A Job?

Category: Filing Strategies
Jan 26 2017 - 8:00am

I am 64 years old and was laid off from my position as Advertising Manager in August. In order to survive this past November I filed for SS Retirement - which, as we know is considerably less than what it would have been had I waited until 66 or later.

If (BIG if) I am able to locate a full time position and can stop Retirement benefits - to restart at a later date - would I receive what had been projected for my 66 year old benefit or would it be what it I am currently currently receiving - about $300 a month less. I have also heard that if you want the full benefit, . . . Read More

When Should I File For Benefits In Order To Maximize The Amount Paid?

Category: Filing Strategies
Jan 26 2017 - 8:00am

I am a an American citizen married to a Canadian man. I worked and live in the U.S. until the age of 32 when I moved to Canada. I have retained U.S. citizenship and have filed annual income tax returns in the U.S. (as well as Canada). I am age 57 and fully retired. My husband is also retired. We have one daughter (age 20) who is currently attending university in Canada. We have sufficient savings to live comfortably for the foreseeable future. When (at what age) should I consider applying to receive Social Security from the U.S. and how can I maximize the amount paid?

. . . Read More

What Month Should My Husband File For Spousal Benefits?

Category: Spousal Benefits
Jan 26 2017 - 7:45am

My husband will be 66 (FRA) on May 14, 2017. He will be applying for the restricted spousal benefit only. Do you tell SS that May is the month you want to begin your entitlement? Or do you say June? We just want to make sure we do this FRA correctly. He wants to begin right away. How early can you submit this application. Thanks...

Hi,

Full retirement age for your husband is May 2017, so that's the month he'd choose as his first month of entitlement. Social Security payments for May are paid in June, though.

Social Security applications can . . . Read More

Will My Mother's Husband's Spousal Benefit Increase If She Dies Before Him?

Category: Widow(er) Benefits
Jan 26 2017 - 7:45am

Your software looks amazing. I'm sharing a link on my Facebook page and will be exploring all that you offer. So glad to have found this site!

I asked about Survivor benefits, but I think I need to be more clear. My mother's husband began getting spousal benefits based on HER social security at age 65. He gets about $200 a month after his Medicare payment is deducted. My mother collected survivor's benefits from her previous spouse, so her current husband is the only person who has ever drawn against her SSI. My mother is dying. Will her husband be eligible for an . . . Read More

What Is Our Best Strategy?

Category: Filing Options
Jan 26 2017 - 7:30am

My husband turns 66 in July - I am 64 and we have a 15 year old grandchild of whom we have custody. We need to file for his SS in order to buy a house. He plans to keep working as do i, for another couple of years. Is our best option to just file for his? I think I read that we can file for additional benefit for the child - is that correct? Thank you!

Hi,

Your grandchild won't qualify for child's benefits on your or your husband's records unless he is either adopted, or if both of his natural parents are either disabled or deceased.

The best . . . Read More

Will My Benefit Rate Be Lower Because I Retired At Age 63?

Category: Retirement Benefits
Jan 26 2017 - 7:30am

I am now 66 and have been retired since age 63. I do not plan to file for my SS benefit until age 70 since my husband, who is 62, will continue to work full time until he is 66. Will my overall SS benefit (at claiming) be decreased due to to the years of no income from age 63-70?

Hi,

Your retirement benefit rate will be based on an average of your highest 35 years of work-indexed earnings (https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10070.pdf). So, if you had continued working at a higher rate of earnings . . . Read More

Will I Still Be Eligible For Social Security?

Category: Filing Strategies
Jan 26 2017 - 7:00am

I have several questions that I am hoping you can help me with. Just a little history. Our daughter was born with a large facial tumor on her nose and upper lip called a hemangioma. She is 22 and has had 11 surgeries to date. She was also born with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis which seems to be in remission. Eight years ago she was diagnosed with OCD and anxiety which we have managed with therapy and no medication. I gave up my career to care for her and we have struggled to make ends meet. My husband is an electrician and due to circumstances beyond our control, we are in . . . Read More

Can My Wife Collect Spousal Benefits Before I File?

Category: Spousal Benefits
Jan 26 2017 - 7:00am

I am 59 and the major money earner. My wife is 66 and at her FRA. She will retire at 67, and her earnings are quite a bit less than mine (and of course her SS is much less than mine). My question is can she collect my SS benefits on my higher earnings (I will be 60 when she retires so I will not be able to claim SS) , and what effect will this have on my benefits when I start collecting? Her SS will not be collected until she reaches 70. If she can not use my benefits as a spouse what strategy should we use to maximize our benefits?

Hi,

No, your wife . . . Read More

Will My Mother's Husband Be Eligible For Survivor Benefits?

Category: Widow(er) Benefits
Jan 25 2017 - 8:15am

My mother's husband began getting spousal benefits at age 65. He gets about $200 a month after his Medicare payment is deducted. My mother collected survivor's benefits from her previous spouse. My mother is dying. Will her husband be eligible for an increase in benefits as a survivor?

Hi,

I'm sorry to hear about your mother.

Her husband wouldn't be eligible for any part of her widow's benefits, but he could be eligible for benefits on your mother's record if she is insured for benefits on her own record, and if the rate payable on her record . . . Read More

Will My Benefits Increase When My Ex-Husband Files?

Category: Divorced Spousal Benefits
Jan 25 2017 - 7:30am

Already collecting spousal Benifits ex getting ready to retire at age 70 will my benefits increase? Also was I entitled to any of pension during marriage he work well over 10 years for Foad Motors

Hi,

No, your divorced spousal benefit rate will not change when your ex-husband starts drawing his benefits. I don't know if you could be eligible for anything from his pension plan at Ford Motors.

Best, Jerry

Can My Husband File For Spousal Benefits Only At Age 66 And Let His Own Rate Grow Until Age 70?

Category: Filing Strategies
Jan 25 2017 - 7:30am

I am impressed with your prompt answers here..thank you.. Confusion on my part- I will be drawing SS at 65. Can my husband apply for restricted Spousal benefits at his FRA- and let his grow to 70? Irregardless of what our own benefits figure out to be?? Or are their stipulations to this? We both fall into the cut off date before 1954.

Hi,

Yes, if you are drawing your benefits and your husband was born before January 2 1954, he can file for spousal benefits only at age 66 and let his own benefit rate grow until age 70 ( . . . Read More

Are My Wife And I Grandfathered Under The File And Suspend Option?

Category: New Law
Jan 25 2017 - 7:00am

Jerry - Am getting mixed guidance on whether my wife and I are eligible for file and suspend, or restricted application. We are both currently 63 and will reach FRA of 66 yrs old in June and August of 2019.
We thought that we were grandfathered for the file-and-suspend option since we both were age 62 as of 1 Jan 2015. We recall that criteria (being 62 on 1 Jan 2015) as allowing us to retain that Option when we get to our FRA. Therefore, we thought that we can still exercise that Option in 2019.
Are we mistaken?
Thx

Hi,

You and . . . Read More

Can I File For Spousal Benefits At Age 66 And Switch To My Own Record At Age 70?

Category: Filing Strategies
Jan 25 2017 - 6:45am

My husband is 67 and receiving his full retirement benefits. I will be 66 years in March 2017. Can I file to receive spousal benefits after my 66th birthday with no penalty at 70 years when I apply of my own (my base is more than my husband's)?
If I am can collect spousal with no penalites at 70 years, when should I file and how?
Thank you.
DJ

Hi,

Yes, since you were born before January 2 1954, you can file a restricted application for spousal benefits only effective at age 66, while letting your own rate continue to grow until . . . Read More

Has Social Security Announced The 'Substantial Earnings' Amount For 2017?

Category: Non-Covered Pension - WEP / GPO
Jan 25 2017 - 6:45am

In 2015 & 2016 Substantial Earnings in regards to WEP was $22,050. Has SS issued the amount for 2017? I cant find any reference to the 2017 minimum earnings. I want to know how much I need to earn in 2017 for another year mitigating the effects of WEP. Thanks

Hi,

I don't know if the 2017 substantial earnings amount has been determined. If so, it hasn't yet been posted on Social Security's website. It should be announced soon, however, so you may want to keep checking their WEP fact sheet (https . . . Read More

Could My Wife Draw Spousal Benefits At Age 62 And Let Her Own Benefits Grow Until Age 70?

Category: Filing Strategies
Jan 25 2017 - 6:30am

Hi Larry. Thanks for your interest in providing support for complex Social Security questions. My fiancee is 61. She was married over ten years and still working. I am 64, a widower, and collecting Social Security Survivors benefits. We are planning on getting married. It is my understanding that my fiancee will lose the ability to collect Social Security benefits on her ex spouse if we get married, unless we later get divorced. It is also my understanding that my remarriage will not affect my ability to continue to receiving Survivor benefits until age 70 at which time I can . . . Read More

When Should I Apply For Benefits?

Category: Filing Options
Jan 25 2017 - 6:00am

I am 63 years old and due to financial need, I intend to file for my Social Security benefits now and will be asking to suspend until them until I reach age 64 in October of this year . I am not asking for spousal benefits but is that a possibility as my husband began receiving his benefits at age 70. He is now 75. My estimated monthly benefit will be $1402.00 at age 64. My husband's monthly benefit is $802.00.
I have used your software and it basically says that I need to wait until age 66 to get maximum benefits. As I will need my retirement income at the end of this . . . Read More

How Does A Combined Family Maximum Work?

Category: Family Benefit Maximum
Jan 25 2017 - 5:00am

Will you explain Combined Family Maximums (different than the Family Maximum), as it would apply to a husband receiving retirement benefits, a disabled adult child receiving benefits on the husband's record, and a wife who is receiving child in care benefits and who will soon be eligible on her own work record also. Her PIA is much less than 50% of her husband's PIA.
My understanding is that a Combined Family Maximum is not just the Family Maximum of one wage earner added to the Family Maximum of the second wage earner. The SSA puts limits on the amounts that can be paid . . . Read More

Can I Collect Divorced Spousal Benefits Retroactively?

Category: Divorced Spousal Benefits
Jan 25 2017 - 4:30am

I am 70 years old, divorced, and still working full-time. I satisfied the divorced spousal requirements to collect benefits at age 66 when I went to Social Security to discuss collecting benefits. I was told that my benefits were more than 50% of my former husband's benefits and I, therefore, could not collect on his account. I was not informed that I could collect his for four years, 66-70, and let my benefits maximize to age 70 - I have now begun collecting my benefits at age 70. It was the first edition of your book which alerted me to the fact that I could have been . . . Read More

How Does The Earnings Test Work?

Category: Earnings Test
Jan 24 2017 - 6:45am

Larry, I'm confused on the earnings test. My DOB is 1-5-1952, if I retire this year (2017) @ 65 and still work, how much could I earn per month and not effect my benefits? I plan to retire in July and will have made about 35,000 this year at that point, It seems the earnings test doesn't do me any good because I don't reach FRA in this year. I miss it by 3or 4 days. I'm I correct on this?

Hi,

The main thing you need to understand is that there are 2 separate earnings tests (https://www. . . . Read More

Can I Get Benefits On My Deceased Ex-Spouse's Record?

Category: Divorced Widow(er) Benefits
Jan 24 2017 - 6:30am

hello,
i am 58 yrs old. i began recieving Ss disability at the age 44 or 45 due to a freak accident losing complete use my right arm. it had been severed to the elbow.
my husband and i were married in 1998, separated in 2002 and divorced in 2011. he passed away at the age of 86.
he recently passed away and i am wondering what my rights are as an ex-spouse survivor ,collecting disability. i know i am entitled to something but i dont know eactly what and if it will be benifical to me or just leave well enough as is is. hence the saying..IF IT IS NOT BROKE, . . . Read More

Which Of My Pensions Would Be Reduced?

Category: Non-Covered Pension - WEP / GPO
Jan 24 2017 - 6:30am

Lived in U.S. for approx 15 years paying SS Tax and worked in U.K. for approx. 4 years paying U.K. Retirement taxes. The rest of the time lived in England and received Disability Benefits. While receiving Disability in England, English Government credited contributions to U.K pension. but I made no contributions. Where do I stand with respect withholding . If withholding applies, which pension would be reduced? Thanks.

Hi,

I don't know much about the UK pension system, but if your UK pension is based at least in part on your work there, it could . . . Read More

How Much Is The Spousal Benefit?

Category: Spousal Benefits
Jan 24 2017 - 6:00am

I am 64 and just applied for SS. I will be 65 on 3/9/17. My first payment is in May due to withholding checks yet this year as I continue to work. My husband will be 66 in May and will do the restricted spousal benefit until he is 70. My question is- what is the excess spousal/ supplemental benefit?? Is this something I can do when he reaches 70 and applies for his own SS? Or is this the best we can do or figure out? Thanks for any input here...

Hi,

Unreduced Social Security spousal benefits are equal to 50% of the worker's full retirement age benefit . . . Read More

Is There Some Type Of Life Insurance Paid To Widow(er)s?

Category: Widow(er) Benefits
Jan 24 2017 - 6:00am

Someone informed me that upon the death of a spouse, SS has an actual lump sum life insurance benefit paid to widowers. The only information I have found in regards to this, is a lump sum death benefit of $250. Is there another lump sum death benefit that is available? I'm aware of the survival benefits but this individual was speaking about a one time payment and much larger lump sum then $250, are they mistaken? Thank you for your response...

Hi,

It sounds like you were misinformed. The $255 lump sum death benefit ( . . . Read More

Would I Be Eligible For Benefits On My Boyfriend's Record If We Get Married?

Category: Spousal Benefits
Jan 24 2017 - 5:45am

My boyfriend divorced in 2016 I have been living with him since 2015. He receives a pension from his job he retired@ 55 and gets 2700 month will start receiving his SS benefits @62 next month. I am 52 and get SSDI. I have a pension plan at my former employer whenever I can start collecting that 60. If I marry him in 2017 what benefits can I get from his ss benefits if any and when. His Ex 51made more than him and is receiving SSDI and LTD benefits.

Hi,

You wouldn't qualify for spousal benefits until at least age 62, and even then, you would only be . . . Read More

Can My Grandchildren Get Benefits On My Record?

Category: Child Benefits
Jan 24 2017 - 5:45am

Hi Larry, I have 2 minor grandchildren and their Mother (Mt daughter) living with us and I claim the 2 children as dependents on my income taxes. They will be living with us permanently and my daughter cannot work as she is the care giver of them both. I am supporting them and will be qualified for FRA at 66 in May 2017. Can I receive extra SS benefits for my grand children's support? My daughter is divorced and there is no support from the father.

Hi,

Grandchildren can only qualify for benefits on their grandparent's Social Security record if they . . . Read More

When Can My Husband Collect Spousal Benefits?

Category: Filing Strategies
Jan 24 2017 - 5:15am

My husband is 4 years younger than I and earns about $45,000 /yr gross. I just turned 63. I work for local government and will probably not get much SSN if anything under WEP since I make $109,000 gross when I retire early next year. My estimated SS payout will be about $1300 at my age 65. Right now its about $700. I'd like my husband to start collecting spousal social security from my acct asap. What do I have to do so he can collect? And when is he eligible to collect from my acct? I'd like him to leave his alone till age 70.

Hi,

It doesn't sound . . . Read More

Can My Wife File At Age 62 And Receive Half Of My Benefit Amount?

Category: Spousal Benefits
Jan 23 2017 - 5:15pm

Hi Larry - question about spousal benefits.
I am 69, still working, waiting until 70 to begin SS benefits (begins this coming Dec), did a "file and suspend" prior to the ending date last year.
My wife will be 62 this coming November. Can she file at 62 for spousal benefits to start receiving half my benefit amount? Thanks!

Hi,

No. If your wife files for spousal benefits at age 62, she'll receive a reduced rate of about 30.5% less than half of your full retirement age rate. For example, if your full retirement age rate was $2000, her . . . Read More

Can My Husband File For Spousal Benefits Only At FRA Even If I Take My Benefits Early?

Category: Filing Strategies
Jan 23 2017 - 5:00pm

I am 65 and so is my husband. I will reach full retirement age in December 2017. Neither of us has filled yet for Social Security. We want for me to file for my own and for my husband to file a restricted application for a spousal benefit based on my benefit. (so he can let his benefit grow until he is 70)Can we do that if I file about 4 months early (reducing my benefit by about 2% I think) or do I have to wait until my full retirement age for him to be eligible (He will be FRA when he files)? If we can still do it will he get half my actual benefit or half my full benefit ( . . . Read More

Should I File For Benefits On My Own Record Now?

Category: Filing Strategies
Jan 23 2017 - 7:15am

Hi Larry,

My three questions concern whether my husband and I will be negatively impacted by employing the following strategies.

I am 64 years old and have always been a low income earner. My estimated benefit at age 66, which is not likely to rise, will be a little less than half of my husband’s benefit at his present age of 66. He just turned 66 and plans to wait until at least 68 to receive his.

I am thinking about filing for my benefit now, since (if I’m understanding this correctly) there doesn’t seem to be any point in waiting, and then taking the . . . Read More

When Is The Soonest That I Could Receive Divorced Spousal Benefits?

Category: Divorced Spousal Benefits
Jan 23 2017 - 7:00am

I am going to be 52 on July 9 this year . Was married in 1991 for 11 years 9 months divorced in 2003. M ex-husband was born on April 1967.

Due to my diagnosis back in 1991 of M.S. i filed for long term disability in 2003, 2003 was a rough year to say the least!!
My question, can I file against my ex-husbands Social Security, if so when is the soonest can I file against it!

He is still working to my knowledge!

Patiently and eagerly await your prompt reply!

Marti

Hi Marti,

I'm sorry to hear about your diagnosis. . . . Read More

What Will Happen If I File At Age 62?

Category: Spousal Benefits
Jan 23 2017 - 6:30am

My husband started SS benefits at 64.5 years old (to access parent-in-care and CDB) and suspended this past July at FRA. I can start age 62 benefits next month and realize I will be deemed, but is my spousal 50% of his FRA benefit, or some reduced amount because he started benefits early? My own age 62 benefit is $900 and my (former) parent-in-care benefit was $1024.

Hi,

Unless you have an entitled child in your care, your spousal benefits will be reduced if you start drawing them prior to your full retirement age (FRA). The reduction amount is based . . . Read More

Will My Child In Care Spousal Benefits End When I Reach Age 66?

Category: Spousal Benefits
Jan 23 2017 - 5:45am

Thank you so much for your answer to my question about Child in Care benefits and filing on my own record (January 21 2017). I think I need to get the software. I am confused about your answer, however. You said I would still qualify for Child in Care benefits if I file for my own at age 65 years and 7 months. I understand that part, but won't Child in Care benefits end when I turn 66? I always assumed that I would have to file under my own or spousal benefits, or a combination of the two, when I reached Full Retirement Age.
Thanks!
Karen

Hi . . . Read More

Is My Step-Grandchild Eligible For Benefits On My Record?

Category: Child Benefits
Jan 22 2017 - 2:45pm

If I as the stepgrandparent and my husband (biological grandparent) share custody of my stepgranchild with the child's natural parents is the grandchild eligible for benefits under my (stepgrandparent) record?

Hi,

A grandchild or step-grandchild can only become eligible for child's benefits on a grandparent's record if they are adopted by their grandparent, or if both of their natural or adoptive parents are either deceased or disabled (https://secure.ssa.gov/apps10/poms.nsf/lnx/ . . . Read More

What Do You Advise In Our Case?

Category: Filing Options
Jan 22 2017 - 8:45am

I just turned 62 in December 2016. My husband is 59. I was just notified my job is being phased out in the next few months. I made less than $300 for the last two months. I am in poor health. My husband is only working part time. After losing a job and being injured. We are struggling financially. I am considering filing for benefits strictly because of financial hardship. What do you advise? Help!

Hi,

I'm sorry to hear about the problems that you're having.

You may want to consider running the maximization software available on this website . . . Read More

How Can We Best Maximize Our Benefits?

Category: Disability Benefits
Jan 22 2017 - 8:15am

Hi Larry, thank you for helping all of us folk with SSI questions. That is very, very kind of you. Anyway, I am 55 yrs young lady and I am married, my husband is 57 and works full time. I became disabled in 2010, and I started receiving SSDI IN 2011, and would like to know what I should to maximize my future income. Because we have no savings left as it mostly went to doctor and hospital bills, not to mention a trip to California for brain surgery at Stanford. We stayed there for 5 weeks. Myself, husband and son. Sadly, I don't believe I will ever go back to work. We don't have . . . Read More

Will My Rate Be 24% Higher If I Start Drawing Benefits At Age 69?

Category: Delayed Retirement Credits
Jan 22 2017 - 8:00am

Hi Larry, My question is I will be 69 in June 2017. I want to wait until age 70, but I'm running out of money. If I apply and request my SS benefit in June 2017, and I receive my first benefit in July will the increase be 24% over my FRA 66?

Hi,

Eventually, yes. However, when you file for benefits between full retirement age and age 70, you are initially only credited with the delayed retirement credits (DRC) accrued through the December prior to your month of entitlement. In your case, if you file effective with June 2017 at age 69, you will . . . Read More

Would WEP Affect My Social Security Benefit Rate?

Category: Non-Covered Pension - WEP / GPO
Jan 22 2017 - 8:00am

If I collect my Social Security benefit and am not yet collecting my benefit from my employer, who did not deduct Social Security taxes, and I have 30 years of substantial earnings does my Social Security benefit reduce by the Windfall provision?

Hi,

No, the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) doesn't apply unless and until you start drawing the non-covered pension. And, if you have at least 30 years of 'substantial' covered earnings (https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10045.pdf), you would be . . . Read More

What Is Best For Us?

Category: Filing Strategies
Jan 22 2017 - 8:00am

I plan on taking my SSA this year when I reach FRA. My wife will only be 63. If she starts taking her SSA now what are the pluses and minuses of that . Will her SSA increase when she does rech FRA? What is the best way to handle this ?

Hi,

If your wife starts drawing benefits at age 63, her benefits will be reduced by around 20% to 25% depending on whether she's eligible on her own record or for spousal benefits. And, the reduction would not go away when she reaches full retirement age.

If your wife is eligible for benefits on her own record . . . Read More

Am I Eligible For Spousal Benefits?

Category: Spousal Benefits
Jan 22 2017 - 7:30am

I am 66 as of Sept 2016 and began my benefits at 62. I currently receive $842 after Medicare deductions. My husband is 78 and receives $1,997.00 following deductions. Am I able to apply and receive spousal benefit since I have reached full retirement age now? I have been told I can not but that info came second hand. I have not been able to find this exact example in my internet searches. Thanks for your help.

Hi,

It doesn't sound likely. If your husband was entitled to his benefits when you filed for your retirement benefits at age 62, you would . . . Read More

What Is Our Best Strategy?

Category: Maximize My Social Security Software
Jan 22 2017 - 7:15am

I purchased the maximize my social security but I'm really confused about timing. I'm the higher earner. I am married Charlie's birth year is1953 mine 1958. he will quit working 2018 I will continue until 2024. What's the best strategy?? For Charlie to get his SS benefit then 50% spousal? I am really confused over spousal benefits and filing and restricting and suspending.

Hi,

I don't have access to the records of people using the maximization software, so if you have questions about it's use or your results, you'll need to submit an online contact . . . Read More

Is My Step-Grandson Eligible For Benefits On My Record?

Category: Child Benefits
Jan 22 2017 - 7:15am

I'm on SSDI. My stepson, his girlfriend and their child live in my home and I provide over half of their support. My stepson and the girlfriend are too old to draw benefits under my record. My stepson works but doesn't have enough income to fully support the 3 of them, the mother does not work. She is currently working on getting her GED and drivers license. Both parents are 23. My step grandson is 10 months old. He was born 3/19/16 and moved into my home on 5/13/16. Is my step grandson eligible for benefits under my disability benefits?

Hi,

It doesn' . . . Read More

Can You Draw Widow's Benefits And Still Work?

Category: Earnings Test
Jan 22 2017 - 7:15am

If you collect widows benefits, can you still work and receive your benefits at the same time.

Hi,

Possibly, but the Social Security earnings test may limit the amount that you can draw prior to full retirement age. For more information on the earnings test, refer to Social Security's website: https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/whileworking2.html.

Can A Widower Get Survivor Benefits And His Own Full Benefit?

Category: Widow(er) Benefits
Jan 21 2017 - 7:30am

Can a widower at FRA collect on his wife's survivor benefit and also get his full benefit?

Thank you!

Hi,

No, if a person is entitled to both widower's benefits and benefits on his own record, he can only receive the higher of the 2 benefits.

Best, Jerry

Will My Boyfriend's Earnings Affect My Benefits?

Category: Retirement Benefits
Jan 21 2017 - 7:30am

I plan to take early retirement at 62 because I also get a small monthly pension from IBM. I will get 1800 from SS and my boyfriend will make 2400 monthly. If we live together, will our combined amount of $4200 stay the same or go down and why? Please reply ASAP because our future depends upon it.

Thank you,

Bobbi

Hi Bobbi,

I'm not sure that I understand your question. Your boyfriend's earnings would have no effect on your Social Security benefit rate, though, if that's what you're asking.

Best, Jerry

Will My Husband Receive Benefits If I File At Age 66?

Category: Spousal Benefits
Jan 21 2017 - 7:15am

I am grandfathered in on the social security restricted application, born Sept 1953. My husband born Dec 1956. If I take my ss benefits at FRA of 66 will my husband receives ss benefits?

Hi,

Possibly. He'll be over 62 when you turn 66, so if you file then for retirement benefits he could file for reduced spousal benefits. He'd also be deemed to be filing for benefits on his own record, though, and he'd only receive essentially the higher of the 2 benefits.

It sounds like you and your husband have a number of potential filing options . . . Read More

When Will My Wife Be Eligible For Spousal Benefits?

Category: Spousal Benefits
Jan 21 2017 - 7:00am

Hi Larry.

I was born in Nov 1952 and my wife was born in Dec 1956. While I have worked most of my life, my wife had only worked for just about a year and then just stayed at home as a housewife all her life because she suffered from back pain.

A have a few questions for you:

1. I would be turning 66 in Nov 2018. I plan on getting my benefits starting at age 66. As I turn 66, my wife would be turning 62. Would she be able to get any spousal benefits at age 62 or does she have to wait until she turns 66 to get any spousal benefits?

2. I and my . . . Read More

How Should I File At Age 65 And Provide For Spousal Benefits?

Category: Filing Strategies
Jan 21 2017 - 6:45am

I intended to file and suspend at 66 but circumstances have changed with the new regulations. I am going tp take my SS at 65 in May 2017. My wife will terminate her employment in August 2017. In lieu of the change in file and suspend option, how should I file at 65 and incorporate my spouse's availability at 65 to claim benefits?

You are the best and I appreciate you support and input.

Thank you.

Gary

Hi Gary,

To answer your question, you would simply file your application and list your marriage information in the application . . . Read More

Is My Wife Eligible For Benefits Now?

Category: Spousal Benefits
Jan 21 2017 - 6:45am

Thank You for this opportunity.
Younger earning spouse 56 and Older non working spouse 62.
I am the sole provider and have been for many years. My wife has turned 62 not able to work and I am 56 still working.
Is She able to qualify for some or part of my benefits?
You site looks really interesting and I appreciate this amazing resource.
Andy.

Hi Andy,

Sorry I can't give you better news, but your wife won't be eligible for spousal benefits until you start drawing your benefits ( . . . Read More

How Much Will We Get If I Apply On My Own Record?

Category: Family Benefit Maximum
Jan 21 2017 - 6:15am

My husband retired at age 66 in October 2016. He receives $2649 in SS benefits. Our adult disabled son also receives benefits on my husband's record and I am receiving Child In Care benefits. My son and I are both entitled to 50% of my husband's amount ($1324) but since the Family Maximum applies, we each receive $993.
I will be 66 in April 2018. I want to file for my own as well as spousal benefits in November of 2017 - since the Combined Family Maximum limits how much we could receive as a family it doesn't help us to wait until I am FRA. My own benefit amount is $818 . . . Read More

When Can My Wife Get Medicare Based On My Work Credits?

Category: Medicare
Jan 21 2017 - 5:45am

I am 60 and my wife is 65 and she does not have enough credits to qualify for her own social security.

Can my wife get medicare now, even though if I'm not yet at retirement age?

Can she get social security benefits once I reach retirement age?

Thank you!

Hi,

Your wife is eligible to sign up for Parts B & D of Medicare at age 65 regardless of your age. She could also sign up for Medicare Part A on a premium basis, but wouldn't be eligible for premium free Part A based on your work credits until you turn age 62. Unless . . . Read More

Can I Apply For Benefits Based On My Husband's Earnings?

Category: Spousal Benefits
Jan 20 2017 - 3:30pm

My husband is not a citizen however he paid into social security. He worked in the U..S. for years. I am a citizen. Can I apply for his social security?

Hi,

Possibly. He would have to be entitled to retirement or disability benefits in order for you to be eligible, though, among other requirements. For more information on spousal benefits, refer to Social Security's website: https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/applying6.html.

Best, Jerry

For What Month Was My Check I Just Received?

Category: Payment Dates
Jan 20 2017 - 3:15pm

Was the social security check I recited on Jan 18 for Jan or dec

Hi,

Assuming that it was your regular monthly check, it was for December (https://www.ssa.gov/OP_Home/handbook/handbook.01/handbook-0121.html).

Best, Jerry

Can A Widow Still Get Benefits If She Remarries After Age 60 To A Husband She Previously Divorced?

Category: Widow's Benefits
Jan 20 2017 - 8:15am

I read your book, and loved it, but I can't find anything that covers the specific question. You do talk about the potential of divorce to obtain benefits, so I have a hypothetical for you. Hypothetical: A widow of a man entitled to Social Security benefits was to get remarried and subsequently divorced BOTH prior to age 60 ( that is, married before age 60 and divorced before age 60) and began applying for and receiving Widows benefits. She then, After age 60, remarried the very same man she divorced before age 60, would she still receive her benefits or is there some . . . Read More

How Much Can I Earn Without Losing My Disability Benefits?

Category: Disabled Adult Child Benefits
Jan 20 2017 - 8:00am

hello I need some advice

I have been getting social security benefits since I was 11 months old off my now deceased adopted father for my life long disability which gives me social security medical and financial benefits

but my question is was told I could return to work part time and if I keep it under a certain amount per month it will not effect my benefits

but I was also told if I go over a limit then social security will begin to deduct from my social security benefits and eventually cut it off completely if I make to much money

but what I . . . Read More

Can My Wife Get Social Security Now And Railroad Spousal Benefits Later?

Category: Railroad Retirement & Social Security
Jan 20 2017 - 8:00am

I am 60 and eligible for RR retirement at age 62. My wife is 2 years older than me. Can she draw SS from 62-64 and then switch to RR Retirement (spousal portion)?

Hi,

Yes, your wife could take reduced retirement benefits on her own record at 62, assuming that she qualifies, and then later get Railroad spousal benefits. I can't tell you whether or not that's her best strategy, though.

If your wife is drawing Social Security and then becomes eligible for Railroad spousal benefits, she'll receive the higher of a) her Social Security benefit, or b . . . Read More

Can I File For Reduced Benefits On My Own Record And Switch To A Full Spousal Benefit At Age 66?

Category: Filing Strategies
Jan 20 2017 - 7:45am

I am 63. I would like to take my early social security benefits. My husband is 64 and he will take his full benefits at 66, can I change over to receive the spousal benefits on his account when I am 66 for full benefits?

Hi,

No, you can't. Once you file for benefits on your own record, that becomes your primary benefit for life. And, if you start your benefits before full retirement age (FRA), the reduction that you take will be permanent. You could later become eligible for an excess spousal benefit if your husband's full retirement age rate is . . . Read More

What Is My Best Strategy?

Category: Non-Covered Pension - WEP / GPO
Jan 20 2017 - 7:30am

My husband passed away 2 months ago at age 64. I am still working at age 65 and paying into SERS .I used to pay into social security for about 20 years but after changing career paths I no longer pay into social security. My question is, can I collect my husbands social security now and keep working and paying into my SERS? I'm working because of my medical coverage but it would help to have his social security since he has passed and I no longer have his income to pay bills. I hope this makes sense I would greatly appreciate your answers.

Hi,

I'm . . . Read More

What Is The Best Strategy In Our Case?

Category: Filing Strategies
Jan 20 2017 - 6:30am

My husband lost his job December 2014 at 61 yrs old and was diagnosed with major depression and schizoid personality disorder (he was a software engineer) and has been unable to find work, finally giving up. My daughter turned 14 yesterday. I work full time as an accounting auditor. We bought your software and did the calculations and then they changed the SS laws. We got your new book and read it, but feel our situation is too complex to make a decision that will last a lifetime on our own. Should we fight hard for disability for him and expect to get significant payments for . . . Read More

What If I'm On Disability And Return To Work?

Category: Disability Benefits
Jan 20 2017 - 6:15am

I am receiving ssdi for over 5 years, 60 years old and would like to try part time work for myself. Can I do that? And if I do, and then file for social security benefits when reaching retirement age, will I receive the same amount?

Hi,

If you haven't worked previously since starting disability benefits, you wouldn't lose your benefits for the first year of work no matter how much you earn. After that, your benefits would be suspended if you earn more than about $1170 per month. And, if you earn enough to cause your disability benefits to stop and . . . Read More

What If I Didn't File Self-Employment Tax Returns Timely?

Category: Self-Employment Earnings
Jan 19 2017 - 1:30pm

May I ask 2 questions.
1. Years ago, (being self employed) I had some income tax problems and did not file for years. I finally filed and paid my back taxes on an offer and comprise. I just turned 62 and filed for my SS but 4 of my top years were not credited. At the SS office they said it was due to the fact that I did not pay those years within a 3 year 3 month 14 day time period(?). Is this correct? If so is there any way around it?

2. My wife worked for 5 years paying into SS and then worked 28 years for City government paying into a pension system in place . . . Read More

Can I Collect My Own Benefits At Age 62 And Then Switch To Widow's Benefits Age FRA?

Category: Filing Strategies
Jan 19 2017 - 8:30am

Hi
I am 62. Still working part time
My husband passed away 7 years ago..
Can I collect on my SS which is less than my husbands?
And then switch to his SS , which is more, when I reached retirement age.
Thanks in advance

Hi,

I'm sorry for your loss.

Yes, you can potentially file for reduced retirement benefits at age 62 and then get unreduced widow's benefits at your full retirement age. However, in some cases it's better to file for reduced widow's benefits first, and then switch to your own record at age . . . Read More

Was My Benefit Rate Calculated Using Only Part Of My Delayed Retirement Credits?

Category: Delayed Retirement Credits
Jan 19 2017 - 8:00am

I filed for benefits in July 2016 at age 69 and 7 months. Was my benefit calculated based on my age at the beginning of the calendar year? If so, will the benefit be adjusted for the additional 7 months? Also, did the calculation only include income through 2015. If so, will the benefit be adjusted for 2016 earnings? May not amount to much, but every dollar counts. Thanks.

Hi,

Yes, your initial benefit rate would have included only the delayed retirement credits (DRC) you earned through December 2015, and would have been based on your highest 35 . . . Read More

When Will My Social Security Benefits Start?

Category: Payment Dates
Jan 19 2017 - 8:00am

I signed up for SS at the social security office and was told benefits start in April 2017. ( I'll be 66 in March) Now I have received a letter from SSA telling me that my benefit is due through March. When do they start? My filing date was Dec.5, 2016. Thanks , Denise

Hi Denise,

Social Security benefits are normally paid in the month after the month for which they are due. If you elected to start benefits effective at full retirement age, which would be March 2017 in your case, then you should receive your first payment in April 2017.

Best, . . . Read More

Should My Wife File For Spousal Benefits Only At Age 66?

Category: Filing Strategies
Jan 19 2017 - 7:45am

Larry,
I am 68, DOB 8/22/48. I filed and suspended at age 66. My wife will be 66 in March and has not filed. As I understand our situation. She should file for Spousal benefits only at 66 and we both wait until 70 to collect full benefits ?
Thanks

Hi,

Yes, that certainly sounds like the best strategy in your case. You may still want to run the maximization software available on this website in order to be sure.

Best, Jerry

Are Divorced Spousal Benefits Reduced If They're Caring For A Child?

Category: Divorced Spousal Benefits
Jan 19 2017 - 7:30am

Thank you all very much for helping so many of us navigate SSA waters!

Are divorced spouse child-in-care benefit amounts lower if taken at 62, than if taken at FRA?
Does worker (as in, not the div. spouse providing care) have to attain FRA before divorced spouse can receive child-in-care benefit? (I think the answer is no but I want to be sure.)
What influences child-in-care benefit amounts? (for instance, COLA, etc)

Hi,

No, if an entitled child of the worker is in the divorced spouse's care in the first month of their . . . Read More

Can My Mother Get Both Disability And Widow's Benefits?

Category: Widow's Benefits
Jan 19 2017 - 7:15am

This is a question for my mom. Her husband just passed away today. He was collecting SS. She also gets disability. Will she be able to collect both? People have said she could only collect one. I know she couldn't collect hers and his SS...but is disability considered SS?? Any help with these questions will be greatly appreciated. Thanks for taking the time

Hi,

I'm sorry for your loss.

If your mother's husband's benefit rate was higher than her disability benefit amount, your mother should qualify for widow's benefits if they were married . . . Read More

Can I Pay Social Security Taxes Retroactively?

Category: Earnings Subject To Social Security Taxes
Jan 19 2017 - 7:00am

I am 72 years old and do not collect SSI as I do (did) not have enough credits. Three years ago I became a paid part time caregiver to my daughter, who is disabled. I am paid by DSHS, state of WA. At the time I did not elect to pay into SSI because I did not think I would need to continue doing this long enough to qualify for benefits. Now that three years have gone by and I am still doing it, I would like to know if I can pay the SSI taxes retroactively in order to qualify. If so how would I go about accomplishing this?
Brenda

Hi Brenda,

If . . . Read More

How Can I Increase My Social Security Benefit Rate?

Category: Filing Strategies
Jan 18 2017 - 4:30pm

How can I increase my SS payments now? I am 65 in 2016 and want to retire at 66, next year.
Can I prepay additional dollars to Social Security? Right now if I retire next year at 66yr my monthly payment would be $2,030.00/month
I am still working , make $60K this year. Divorced, after 20yrs, ex husband died in 1997, no small children.

How much can I make and not effect my social security next year , if I start SS payments?

Hi,

You can't voluntarily pay extra Social Security taxes. However, if you continue to work and earn $60K . . . Read More

Will My Grandchild's SSI Increase If She Has More Than One Disabling Condition?

Category: Supplemental Security Income
Jan 18 2017 - 4:30pm

My grandchild receives SSI disability for aniridia she is 7 years old. if she is now diagnosed with autism will her SSI disability check be increased?

Hi,

I'm sorry to hear about your granddaughter's health problems.

The answer to your question is no. The diagnosis of an additional impairment(s) would not cause her SSI payment amount to increase.

Best, Jerry

Will My Spousal Benefits Be Affected By WEP?

Category: Non-Covered Pension - WEP / GPO
Jan 18 2017 - 4:15pm

I will reach FRA on June 4, 2017 ( I am not drawing Social Security). My spouse is 73 and has been drawing Social Security for several years. Her earning were not affected by GPO or WEP (she does not receive any non-covered pension). If I apply for a Restricted application to receive benefits based on her earnings record (and let my benefits accrue until I'm 70) will I still receive 50% of her amount even though my earnings would be affected by WEP when I apply on my own earnings record when I'm 70?

Hi,

WEP (Windfall Elimination Provision) only . . . Read More

How Much Will My Foreign Pension Reduce My Social Security Benefits?

Category: Non-Covered Pension - WEP / GPO
Jan 18 2017 - 7:45am

I receive social security benefits for almost 15 years. The initial amount of my benefits was about 350 $ (now 470 $). I also receive my foreign pension nearly 750 € since 2005. I never reported this fact to social security. Now I learned that this pension affects my social security benefits. Do you know how much approximately my benefits will be reduced if I report my pension and what happens with the overpayment ? Am I forced to pay back for all these years or there is a more restricted time period for this ? Thank you.

Hi,

I can't tell you for sure . . . Read More

Can I Receive Social Security And A Federal Pension?

Category: Retirement Benefits
Jan 18 2017 - 7:30am

Hi Larry!
I have been offered a job at a local VA hospital in Tampa. I have accepted the offer because everyone tells me of better benefits they provide as compared to the local 'private sector' hospital I currently work. My problem now is this: I looked into my Social Security estimated benefits when I plan to retire at about 70 years of age if I continue to work at my current job and saw that it will be twice as much on a monthly basis as compared to the FERS benefits after 20 years of service.
Am I overlooking something? What happens to the monies I have . . . Read More

Can I File For Spousal Benefits Only?

Category: Filing Options
Jan 18 2017 - 7:30am

I am 66 years old, separated for over 14 years, never divorce, I live in Texas and my husband lives in Georgia for over 14 years. He is retired USAF and on SS. Can I apply for Spousal Benefit and continue working not using my own SS benefit?

Hi,

Yes, it sounds like you would qualify to file a restricted application for spousal benefits only, and let your own benefit rate grow until age 70.

Best, Jerry

What Benefits Can I Receive?

Category: Filing Strategies
Jan 18 2017 - 7:00am

I will be 62 in June 2017. I was married to a man for over ten years then divorced and now he is 69 yrs collecting his soc sec benefits. Later remarried a man 11 yrs younger who is now 51 and active duty. We were married over 10 years and we are divorced. After I turned 61 yrs I remarried an African man who has two children now my step-children. I am 29 yrs older than my current husband. I need to know what all I am entitled to with soc sec. Am I able to draw off of my of my first husband? Am I entitled to anything with my second husband? Am I able to get any money for my . . . Read More

Why Does My Benefit Statement Say That I Was Paid For Prior Years?

Category: Payment Dates
Jan 18 2017 - 7:00am

Why does my benefit statement say that I was paid 9,450 in 2016 for 2014 and paid 5,250 in 2016 for 2013? Where did those amounts come from?

Hi,

I don't know, but sometimes Social Security pays retroactive benefits that date back for a number of years. This can happen for a number of reasons, such as a successful appeal, or a refund of benefits previously withheld due to the earnings test, etc. You would need to check with Social Security for an explanation.

Best, Jerry

Will I Be Eligible For Widow's Benefits If My Husband Dies Before Me?

Category: Widow's Benefits
Jan 18 2017 - 6:45am

There is undoubtedly a very easy answer to this question, but I cannot seem to find it. I apologize if this is explained elsewhere--I have spent quite a bit of time looking and seem to only find cases where the widow was not previously receiving benefits.

Simply put:
My husband and I are both began taking our social security benefits when we reached the age of 67. He is now 70 and I am 72. His monthly benefit is $2515 and mine is $1612. Were he to die before me, will I only be eligible for the tiny one time widow's benefit --or, is there a way for me to apply for . . . Read More

Does My Plan Make Sense?

Category: Filing Strategies
Jan 17 2017 - 3:15pm

I am a widow (DOB 3/11/53) who is still working earning $40,000 per year. I intend to continue working until age 66. My current PIA est. is $1,131/mo. and at age 66 is $1,307/mo.. My husband (ten years older) died at age 60. My est. Widow PIA today is $1,551/mo. and at age 66 is $1,340/mo.(less?). I have been told to start benefits today based on my earnings PIA subject to the earnings test and then at age 66 (3/2019) switch to my survivor's benefits. Does that make sense?

Hi,

Maybe, but it's not possible that your widow's benefit rate would be more . . . Read More

Can I Get Social Security Benefits At Age 63 If I'm Making House Payments?

Category: Retirement Benefits
Jan 17 2017 - 3:15pm

Can i get social security benefits at age 63 and be a homeowner still making payments

Hi,

Yes, assuming that you have enough work credits to be eligible for Social Security, or you qualify for benefits on the record of someone who does. What you own has nothing to do with Social Security eligibility.

Best, Jerry

What Can I Do To Keep From Paying Higher Medicare Premiums?

Category: Medicare
Jan 17 2017 - 7:30am

Hi Larry,
I will be taking an early retirement incentive package from my company in April 2017. I will continue my company's medical coverage through Cobra until I am eligible for Medicare at 65 in December 2018. I do not plan to file for Social Security until I am at least 66, so I will not automatically be enrolled with the premiums deducted from any SSA benefit. My concern is that I not only must file for plans B & D as soon as eligible in order to avoid paying a lifetime penalty of higher premiums, but also that my premium cost will be based on my 2016 working . . . Read More

What Benefits Can My Wife Receive At Age 63?

Category: Filing Strategies
Jan 17 2017 - 7:15am

If I collect my social security at 63 years old can my wife claim spousal benefits on my earnings then, she will be 63 also, or does she collect her own benefits which will be much lower than the spousal benefits. If so can she switch to spousal benefits at full retirement age of 67. Thank You

Hi,

If your wife files for benefits at age 63, she'll be deemed to be filing for both retirement benefits on her own record and spousal benefits on your record, assuming that you are already drawing your benefits when she files. She cannot file for reduced . . . Read More

How Much Tax Withholding Should I Have Taken Out Of My Paychecks?

Category: Earnings Subject To Social Security Taxes
Jan 17 2017 - 7:00am

Hi Larry,
I am 50 years old and I work two part time jobs. How much tax deduction should I have to take out from my paycheck every two weeks so I can have higher social security benefits when I retire?

Hi,

Your Social Security retirement benefit rate will be calculated based on your highest 35 years of wage-adjusted earnings (https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10070.pdf), not the amount of tax withheld. The current standard Social Security tax rate is 6.2% for employees plus a matching 6.2% . . . Read More

Are The Ticket To Work Rules Still In Effect?

Category: Disability Benefits
Jan 16 2017 - 4:00pm

Hi. I am currently going through a CDR and in the event that I am found to no longer be disabled, can you tell me if this rule is still in effect? I ask because I began the Ticket to Work program about a week after they began my review so it is before a decision was made. I am copying and pasting but I left the link so you can see it is on their website.

§ 416.1338. If you are participating in an appropriate program of vocational rehabilitation services, employment services, or other support services.

(a) When may your benefits based on disability or blindness . . . Read More

Will I Get A Lower Benefit If I File In January Of The Year I Turn Age 66?

Category: Retirement Benefits
Jan 16 2017 - 3:45pm

I'll be 66 on 11/30/18 and will collect $2570. I was told by the local ssn that I could collect in January of 2018 and get the same amount $2570 as my payment is based yearly not monthly. I also called ssn and they told me its prorated monthly not yearly --- whos correct ??? don't want to collect early and loose money . Thanks

Hi,

Your benefit rate will not be the same if you file effective with January of 2018 as opposed to November of 2018. They would instead be permanently reduced by roughly 5.55%, or 5/9ths of 1% for each the 10 months of early . . . Read More

How Are My Disability Benefits Calculated?

Category: Disability Benefits
Jan 16 2017 - 2:30pm

Larry, I'm a 52 year old single male - never married- and I started SSDI when I was 51. At a minimum, I'll be on SSDI for two years. My monthly SSDI payments are $2670. I only have 34 years of covered earnings of which 8 of those I earned less than $10,000/year. My top earning year was 2015 and I earned $125,317. How many years of work did SSA use to calculate my SSDI benefit? Is there a table or formula where I can look up this information? (It must be somewhere.) If I return to work how will my SS payments be impacted when I'm 62, at FRA or 70? How will my benefit be . . . Read More

Don't You Think The Social Security System Is Unfair?

Category: Retirement Benefits
Jan 16 2017 - 7:15am

I worked some during our marriage, but mainly was a stay-at-home mother rearing our children. Consequently, according to SS agents, my monthly benefit results from two accounts: a small amount from my meager earnings and a larger amount from my husband's earnings. Together they equal half of his benefit. Here's the rub. I'm self-employed and pay into SS each year. I've made enough to raise my benefit each year, BUT they add the amount onto my small account and take it away from the account they set up for me from my husband's earnings. I am locked into a system that will never . . . Read More

Will My Wife's Own Benefit Rate Be Reduced If She Receive's Child In Care Spousal Benefits?

Category: Spousal Benefits
Jan 16 2017 - 7:00am

Here is a question I am having trouble finding answer to. I am applying for retirement benefits at age 62 because we have a 6 year old and the amount she would receive as family benefit is more than the difference if I wait till age 66. My question concerns my wife. She is actually the higher wage earner and I know she can receive spousal benefits, even though she is not 62, because of the 6 year old. But, if she applies for spousal benefits, will that lock her into reduced benefits on her own Social Security even if she waits until age 66 to claim?

Hi, . . . Read More

How Much Would My Wife Get As A Widow?

Category: Widow(er) Benefits
Jan 16 2017 - 6:45am

Hi Jerry. You were kind enough to answer a previous question from me relating to spousal benefits which helped a lot. Thank you. I've moved over to the survivor benefit portion of the "death kit" I keep for my wife and my head is spinning. I'm trying, thus far in vain, to map a plan and give her an idea of what to expect should something happen to me. I've tried to find the right answer but have returned hat in hand.

We're both 60. She's in good health; I am not. My FRA PIA is $1610. Her FRA PIA is $504.

It's my understand that if I die anytime before my FRA, . . . Read More

Will My Husband's Earnings Increase His Benefit Amount?

Category: Retirement Benefits
Jan 16 2017 - 6:30am

My husband began collecting ss at full retirement 66. He continues to work contributing the max and will also for 2017 as he makes more than 127000. Will his ss benefit go up? I haven't seen a change this year.

Hi,

Yes, earnings of that level would definitely cause an increase in your husband's Social Security benefit rate. The increases are automatic, but the aren't always processed very timely. You could probably speed up the process of receiving the increases by submitting proof of your husband's earnings (e.g. W-2, IRS Schedule SE) and . . . Read More

What Is Our Best Option?

Category: Filing Strategies
Jan 16 2017 - 6:15am

Hi Larry,
I will be 66 July 2017...my wife will be 64 Oct 2017. We both have worked all our adult lives. My original plan was to retire at 67 Oct 2018 when my wife reaches 65 and Medicare benefits eligible (she is self employed and is on my benefit plan). At this time, Oct 2018, my wife would file for her benefits and I would file a restricted application, file for spousal benefits and then take my own benefit at age 70.

It occurred to me that if my wife filed for her benefits in July 2017 then I could file my restricted application and file for spousal benefits . . . Read More

Should My Wife Withdraw From Her Teacher's Pension Plan?

Category: Non-Covered Pension - WEP / GPO
Jan 16 2017 - 5:45am

My wife taught in Illinois from 1976 to 1986. We have NOT started to take her TRS pension. Do we have the option of exiting the TRS benefit program by requesting a refund of her contributions, with the goal of eliminating social security WEP and GPO reductions? And if so, does that make sense since her spousal benefits will be greater than her TRS benefits?
Thanks,
Ron

Hi Ron,

I'm not familiar with the Illinois TRS program, but I'm assuming from your question that your wife's earnings there were exempt from Social Security taxes. In . . . Read More

When Should My Wife File For Benefits?

Category: Filing Strategies
Jan 15 2017 - 1:30pm

I am 67 and I am receiving full SSA benefit since I reached full retirement age. My benefit is 2300.00.
My wife is 64 and has not filed for benefits. At full retirement age she would only receive 633.00.
Should she file and receive a spousal benefit now or wait till FRA?

Hi,

Since your wife's own benefit rate won't exceed 50% of your full retirement age rate even if she waits until age 70 to start drawing, she would not want to wait past age 66 to apply. When she does file, she'll end up receiving her own benefit plus an excess spousal . . . Read More

How Do I File Online For Spousal Benefits?

Category: Spousal Benefits
Jan 15 2017 - 1:00pm

Larry:
I will turn 66 (DOB 4/30/1951) on 4/30/2017. I desire to wait till I am 70 to collect SS payments on my Own record.
My wife has been collecting SS payments on her own record for 5 years when she reached her FRA. I would like to file an application for a Spousal Benefit that I can collect when I reach my FRA on 4/30 this year. Please help me on how I can do this online (what form to fill out and when to fill out) and make sure that Social Security Admin folks understand that this is a spousal benefit and NOT an application for benefits on my Own record. . . . Read More

Can My Wife File For Spousal Benefits Online?

Category: Filing Options
Jan 15 2017 - 7:00am

Larry - I have read conflicting advice on this issue, and hope you will have the answer. My wife has recently reached FRA, and she plans to file for spousal benefits based on my record (I reached FRA in 2015 and filed and suspended my benefits prior to the April 2016 deadline). My question is whether my wife can file for just her spousal benefits online, or must she file a paper application. Thanks for your help. JD

Hi JD,

Yes, your wife should be able to file a restricted application for spousal benefits only online at Social Security's website: . . . Read More

What Happens To My Social Security If I Get A Teacher's Pension?

Category: Non-Covered Pension - WEP / GPO
Jan 15 2017 - 6:30am

I'm a 52 year old male who, after many productive high income years, is considering becoming a public school teacher. What happens to my social security if I do this? If I lose it as I think, then how do I determine if this career path makes sense in regards to a teacher pension vs social

Hi,

If you become entitled to a pension based on work that was exempt from Social Security taxes, it could cause a reduction in the benefit amount payable on your own Social Security record due to the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP). There is a WEP guarantee . . . Read More

Can I Change My Disabled Adult Child's Benefits From My Father's Record To My Mother's Record?

Category: Disabled Adult Child Benefits
Jan 14 2017 - 5:00pm

I had just asked a question under "Can I Change My Disabled Adult Child's Benefits From My Father's Record To My Mother's Record?". please fully answer my question, can i change it or not?, i do not like how my father does things, he didn't even fill out my medical information so me and my mother (payee) were not able to obtain my medicine. please reply fully, thanks and sorry for asking two questions, even though it was the same one i asked before.

Hi,

You can't change it unless your benefit rate would be higher on your mother's record.

Best, . . . Read More

Why Couldn't I Start My Benefits Sooner?

Category: Payment Dates
Jan 14 2017 - 4:45pm

My bday is April 29th and I retired Dec 2016. Social Security said I could not draw my Social Security until Feb 2017. How come I could not start my Social Security in January 2017 instead of having to wait till Feb 2017?
Thank you,
~Hilda

Hi Hilda,

You don't mention your age, but if you're between ages 62 & 66, then the Social Security earnings test might be the reason (https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/whileworking2.html). Also, Social Security payments are . . . Read More

Can I Change My Disabled Adult Child's Benefits From My Father's Record To My Mother's Record?

Category: Disabled Adult Child Benefits
Jan 14 2017 - 12:00pm

Currently, i am a 27 disabled male, never worked before, my payee is my mother, but i suspect social security has me under my father, because my medical is under my dad, i believe i get ssi and SSA, i am not completely sure as i am disabled and have adhd along with other problems. Any other info i can happily provide, however my question is this: Can I ask social security who i am currently under? (dads ss# vs. moms ss#), and also if i can change it to my mother, also if you know whether or not i can change my medical to my moms ss# as well please let me know, thanks. P.S. Even . . . Read More

Will My Wife Be Able To Get Spousal Benefits When I Start Drawing My Benefits?

Category: Spousal Benefits
Jan 14 2017 - 11:30am

If my wife claimed her social security at 62, can she get an additional benefit when I retire (I will get almost 4 times more than she gets now). My wife is now 71. What percentage of my benefit could she get (if any) if I start my benefits later this year at 62.

Hi,

Yes, your wife could potentially get an excess spousal benefit on your record when you start drawing your benefits. I'll give you an example to illustrate how her benefit rate would be calculated.

John is 62 and has a full retirement age benefit rate (PIA) of $2000. His wife Jane . . . Read More

Could My Cousin's New Wife & Child Get Benefits On His Deceased Wife's Record?

Category: Survivor Benefits
Jan 14 2017 - 11:30am

My 72 year old cousin is collecting Social Security benefits based on his deceased wife's earnings. He remarried and has a 10 year old daughter. Is his daughter eligible to collect on his former wife's earnings?
And when he dies, will his now wife of more than 10 years be able to collect benefits based on what he was collecting. The Social Security office has no record of his earnings.
Thank you

Hi,

No, your cousin's new wife and her child would not be eligible for benefits on his deceased wife's record.

Best, Jerry

How Is The Trial Work Period Determined?

Category: Disability Benefits
Jan 14 2017 - 8:15am

I am wanting to start working to see if I can get off of SSDI. Ideally, I would like to use my Trial Work Period months to earn the maximum I can i.e. I would rather use a month in which I earn $2000 vs $850. I may have a work place that is willing to pay me out about 2-3 x year so that I can have higher earnings per month. Is this ok? I am not sure how social security will count "earnings"-is it when I actually get paid or the months in which I worked the hours.

My second question/idea/option is related to doing contract work (1099). I was told that if an employer . . . Read More

Can My Husband Get Spousal Benefits If His Own Rate Is Reduced By WEP?

Category: Non-Covered Pension - WEP / GPO
Jan 14 2017 - 8:00am

Since my husband's as has been cut because of windfall elimination, can he collect more if he gets SS as my spouse

Hi,

Possibly, but he may not be able to draw spousal benefits either due to the Government Pension Offset (GPO) provision. Under GPO, a person's spousal benefits are reduced by 2/3rds of the amount of any US federal, state, county or local government pensions they receive based on work that was exempt from Social Security taxes. For more information on GPO, refer to the following pamphlet: . . . Read More

How Are Reduced Spousal Benefits Calculated?

Category: Spousal Benefits
Jan 14 2017 - 7:30am

Hello Larry et al. Just when I think I might have this social security thing figured out I read something that makes me question everything I "know". I certainly intend to purchase your software but wanted to follow-up on a response you provided to a question asked back in July 2016 (entire question and response provided is below -- I added names for clarity). That question mirrors the one I have except for the spousal reaching her FRA. In that question John had filed for his regular retirement at 62 and Mary had just reached her FRA. The response correctly stated that Mary's . . . Read More

Why Was My Husband's Benefit Rate Reduced By So Much?

Category: Non-Covered Pension - WEP / GPO
Jan 14 2017 - 7:15am

Hi Larry,
My husband recently turned 70 and, finally, applied for Social Security. His payment is supposed to be $789. When he was 65, he applied for his Canadian pension in the amount of $455 U.S. Now Social Security is telling us his payment will only be $320. Even with WEP, this seems drastic. He only had 4 out of 17 years of substantial earnings. We have read that his WEP reduction should be no more than 40 or 50 per cent of his Canadian payment(1/2 of $455.) Help!
Thank You,
MK

Hi MK,

There is a WEP guarantee provision that . . . Read More

Can I Still File For Spousal Benefits Only At Age 66?

Category: Filing Strategies
Jan 14 2017 - 7:00am

My husband born in 1948 filed and suspended before the April 29, 2016 deadline and plans on waiting until age 70 to collect his social sec benefits .
I the spouse turn 66 in April 2017 . Can I file for my own benefit in April and subsequently my husband file a spousal on me and then when he reaches 70 i he takes his own benefit, and then I switch to his spousal benefit ? I was told i could do this as WE were grandfathered into the old rules ??

Hi,

Yes, it sounds like you can file for and draw spousal benefits only starting at age 66, while . . . Read More

Why Does My Canadian Pension Affect My Social Security Benefit Rate?

Category: Non-Covered Pension - WEP / GPO
Jan 14 2017 - 6:45am

Hi Larry I will be turning 66 in March 2017 I went to the social security office where I live and applied for my social security, I was honest with my answers and when asked am I getting another pension from another country I said a small one from Canada, the agent said she would have to take that off what I am going to get I don't think that is fair seeing as though I have filed and paid taxes in both countries and paid into both Canada pension plan and social security for 36 years what can I do so they give me what I have put in

Hi,

Due to the . . . Read More

How Will No Teacher's Pension Affect My Social Security Benefits?

Category: Non-Covered Pension - WEP / GPO
Jan 14 2017 - 6:30am

Thank you for answering my question 10 days ago. Now I have a more 'arcane' question for you that was brought up during a visit to the SSI office. I taught a long term sub for a local school district that participates with the Colorado PERA rather than SSI. I turned 62 on 12/5. I do not plan to teach again in Colorado. If I take the lump sum of $2087 now (I am not currently taking SSI, but may file next year) PERA will match at 50%. If I wait to 65, PERA will match 100%, but I will certainly be taking SSI at that time. Is the impact on my SSI different if I take the PERA now . . . Read More

Can My Husband And I Both File Restricted Applications For Spousal Benefits?

Category: Filing Strategies
Jan 14 2017 - 6:15am

My husband is 66 in January and I will be 66 in October. Can my husband file a restricted application to receive 1/2 of my social security benefit now? Can I file a restricted application to receive 1/2 of my husband's social security benefit when I reach age 66? Will each of our benefits grow to age 70 when we would apply for our own benefit? Thanks in advance, Sue

Hi Sue,

No, you can't both file a restricted application for spousal benefits only. In order to be eligible for spousal benefits, your spouse must be drawing benefits on their own record . . . Read More

Will My Benefits Increase By 8% Yearly Even If I Start Drawing Benefits?

Category: Delayed Retirement Credits
Jan 14 2017 - 6:15am

I am 66 and working full time. I have not started collecting SS benefits yet. I know that if I am not working and not collecting, my rate will increase by 8% every year. If I start to claim my benefits now, and continue to work, does my SS rate still increase 8% a year? I can't see any drawback to not collecting now.

Hi,

No, you only get the 8% per year increase if you delay taking your benefits. You may want to run the maximization software on this website in order to help you determine the best time to apply.

Best, Jerry

How Can I Get More Food Stamps?

Category: Public Assistance Payments
Jan 13 2017 - 10:30am

How can i get more then $16.00 in foodstamps. My son and i both get ssi well i get ssdi and he gets ssi and the foodstamps people keep telling that im on a food group with ss but every time i ask ss about they say it's not true. I spend more on food then anything
PLEASE HELP!!

Hi,

I'm sorry, but Social Security is my only area of expertise. You'll need to check with someone at the agency that administers the food stamp program in your area, or someone knowledgeable about that program.

Best, Jerry

Will I Be Eligible For Divorced Spousal Benefits?

Category: Divorced Spousal Benefits
Jan 13 2017 - 6:30am

Hello. I am entering divorce agreement negotiations with my second husband of only five years. My first marriage was eleven years. I do not have a pension benefit of my own, working part time in the non-profit sector for only twenty years. I am 58 years old. Am I entitled to draw a divorce spousal benefit from either spouse? If not, I would like to include a loss of this benefit in my negotiations and would like to understand what figure I may have lost by giving up the draw on the first husbands earnings. Both husbands are high wage earners. Thank you, Debbie

. . . Read More

Would Selling My Life Insurance Affect Social Security Or Medicare?

Category: Earnings Test
Jan 13 2017 - 6:15am

If I sell my life insurance to a life settlement co. Will it affect my Medicare or socialsecurity?

Hi,

No. I suppose the additional income could increase your Medicare Part B premium rate at least temporarily, but it wouldn't affect your Medicare coverage or Social Security benefits.

Best, Jerry

What Can I Do?

Category: Survivor Benefits
Jan 12 2017 - 3:15pm

Larry,

Why is Social Security so broken. I recently lost my husband at 54. Social Security I thought was set up to help widows supplement the lost income (since it was his money in the first place). I get $255 which wouldn't even cover the flowers for his casket. Very sad for those who can't afford insurance etc. We actually were quit fortunate in that a very long time ago a boss told me only rely on yourself. Perfect advise. However, I am very concerned that the folks at the social security office have no earthly idea what they are doing either. First she told me my . . . Read More

What Is Our Best Strategy?

Category: Filing Strategies
Jan 12 2017 - 2:45pm

Larry, Thank you for writing such a helpful book and for your website.

Here is our situation: Wife with BD of Sept 1952. She was the lower earner. Husband with much higher income and BD of Sept 1956. Currently both are retired and do not expect to work again. Have sufficient income to get along comfortably. Wife comes from long lived family. Husband has chronic health issues and not likely to live past early 70"s, maybe less.

Should wife file for restricted benefits on her own account at FRA of 66?. Our understanding is that should the husband die before his FRA . . . Read More

Is There Any Way To Increase My Benefits?

Category: Filing Options
Jan 12 2017 - 2:30pm

i took reduced ss benefits age 62 - younger husband still working then passed away in 2015 to cancer. I began drawing widows benefits which are also apparently reduced. is there any way to increase my benefits? i will be 69 next month. i also have a living retired ex husband to whom i was married for 15 years over 35 years ago - if that helps in any way.

Hi,

I'm sorry for your loss.

There's probably nothing you can do at this point. As I understand it, you took reduced retirement benefits on your own record at age 62 and then became entitled . . . Read More

Will My Benefit Rate Go Up If I Take Benefits And Keep Working?

Category: Retirement Benefits
Jan 12 2017 - 6:15am

I am 68 with $48k yr income. SS will be $1806 (2016 income not incl yet) @ 70yrs @43k per year I get 2,037 or @ 24k per yr (more realistic) $2,015.If I collect now and work till 70 does my benefit go up?

Hi,

Your benefit rate may or may not increase, depending on your earnings history. Your retirement benefit rate is based on your highest 35 years of wage-adjusted earnings (https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10070.pdf). So, if your future earnings are higher than one of the years currently being . . . Read More

Does My Filing Strategy Sound Wise?

Category: Filing Strategies
Jan 12 2017 - 6:00am

I'm divorced but was married for 22 yrs. To maximize my total ss benefits, I plan to use spousal benefits by using restricted application starting at full retirement age of 66(March 2017) and pick up 1/2 of my ex-wife's ss benefits until the age of 70 which I would then start collection my own ss benefits. Is this not a very straightforward case? do I really need your program or any other program?

Hi,

It sounds like your strategy is sound, but I obviously don't have access to your potential benefit rates. You may want to run the maximization software . . . Read More

What Is Our Best Strategy?

Category: Filing Strategies
Jan 12 2017 - 5:00am

I'm currently reading your updated version of Get What's Yours. I read your earlier version, but I am unclear as to a few specific questions, so thought I would write. Thank you for providing this vital service!

My husband is a veteran who retired after 30 years active duty Army in September 2015. He is 61 years old and I am 60.
1. He qualifies for the DD214 Increased SS Benefits for Vets based upon his service between March 1986-Dec 2001 (that we don't get unless he asks for it).
2. He signed form 4361 (Application for Exemption from Self-employment tax . . . Read More

Can I Collect Benefits Retroactive To My 70th Birthday?

Category: Retirement Benefits
Jan 11 2017 - 4:15pm

I will retire in April - I turned 70 yrs. old in March 2016. I did not take my social security at that time as I am still working. I will start taking it the month I retire. Can I collect back to my 70th birthday or at least collect for the past 6 months? I thought I needed to be retired before I started asking them to send my monthly check. I have set up a meeting with my local SS office - should I also seek an attorney to help me collect back payments?

Thank you for your assistance.

Hi,

You can't collect benefits retroactively for more than . . . Read More

Will I Be Able To Collect Both Social Security And Railroad Retirement Benefits?

Category: Railroad Retirement & Social Security
Jan 11 2017 - 4:00pm

Hi Larry, thanks for your help,

Statement: I'm 58 and have worked a combined 2.5 years for three different rail roads in my life time, otherwise I have worked and paid into social security. I am thinking of taking a job with the UP for approximately 8 years to get a RR pension and retire at 66.

Question: Since I have so many years paying into regular SS for 38.5 years, will I be able to collect SS along with the RR pension which would be a total of 10.5 years...or, will all my SS benefits be transferred to the RR pension for a larger pension?

. . . Read More

Will My Grandson Get Benefits If I Adopt Him?

Category: Child Benefits
Jan 11 2017 - 3:45pm

I am a 66 year old grandfather in the process of adopting my grandson, who has lived with me and my wife for his entire life, he is 7 years old. My wife will not be the adoptive mother, my daughter will retain her rights as his mother. Will I be able to receive benefits for him, and does it matter what my monthly income is?

Hi,

Yes, if you legally adopt your grandson it would establish a parent-child relationship that should permit him to qualify for Social Security child's benefits on your record. Of course, you must be drawing your Social Security . . . Read More

How Much Can I Earn In The First Year Of Entitlement To Benefits?

Category: Earnings Test
Jan 11 2017 - 12:00pm

RE: First year rule I am retiring in March 2017 at age 62. I will be earning between $1000 and $2000 each month for January and February. How much can I earn between March and December? Is it $14100 for that 10 month period (irrelevant of how much I earn each month as long as it doesn't total more than $14100) OR is it no more than $1410 each month because of the first year rule? Thank you.

Hi,

Assuming that you start benefits effective March 2017, you can do either of 2 things without losing any of your benefits this year: 1) Earn no more than $16, . . . Read More

Why Does Social Security Say That I'm Not Eligible For Disability Benefits?

Category: Disability Benefits
Jan 11 2017 - 5:30am

Hi, My name is Kim and I'm 48 years old.
I have a question about Disability and Work Credits. I have a Severe Immune Disease called Lupus, Spinal Stenosis, Osteoarthritis, Severe Migraines and so my Lupus Specialist suggested that i apply for disability. I did so and was denied. I appealed, but was still denied again. They said i had enough skills to find some kind of employment. At this time, I was bedridden and on infusions, but they insisted that i could work.
I eventually had to quit my job as a nurse because working 12 hour shifts was just tearing me and my . . . Read More

Can I Still Apply For Spousal Benefits Only At FRA And Switch To My Own Record At Age 70?

Category: Filing Strategies
Jan 11 2017 - 5:15am

Both my husband and I are going to be age 66 in 2017 and we both were born before January 1, 1954.
It seemed to me that we are qualified for using Restricted Application when we both file at age 66 (FRA). I plan to apply Restricted application at age 66 after my husband filed for his own a month before me.
However, my social security benefit at age 66 is more than 1/2 of my husband's benefit at age 66. Would
Social Security Office automatically give me the greater of the two? Can I still apply for Restricted Application and switch to mine at age 70?

. . . Read More

How Do I Make Sure That I Start Collecting At Age 70?

Category: Filing Options
Jan 11 2017 - 5:00am

I turn 70 on Feb. 5, 2017. I am going to the S.S. office in person in mid January to begin the process of filing. How can I make sure I start collecting at age 70 and not a day before? Do I need to write that on the application form? Thank you.

Hi,

You simply need to choose February 2017 as your month of election to begin benefits. Social Security payments are due in the month after the month they are paid for, so your first payment will be due in March 2017.

When you go to the office, a Social Security claims representative will ask you . . . Read More

What Divorced Spousal Benefits Do I Qualify For?

Category: Divorced Spousal Benefits
Jan 11 2017 - 4:45am

I haven't seen a question like this one. I was married twice for more than 10 years each--and one x is 81 and one x is 74. Both are drawing SS. I am turning 62 summer of 2017. So, now, if I decided to retire before age 66, I am deemed to do both, my own, and x-spousal, naturally at a reduced rate. So do I get the one who made the most money? And, if I can't take one of theirs and switch to my own after I turn 70--can I take a reduced x-spousal before 66, and then, when I turn 70, switch and get a full from the other? And what are the ramifications if one should pass away while . . . Read More

How Does My Husband Go About Suspending His Benefits?

Category: Suspending Retirement Benefits
Jan 11 2017 - 4:30am

Having recently (2010) been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, I filed for SSDI in 2011 (denied) and again in 2013. My husband had to start collecting early retirement as I was unable to work. My SSDI claim was finally approved in 2016. I read in your book about having to claim early due to hardship/recession and when turning 66 it may be good to suspend benefits until age 70. Is that correct? If it is correct, my husband turns 66 in February 2017 so does that mean he has to notify SSA to suspend benefits by the end of January 2017? Also, would he be able to file for spousal . . . Read More

How Can I Get Credit For Earnings That Aren't Posted To My Record?

Category: Earnings Subject To Social Security Taxes
Jan 11 2017 - 4:00am

After I retired a couple years ago I review my social security earnings, and found out that 6 years of my earnings are 0, I took all my taxes, to SS and told me that I have 0 on those years due, to the fact that form 4137 is missing from those years, still it does not convince me, because I have 8 years that I don't have unreported income, because the company has reported it on the W-2 form. Also they told me that I can't do anything now because the limit time to correct such error, has past 3 years 3 months and 15 days. Can you please help me. Many thanks in advance.

. . . Read More

When Will I Be Eligible For Spousal Or Divorced Spousal Benefits?

Category: Divorced Spousal Benefits
Jan 10 2017 - 12:45pm

I am age 61 and my wife is age 50, so she is 11 years younger. She was the big breadwinner and I am an artist so have had a lifetime of earnings in the $15,000 per year range. Her earnings have averaged about $70,000 per year. I raised the children, she went to work. We are going to separate and perhaps divorce but want to do this in a way that maximizes the other's SS benefits. Because she had far greater earnings, would I ever be able to collect on her earnings? Even at age 62 or 66, given that she is so much younger? I would I only be eligible for my own lifetime of earnings . . . Read More

Why Haven't I Received Any VA Benefits?

Category: Veterans Benefits
Jan 10 2017 - 12:30pm

I sapposed to get a check from VA because my husband 100% disable do I as his wife weres the check I haven't received one and it been ,year and 1/2 now can I see the spouses money

Hi,

I'm sorry, but I don't know anything about VA benefits. You'll need to contact the Veterans Administration for information. Here is a link to their website with information on how to contact them: https://www.va.gov/landing2_contact.htm.

Best, Jerry

Are You Sure That We Can Get Service At Any Social Security Office?

Category: Filing Options
Jan 10 2017 - 7:30am

I was surprised that you said we may use any Social Security office. When I visited our local office, people who lived nearby but in another county were refused service. They waited a long time for their number to be called, but then the staff (who are behind glass, as if selling tickets) would then just point to a sign saying that they must use their local office. The security guard at the door was not willing to direct people either, but just pointed to a terminal to register for a number. It was a worse (more rude treatment) experience than the DMV, and not what a person . . . Read More

Is Entitlement To Spousal Benefits Automatic?

Category: Spousal Benefits
Jan 10 2017 - 7:15am

My boyfriend of 16 years has multiple myeloma he is 63 and is applying for ssa disability. We plan on marrying, I am 56 and already retired. He also will receive a pension from his company. He has an ex wife that he was married to for 30 years. She is retired already and will be 61 this year. I plan on applying for my early SSA benefits at 62. I took the supplemental option from my employer to receive more in my pension and then have it reduced after I apply for SSA at 62. Will SSA automatically calculate my benefits using his disability amounts or do I need to ask them to . . . Read More

Will My Husband's Spousal Benefits Stop When I File For Widow's Benefits On My First Husband's Record?

Category: Spousal Benefits
Jan 10 2017 - 7:00am

Hi, My husband died in 2008. I have since remarried , my new husband is a new immigrant with no social security record of his own.. I have been collecting my own Social Security since age 62 but intend claiming my deceased husband's social security benefit this year as I will be 66. My new husband receives social security payments based on my SS record (I was 63 when I remarried).. Will his payments cease once I take my deceased husband's SS and if so how does this affect his medicare?
Thank you, Julie

Hi Julie,

When you file for remarried . . . Read More

Should The Medicare Hold Harmless Rule Affect Our Filing Strategy?

Category: Medicare
Jan 10 2017 - 6:45am

I'm using your strategy to increase our benefits, but in the meanwhile found a sorta gotcha involving our Medicare payments. While we're waiting for my wife to turn 66 to file for her FRA benefit (her's is much less than mine and I will at that time file for spousal and wait until I'm 70 for my benefit and then change her's to spousal) our Medicare Premium has increased from $121.80 to $134.00 because we do not currently receive Social Security benefits to have the premiums deducted from. As soon as she begins benefits (and thus my spousal) we will lock in the rate at $134.00. . . . Read More

Can I Receive Spousal Benefits And Delay Taking My Own Benefits?

Category: Spousal Benefits
Jan 9 2017 - 7:45am

My wife is taking social security for the last two and half years, well before the new law went into effect last year. I am at my retirement age but want to delay my social security benefits. Will it be possible for me to take spousal benefits - half of my wife amount?

2nd Q- May I visit any social security office irrespective of my home zip code?

Hi,

It sounds like you'd be eligible for spousal benefits, but you must be at least full retirement age to file just for spousal benefits without also filing for benefits on your own record. And, . . . Read More

What's Wrong With Starting Our Benefits Early?

Category: Filing Strategies
Jan 9 2017 - 7:15am

Farm wife never worked; filed jointly; we are both turning 66 in the month of October 2017; my payment at FRA is $2167. Spouse has cancer and would get 1/2 of my payment. I would like to start now in January 2017. I would take a reduction of 5% less payment and wife would get 1/2 of that. Whats wrong with us doing this? Does this affect us that much as far a spousal benefit or a survivor benefit? Earnings test would go to $1 for every $3 with a earnings limit of $44,800 which would not affect me.

Hi,

I'm sorry to hear about your wife's illness.

. . . Read More

Will The Election Affect My Benefits?

Category: New Law
Jan 9 2017 - 7:00am

I plan to start SS benefit at the end of 2017 when I turn 70.
is it possible that Trump will change anything that might affect my benefit amount?

Hi,

I'd be shocked if anything changed that would justify you changing your filing plans. Probably the most likely future change that could affect you would be an adjustment in the formula for cost of living increases, but that would affect everyone the same regardless of when they started drawing benefits.

Best, Jerry

Can My Wife Receive Spousal Benefits On My Record Before I Start Taking Benefits?

Category: Spousal Benefits
Jan 8 2017 - 5:00pm

My wife turns 66 in March. Can she take 1/2 my Ss even though I will not start taking mine till I am 66 and right now I am 62. Thankyou

Hi,

No, you must be drawing your benefits in order for your wife to potentially receive spousal benefits on your record.

Best, Jerry

Would It Be Smarter To Draw Divorced Spousal Benefits At FRA And Switch To My Own Record At Age 70?

Category: Filing Strategies
Jan 8 2017 - 4:45pm

I AM TURNING 66 IN APRIL AND SCHEDULED TO DRAW $2199SS MONTHLY. I CAN DRAW $1068 OFF X HUSBAND, SO, WOULD IT BE SMARTER TO DRAW THIS AND LET MY EARNINGS GROW FOR THE NEXT FEW YEARS?

Hi,

In my opinion, yes it would be smarter to wait until age 70 to start drawing the higher benefits on your own record. However, you may want to run the maximization software available on this website in order to help you decide for yourself.

Best, Jerry

Can A Person Collect SSI At Age 63 If They Own A Home?

Category: Supplemental Security Income
Jan 8 2017 - 4:30pm

Can a person collect ssi at age 63 when owning a home

Hi,

Ownership of a home in which they live does not disqualify a person from receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI), however, they must be at least age 65, or blind or disabled, in order to be eligible. For more information on SSI, see the following reference: https://www.ssa.gov/ssi/.

Best, Jerry

How Much Social Security Will I Collect?

Category: Retirement Benefits
Jan 8 2017 - 7:45am

I was Born in October 17, 1953. I want to retire in October 17 2018. Ho much SS do I collect.

Hi,

That depends on your earnings history among other things. To find out how much you will get, and when would be the best time for you to apply, you may want to consider running the maximization software available on this website.

Best, Jerry

Can I Get Spousal Benefits And Keep Working?

Category: Spousal Benefits
Jan 8 2017 - 7:30am

My husband has been on disability since 1990. I will be 64 this month. Is there anyway we can get any benefits for me and i can still keep working? Our son is 32 and disabled. All they allow for him is minimal SSI. Why cant he get more? I never filed. Didn't know I should.

Hi,

It sounds like you would at least qualify for reduced spousal benefits, but the Social Security earnings test may limit or preclude you from actually receiving benefits prior to age 66. For more information on the earnings test, see the following reference: . . . Read More

How Will My Ex-Wife's Payment Be Calculated?

Category: Divorced Spousal Benefits
Jan 8 2017 - 7:15am

I read the other questions and couldn't find this one.........My ex-wife will be filing for her social security benefits on my record when she turns 62 in April 2017. I am 67 and have not started my social security benefits yet as I want to wait until I am 70. My question: Will my ex-wife's social security benefit calculation be a reduced percentage of what my current social security benefit would be if I was drawing social security currently (approximately $2,900 per month), or will it be a reduced percentage of my primary insurance amount (PIA), which is $2,501? This is . . . Read More

What Happens Now?

Category: Disability Benefits
Jan 8 2017 - 7:00am

I am a North Dakota news, living in Rochester, MN, because of severe Chrohns Disease. I am also a widow and am collecting my husbands' widows survivors benefits, since I turned 60. I am 62 now. Because of several chronic illnesses, I have been going through the SSA Disability Benefits process, since August, 2013. Today in my bank account I received a large amount of SSA benefits, in addition to my widows benefits. I assume, that after all thus time, medical issues, costs, and proof of several chronic conditions, that I was approved for disability benefits. What happens now? I . . . Read More

How Do I Find Out If I Can Get Food Stamps Or Other Benefits?

Category: Public Assistance Payments
Jan 8 2017 - 6:45am

I receive 1430/mo. on social security and that's my only income...I'm 66..I have a retirement account I can draw off of. how do I find out if I can get food stamps or other benefits in state of Washington

Hi,

I'm not really sure, but here is a link to the state of Washington Department of Social And Health Services: https://www.dshs.wa.gov/.

Best, Jerry

Can My Mother Receive Survivor Benefits On Both Of Her Deceased Husbands' Records?

Category: Widow's Benefits
Jan 8 2017 - 6:30am

My mother is 82 yrs old and cannot ask this question unless we both go into the Social Security office in Portland, Maine. Hopefully, you can give us a quick answer? Mom has received SS survivor's benefits after my father, Fred passed in 1990. She then re-married in 2001at age 66 and continued to collect my Dad's SS benefits. So Mom received approximately $1,000 per month and her new husband, Jerry received his SS benefits of about $1,000 per month. Recently, Jerry passed unexpectedly - will my Mom have to live on $1,000 per month from now on? Or, can she continue to receive . . . Read More

How Are Delayed Retirement Credits Earned?

Category: Delayed Retirement Credits
Jan 8 2017 - 6:15am

I am going to claim my SS benefit within the nexty 12 months in order to allow my wife to file for Restricted Spousal benefits in March of 2018. Does my SS benefit increase on a monthly basis, I turn 66 in June, or is it an annual increase. I would like to claim December 2017, if my benefit increases 3 to 4% by waiting until I am 66 1/2.

Hi,

You earn delayed retirement credits (DRC) for each month that you delay taking benefits from full retirement age (FRA) until age 70. The amount of each monthly credit is 2/3rds of 1%, which amounts to 8% per year . . . Read More

When Should I Start Collecting My Social Security?

Category: Filing Strategies
Jan 7 2017 - 4:45pm

I am 63, my wife is 56, she has a higher salary and will collect more SS when available to her. I am presently working part-time. We are able to live off her income and still save. My IRA (former 401-K) is good, her 403-B is good and growing. We are both covered under her medical plan. When should I bring to collect my social security benefits?

Hi,

Deciding when to apply is ultimately a personal decision, but it may be best to wait until age 70 to start drawing if you can afford to do so. Your monthly benefit rate would be 65% higher if you start . . . Read More

How Is My Mother's Survivor Benefit Calculated?

Category: Widow's Benefits
Jan 7 2017 - 4:15pm

Asking for my mother (77 years old): Dad (80 years old) just passed away in November 2016. Dad's SS check was $1600 per month. Mom was a stay at home mother most of her life. Late in life she worked for a state college earning a $600. per month pension. She has files for survivors benefits and just found out she will receive $500.00 per month. When I use the SS estimator and take 2/3rds of her $600.00 ($400) and subtract that from what Dad was getting.... Mom should get $1200 per month for the survivor benefits??? How am I getting this number?? What do I not know?? It seemed . . . Read More

When Would I Be Eligible For Divorced Spousal Benefits?

Category: Divorced Spousal Benefits
Jan 7 2017 - 8:15am

I am 58 yrs old and I am on SSD. My ex-husband is 70 and planning on retiring from the State Patrol this year. He is on the top tier maxed out on his earnings at the State Patrol. We were married for 17 years before we got a divorce in 2000. I have not remarried since. Can I receive a part of his Social Security Retirement now to increase my SSD benefits or do I have to wait till I am 62. Thank you

Hi,

You can't get divorced spousal benefits on the record of a living ex-spouse prior to age 62 on the basis of a disability. And, you'll only be eligible . . . Read More

Why Did My Benefits Stop?

Category: Retirement Benefits
Jan 7 2017 - 8:00am

I started receiving Social Security Retirement benefits when I was 62. I am now 67. I don't work and have not had a consistent job since 1989. I first began working in 1967.
I was receiving monthly benefits until May, 2016. At that point the benefits stop. Why would The SS Administration discontinue my benefits.

Hi,

Sorry, but I have no idea. If I were you, I'd contact Social Security to find out what's going on. You can call them at 1-800-772-1213, or contact your nearest office: https://secure. . . . Read More

Can I Take Just My Own Benefits And Not Spousal Benefits If I File At Age 63?

Category: Deeming
Jan 7 2017 - 7:30am

My husband who is 66 started collecting disability at age 64. He has now been converted to Social security. I was given advice at the same time( age 63) to collect SS on my own benefit and change over to my husbands when I turn 66. Since I am now 65, I called SS to discuss this and I was told I should have been collecting part of my husbands as well as mine and they sent me a large check that went back 2 years. I was told I couldn't collect the 50% of my husbands because I have been collecting since age 63. I am willing to give back the check if I can collect half of my . . . Read More

Will GPO And WEP Affect My Social Security Benefits?

Category: Non-Covered Pension - WEP / GPO
Jan 7 2017 - 6:30am

I am a teacher in Georgia and I have 30 years that some social security was taken out. SS was not taken out the past 5 years and I will be 62 in May. I am also entailed to receive half on my ex-husbands benefit which will be more than mine, if I choose. Since I have at least 30 years of work where SS was taken out, will my benefit be reduced by the GPO and Windfall Tax?

Hi,

The 30 years of covered earnings exception applies only to the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) and not the Government Pension Offset (GPO) provision. Furthermore, your . . . Read More

When Should My Husband Apply For Benefits?

Category: Filing Strategies
Jan 7 2017 - 6:00am

my husband will be turning 65 in March 2017, I am 60 and my earnings were significantly higher than his, we are both retired. What is the best time for him to start claiming social security, I plan on waiting until 70 to begin collecting? Does holding off on his social security impact his Medicare premiums long term?

Hi,

The best filing strategy for you and your husband largely depends on your relative benefit rates. If his own benefit rate will never be more than 50% of your full retirement age rate, even if he waits until age 70 to start drawing, . . . Read More

Will My Wife's Benefits Be Affected By Her Hungarian Pension?

Category: Non-Covered Pension - WEP / GPO
Jan 7 2017 - 5:30am

I am turning 70 and retired. I have been collecting SS benefits since I reached my full retirement age (66). My wife and I have been married for 2 years. She is a Hungarian citizen and permanent resident of the US since 2015. She is turning 63 in 2017. She will begin receiving a foreign pension from Hungary beginning this year (2017). She has some SS credits (about 7) from consulting work performed in 2014 and 2015. She may earn a few more credits between now and her "full US retirement age" of 66 in 2020. However under no circumstance can she earn enough credits between now . . . Read More

How Much Can I Earn If I'm Receiving Widow's Benefits?

Category: Earnings Test