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.

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:

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
Jan 6 2017 - 4:30pm

I remarried three years ago, in 2013 after my husband of 33 years died in 2012. My present husband insisted that I receive my late husband's widow's benefit which I did. How much more can I earn above my $1158.00 widow's benefit?

Hi,

You don't mention your age, but I assume that you remarried after age 60 or else you would not be eligible for widow's benefits on your deceased husband's record. If you are now under age 66 and plan on working, you can earn up to $16,920 this year without losing any of your benefits. If you will reach age 66 in 2017, . . . Read More

What Happens If You Get Social Security Disability And Disability Insurance Payments?

Category: Disability Benefits
Jan 6 2017 - 4:00pm

I just finished std and now filling out the forms for lad, I applied for Ssdi in July and was awarded it to start in January 2017 . The insurance is requiring me to apply for Ssdi and I haven't yet told them I did already and was approved. I need advice, am I going to lose my Ssdi money? My ltd money? Right now my Ssdi is going to be 2415 and my std was 4000 per month which I am assuming is going to be my ltd how am I going to be penalized? And a second question please, my wife is on Ssdi for 793 per month, she is 69 can she collect off of my Ssdi and if so what are the . . . Read More

Why Did My SSI Payments Stop?

Category: Supplemental Security Income
Jan 6 2017 - 3:45pm

I had been on SSI for about 8 yes due to several different disabilities and they just get worse and I got married at 55 to a woman who has MS and she ad started to receive SSD benefits and when we told them they stripped me of my SSI ..... She only gets 1300 a month so why can't I get mine back and why did they take it from me

Hi,

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a needs based program funded by general tax revenues, not Social Security taxes. It is intended as a last resort source of income for disabled, blind and aged individuals who have . . . Read More

Will My Sister Be Eligible For Divorced Spousal Benefits?

Category: Divorced Spousal Benefits
Jan 6 2017 - 5:30am

My sister in Nebraska has been receiving Social Security disability payments for several decades. Her disability amount is more than her retirement amount would have been since she was disabled relatively young. I believe her SSDI is currently somewhere around $1,600/mo. or so. She was also married to a man for more than 10 years who earned much more than she did for a much longer period of time. They have been divorced for more than a decade. She has never remarried and has difficulty making ends meet as SSDI is her only income. She turned 62 in April 2016. Her ex-husband . . . Read More

Can My Wife Claim Benefits On My Record When I Start Drawing?

Category: Spousal Benefits
Jan 6 2017 - 5:15am

Hi Larry-this is a follow up question to my recent query (Jan 5th). I'm 66 on Jan 23 2017. My wife filed on her record early (at age 62) in 2008. Assuming I can apply for spousal benefits on her record and can delay collecting on my own record-when I eventually file for SS on my record can my wife then claim a spousal benefit on my record?

Hi,

Potentially yes, but she'll continue to receive her own reduced benefit rate.

For example, say Jane's full retirement age benefit rate (PIA) is $1000, but she starts drawing at 62 and receives $750. Her . . . Read More

Should I Claim A Spousal Benefit When I Turn 66?

Category: Filing Strategies
Jan 6 2017 - 5:00am

I will be 66 on Jan 23rd 2017. My wife started receiving social security on her record in 2008. Should I claim a spousal benefit when I turn 66. My concern is that if I claim a spousal benefit against her record when I reach 66, I will be unable to make a claim on my record (which is much higher) when I finally cease working. I've heard both sides of this from different experts.

Hi,

Yes, it certainly sounds like you should file a restricted application for spousal benefits only effective with January 2017. Drawing spousal benefits will have no . . . Read More

Why Can't I Draw 100% Of My Husband's PIA?

Category: Widow's Benefits
Jan 6 2017 - 4:45am

Hi Larry. Social Security is so confusing. My husband died in 1998 at the age of 48. This year I reach my full social security retirement age of 66 in March. I am still working. I remarried after I became 60 years of age but that marriage only lasted about 1.5 years. I visited the social security office in McKinney, TX the last week of December 2016. I filed for benefits on my deceased husband. They told me that I could file early as long as my income for the first 2 months of the year did not exceed the limit of $41,880 and it certainly will not. My deceased husband never . . . Read More

Should I File And Suspend When I Reach Full Retirement Age?

Category: File and Suspend
Jan 6 2017 - 4:30am

I am 60 and receiving SSDI from my late husband's account. He was also on SSDI at the time of his death. Would it be worthwhile to file and suspend at my full retirement age of 66 and 4 months and wait until 70 so pick up the extra 32%? Does this even apply in my case?

Hi,

I'm not sure from your description exactly what type of benefits you currently receive, but I assume you mean that you are drawing widow's benefits, and that you are not receiving disability benefits based on your own account.

Based on those assumptions, you would never want . . . Read More

Will Social Security Still Be Available When I Retire?

Category: Social Security's Solvency
Jan 6 2017 - 4:15am

I'm 40 years old and have no retirement plans setup.

Looking at the present economic and political situation here do you think SSN will be still available when I retire??

Hi,

I certainly think so. Social Security has been around for 80+ years now, and plays an integral role in our society. It will almost certainly change in future years, though, and the benefit rates relative to contributions may need to be adjusted downward. Even in it's current form Social Security should not, and was never intended to, be thought of as a sole source of . . . Read More

Shouldn't My Wife Be Getting Additional Benefits From My Record?

Category: Filing Strategies
Jan 5 2017 - 11:45am

My wife turned 62 in Oct 2015 and filed for SS. I was 67 in Nov 2015 but decided to continue to work till 70. Last January (2016) I was told to file and suspend so my wife would get a portion of my SS benefits which was slightly more than her benefits at 62. She had already started getting her SS in Nov 2015. So we did that and her benefits never went up. She continued to get the same as she did on the first month . Someone at SS said if she wanted to get her benefits based on my full benefits, she would have had to send back all the months she had received. That didn't make . . . Read More

Am I Required To Take Social Security Benefits Instead Of SSI?

Category: Supplemental Security Income
Jan 5 2017 - 7:00am

SS recently took me off SSI because I turned 62, and placed me on spousal support. Now, I got a letter from the State saying I would also not be entitled to any state SSI, and, they told me I may loose my Medicaid as well. Was this a mandatory thing or SS rules that they had to take me off the SSI and put me on spousal support ? I asked them if this would affect anything else-like my Medicaid- and they said "oh no, you'll still be considered disabled." It doesn't appear that way to me. I'm also concerned now that I may not qualify for my low-income housing and could get booted . . . Read More

Does My Recent Marriage Affect My Benefits?

Category: Retirement Benefits
Jan 5 2017 - 7:00am

Hello Larry, I'm 67 years old from Florida and retired to the Philippines in 2012. I have been collecting $450 monthly ss since I was 62. I recently married my 27 year old Filipina girlfriend after living together here in the Philippines for 5 years. She has no income. Will my marriage affect my ss benefits in any way? Thanx, Richard

Hi Richard,

I don't know of any reason why it would, at least assuming that you are receiving Social Security benefits based on your own work record. Social Security retirement benefits are based on a person's work . . . Read More

Does The WEP Provision Apply If I Receive A Canadian Pension?

Category: Non-Covered Pension - WEP / GPO
Jan 5 2017 - 6:45am

Hi Larry,
I have two questions for you. I will reach FRA at age 66 this February and after reading your book decided to apply online. I was surprised by a question regarding windfall. I was born in Canada and worked there for ten years qualifying for a small Canadian pension. I moved to Florida in 1983, started my own small business, and became an American citizen. Does the "windfall" elimination provision apply in my situation? I am unsure how to respond to this question. It seems like I should not be penalized as I paid into both systems but I understand the system is . . . Read More

Would It Make Sense For Me To Purchase Your Program?

Category: Maximize My Social Security Software
Jan 5 2017 - 6:30am

Does it even make sense for me to purchase your program to determine if claiming divorced spousal benefits would be recommended for me? I just read the new edition of "Get What's Yours," so I know I'm not grandparented from the new 2015 rules. I do know that I qualifty for divorced spouse benefits by length of marriage and time of divorce. I'm born 07/57 and my former spouse 11/65. I retired in 2014 and believe she had higher earnings for at least the last ten years and probably plans on working until her FRA. But due to the age difference, I'd actually turn 70 before she turns . . . Read More

Are My Wife And I Grandfathered Under The New Law?

Category: New Law
Jan 5 2017 - 6:30am

Hi Larry

My wife turns 66 this month and I turn 66 in July, are we grandfathered in for the spousal deferment that was removed in the 2015 legislation?

Hi,

Assuming that you're referring to the new law on deeming (https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/deemedfaq.html), the yes both you and your wife are grandfathered since you were both born prior to January 2 1954.

You may want to consider running the maximization software available on this website in order to explore all of . . . Read More

Can My Wife Get Spousal Benefits On My Record If I'm Not Drawing My Benefits?

Category: Spousal Benefits
Jan 5 2017 - 6:15am

Hello Larry,

You are right about the good intentioned SSA online help folks who do not provide clear answers. My question is as follows: My wife began collecting her SSA benefit at 62. She will be 65 this year. I'm older and will be 66 this year. I am not collecting my benefits and am considering waiting to 70 as you suggest. If I delay receiving my benefits until age 70, can my wife apply to collect 50% of my age 66 benefit amount (which would be higher then her benefit) when she reachs her full retirement age (66), even though I am not collecting my benefit. I also . . . Read More

Why Can't My Granddaughter Get Benefits On Her Parent's Record?

Category: Child Benefits
Jan 5 2017 - 6:00am

Thank you for your quick response I just have one question, you said " unless one or both of her parent's are entitled to Social Security benefits on their own record, she can't get child's benefits on their records either". Can I ask why? not on her parents records, were you referring to present time or any time now and in the future?

Hi,

A child cannot get Social Security benefits on their parent's record unless the parent is either deceased or entitled to Social Security retirement or disability benefits. You said that both of your granddaughter's . . . Read More

Can My Disabled Adult Son Get Benefits From His Father's Record?

Category: Disabled Adult Child Benefits
Jan 4 2017 - 5:30pm

My 46 year old son began receiving SSDI in 2016. His father who is retired and I are divorced. Can Patrick receive any benefit from his father's retirement?

Hi,

Probably not. Among other requirements, your son would have to have become disabled prior to age 22 in order to potentially qualify for disabled adult child's benefits (https://www.ssa.gov/planners/disability/dqualify10.html).

Best, Jerry

Will I Have A Choice Between My Own Benefits And Spousal Benefits At Age 66?

Category: Filing Strategies
Jan 4 2017 - 5:30pm

My wife (age 63) took her SS benefits at age 62. I am now 64 (born 1952) and will wait until age 66 to collect full retirement SS benefits. At age 66, do I have the choice of collecting half of my spouse's benefits and suspend mine until age 70? Or, do I not have a choice, I must take all mine.

Hi,

Yes, since you were born prior to January 2 1954, you can still choose to file for spousal benefits only at age 66 and allow your own benefit rate to grow until age 70 (https://www.ssa.gov/ . . . Read More

Should I Terminate Part B Of Medicare?

Category: Medicare
Jan 4 2017 - 5:15pm

I am a US citizen retired in Greece and I have a monthly payment of $189.00/month for my Medicare Part B.
Should I terminate my Part B option and purchase instead a health plant from a local provider?

Isn't the Basic Medicare plan to cover my expenses in case that I have to fly over for a major medical condition?

thanks

Hi,

I can't really advise you on that. It probably depends on your future travel and residency plans. Medicare does not pay for medical services you receive outside the U.S. except under rare circumstances ( . . . Read More

Can My Husband Get Half Of My Benefit When I Turn 70?

Category: Spousal Benefits
Jan 4 2017 - 5:00pm

I will be 70 on Jan. 12 -- I am working part-time and took early Social Security benefits -- my husband turned 63 on 1/1/17 -- he is still working full time although he is in poor health -- someone told us that when I turn 70 he/we can draw 1/2 of what my Social Security is and he can continue working -- is this info. CORRECT?

Hi,

No, that's not correct at all. If your husband files for spousal benefits before full retirement age, he'll be deemed to have filed for benefits on his own record as well. He would then essentially get the higher of the 2 . . . Read More

Should I File For Widow's Benefits Now?

Category: Widow's Benefits
Jan 4 2017 - 7:45am

Hi Larry,
I recently lost my husband. People have been suggesting that I look into seeing if I am entitled to any benefits through Social Security. And although this is all so difficult, I have been trying to figure out if I should file for survivor benefits now or wait. My situation is that I have been on SSDI on my own record for some years. He had retired and began collecting retirement benefits at FRA. I have not reached FRA as of this date but will do so in a little over a year from now. I've read your first book and then talked to someone at Social Security because . . . Read More

Can I Take Reduced Social Security Benefits And Later File For Railroad Retirement?

Category: Railroad Retirement & Social Security
Jan 4 2017 - 6:45am

Hi, I spent most of my career contributing to Social Security but for the last 6 1/2 years I have been working for a labor organization that pays into the Railroad pension. I am going to retire this year at age 64. Can I take a reduced Social Security benefit until I turn 66 then apply to Railroad pension and get the unreduced Tier I and II benefits from the Railroad?

Hi,

I'm not an expert on Railroad Retirement, so I can't fully answer your question. You can file for reduced Social Security benefits at age 64, which would continue to be paid at a . . . Read More

Is My Granddaughter Eligible For Any Benefits?

Category: Child Benefits
Jan 4 2017 - 6:15am

I have custody of my 4 year old grand daughter. Are there any benefits I can collect to help with her living expenses. She has also just started receiving Child support from her Father, her mom is in prison for a long time. I am not sure if the child support is her income or mine, and re-portable or not. My SSDI and SSI and the CS total only $1103 per month for the two of us. I am 59 years old and not much of a work history to retire on nor do I have a spouse.

Hi,

Since her parents are living, your granddaughter could not qualify for Social Security . . . Read More

Can A Person Receiving Spousal Benefits Get Widow's Benefits If Their Spouse Dies?

Category: Widow(er) Benefits
Jan 4 2017 - 5:45am

I understand totally the grandfathered spousal benefit, but what happens if there's a death on either side? Can the restricted spousal benefit person then file for widow/survivor's benefit if spouse dies before he gets to 70 and let his SS still grow till 70 and then get his full retirement benefit? On the reverse, can the spouse, who filed early so her husband can get file the restricted spousal benefits, who died at 68, maximize on widow's benefits by waiting 2 years to claim survivor's benefits when husband would have reached 70, or does his maximum amount stop at 68 since . . . Read More

Can I Apply For Widow's Benefits At Age 60, And On My Own Record At Age 70?

Category: Widow's Benefits
Jan 4 2017 - 5:30am

I am about to turn 60 on Feb 1st. My husband has been gone sadly 11 years. I was told that I can apply for his social security benefits now that I am turning 60 even though I still work & plan to till 70.

Is that so and if so he served during the Vietnam war - does that have any significance either when applying if this is true.

Hi,

I'm sorry for your loss.

You can apply for widow's benefits at age 60, and then switch to your own record at age 70 if your own benefits are higher at that time. However, the Social Security annual . . . Read More

Am I Entitled To Survivor Benefits?

Category: Survivor Benefits
Jan 3 2017 - 4:30pm

Hi - I am in my late 30s, my wife of the same age passed away- I am caring for a child that we had together. I am currently receiving only a surviving child benefit under my child's name, which I have to account for and report on each year. Am I entitled to a surviving spouse benefit as well? SS office had told me 'no' because my income is above a certain amount. In addition - IF I remarry in the future, do I lose my child's benefit? IF I am entitled to spouse benefits, would I lose that as well if I remarried? Thank you!!

Hi,

I'm sorry for your loss . . . Read More

Can I File For Spousal Benefits On My Wife's Record?

Category: Filing Strategies
Jan 3 2017 - 8:30am

My wife will begin collecting social security this July at age 62. I will reach FRA in March. Can I file for spousal benefits on wife?( while letting credits accumulate until 70) How is the spousal benefit calculated? ( we have comparable income history 60k/70k). Thank you

Hi,

Yes, you can file just for spousal benefits only effective with the first month that your wife becomes entitled to her benefits, and let your own benefit rate grow until age 70. You are still permitted to do this because you were born prior to January 2 1954, and are thus . . . Read More

Why Did My Disability Benefits Stop?

Category: Supplemental Security Income
Jan 3 2017 - 8:15am

I had a Stroke when I was 59 years old. The supplimentle Security sent me to a docter and the docter deemed me to be disabled. They paid me $750 per month. I gave the V.A. the docters report and they paid me $1075 per month. When the Security found that the V.A. was paying me this they dropped my disability. I could not live on the V.A. benifit, so when I turned 62 I filed for S.S.I. and they pay me $580 per month.
So how come the disability was dropped because I'm a Veteran?

Hi,

Veterans benefits don't affect any type of Social Security . . . Read More

Is My Wife Grandfathered Under The New Law?

Category: New Law
Jan 3 2017 - 8:00am

I turned 70 in June 2016 and filed for and have been receiving full SS benefits.
My wife turns 66 in March 2017.
Is she "grandfathered in" to be able to file and suspend her own benefits at that time and file to receive spousal benefits from me only?
She has prepared a letter like the one you suggest in your book. Should she send it? or make an appointment?

Hi,

Yes, your wife is grandfathered under the new deeming law (https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/deemedfaq.html . . . Read More

Can I Get Survivor Benefits From My Husband's Record?

Category: Widow's Benefits
Jan 2 2017 - 4:15pm

Hi Larry my husband passed recently. He had ss and gov retirement. I am 89. I only have my retirement not ss. I am suppose to be getting his retirement plus my own. Do I get and therefore have to apply for his ss since i do not have ss?
Thank you .
Tina

Hi Tina,

I'm very sorry for your loss.

There's not really enough information in your question for me to be able to answer your question. It sounds as though you may be eligible for widow's benefits on your husband's record, so you should probably get in contact with Social . . . Read More

Do You Expect Any New Laws That Will Affect Me?

Category: New Law
Jan 2 2017 - 4:00pm

Hi Larry, Jerry, and Mike,

Thank you for responding to a question last year about the best time for me to take social security.

I am almost 69 (March) and I am barely making enough income with my current freelance clients to meet my expenses, but had decided to try to put off taking Social Security until 70 years old in order to get the maximum amount. However, since Mr Trump will be our next President, I am wondering if you would change your advice as to holding off as long as possible...or if perhaps it would be better to take my social security now? Or even . . . Read More

When Would My Wife Be Eligible For Spousal Benefits On My Record?

Category: Spousal Benefits
Jan 2 2017 - 12:00pm

Hi, I stumbled onto your site and found it very informative. I plan to purchase the maximize SS SW.

I do have a few questions. I am age 63 as of February 2017. My wife will be age 62 as of July 2017. My wife has been self employed most of her career and has a terminal illness now for which she applied and is receiving disability benefits as of April, 2016. If I begin taking SS benefits as of February, 2017 (63) will she qualify for the spousal benefit as of July 2017 (62) and does this impact her disability status? Is there a provision for her to get a spousal benefit . . . Read More

What Is The Best Strategy To Maximize My Benefits?

Category: Non-Covered Pension - WEP / GPO
Jan 2 2017 - 10:45am

I am 61 and currently work for the state of Colorado and must pay into our PERA program. I have not worked 35 years total (stay at home mom). I only have 8 years with PERA, which is subject to WEP. I have a divorced spouse who is currently receiving SS benefits and to whom I was married for 17 years so can file for his benefits. My question is what is the best strategy with this scenario to maximize my benefits? Collect his benefit, liquidate my PERA account (which will not pay much even if I stay until I am 70).

I think I am representative of many women my age who . . . Read More

Will Marriage Affect My Disability Benefits?

Category: Disability Benefits
Jan 2 2017 - 10:45am

I am 60 yrs old and receive SS disability. I got engaged over the Holiday. If I get married will my SS disability benefits decrease? Should I file separately or jointly?
Also, if I choose to take some money from my 401k how will this additional income affect my SS disability?

Hi,

Neither marriage nor withdrawing money from a 401k plan would have any affect on your Social Security disability benefits, assuming that your disability benefits are based on your own earnings history.

I'm not a tax expert, though, so I can't advise you on how . . . Read More

What Does The Notice I Received Mean?

Category: Payment Dates
Jan 1 2017 - 9:15am

I am 65 years old and I have been on Social Security since I'm 62 I got a letter saying the state of Pennsylvania will no longer pay for my Medicare Part D as of November 2016 I will have to start paying it as of December 2016 I just received the letter today and it's I'm fine with that but the thing I received a letter saying I will receive my January payment around February 3rd where I usually get my Social Security January 3rd does that mean I will not get a check in the month of January I'm not sure how they can do that how do I pay my rent and my other bills that is my . . . Read More

What Month Should I Claim Benefits?

Category: Filing For Benefits
Jan 1 2017 - 9:00am

I want my retirement benefits to begin precisely on the date I turn 70 (i.e. - 5/21/47), what month then do I indicate I want the benefits to begin May or June ? Is there proration by the birth date within the month ?
Thanks,
john

Hi John,

You will want to claim benefits effective with May 2017. It doesn't matter what day of the month you were born, you will be paid for the full month and receive the maximum number of delayed retirement credits. Social Security benefits are paid in the month following the month for which they are due, . . . Read More

Should I Get Credit For My Work In Canada?

Category: Earnings Subject To Social Security Taxes
Jan 1 2017 - 8:45am

I worked in Canada from 1990-1993. My earnings report shows no income for those years. Should those earnings be included in calculations for benefits? If so, what can I do about it? Or can I receive benefits from Canada for those years?

Hi,

If you didn't pay U.S. Social Security taxes on your earnings in Canada, they won't show up on your Social Security earnings record. Nor will the Canadian earnings be used in calculating your U.S. Social Security benefits, at least assuming that you have enough U.S. Social Security credits to be insured (i.e. 40 . . . Read More

Did I Miss Something In The Explanation?

Category: Child Benefits
Dec 31 2016 - 12:45pm

You have stated on several occasions, that a child in grandparents custody cannot get any benefits off the grandparents SS.
Yet the SSA clearly states in 2010b:
Notes: "Eligible parent" can be a grandparent if they have permanent guardianship.

Did I miss something in the explanation?
Thanks

Hi,

Apparently you did, because I've never said that a child cannot get benefits on a grandparent's record. However, permanent guardianship and/or custody in itself does not qualify a grandchild for benefits on their grandparent's . . . Read More

What Should My Wife Do?

Category: Filing Options
Dec 31 2016 - 12:15pm

I plan to retire next July. I will be 64 and know that I will receive a reduced benefit because I am not waiting to age 66. My wife will be 62 when I retire. She has not worked outside of our home for 40 years of our marriage. She is not even close to 40 quarters of social security employment. What can or should she do? As long as I am alive she will be fine. What happens when I die, if she is still alive?

Hi,

Your wife could start drawing spousal benefits as soon as you start drawing your benefits, but they'll be reduced if she starts them before . . . Read More

How Is The Reduction For Taking Early Benefits Calculated?

Category: Retirement Benefits
Dec 31 2016 - 10:45am

I haven't found an answer to this question either on the Social Security website or in your software: for someone born on January 4 who wants to apply for early retirement benefits at the age of 63 (in January 2017), should the application ask for benefits to start in January or February? In other words, if the applicant asks for benefits to start on January 1, 2017 (a few days before they turn 63) is the lifetime benefit calculation based on age 62 or 63?

Also, since it seems it will take a few weeks for benefits to begin, will the payments be retroactive to January . . . Read More

When Would Be The Best Time For Me To File?

Category: Filing Strategies
Dec 31 2016 - 10:30am

I turned 62 on 12.05.2016 and we are trying to decide when I should take my retirement benefits. I am healthy and quite active though no longer working. My husband is 80, 8.13.1936, and took his benefits early, at 62. It appears from the print out from SSI office that there is no case where taking spousal benefits makes sense since my own benefits are always greater. My husband is 18 years older and has had serious heart issues though is now stable and very physically active. It is quite possible, according to him, that he may die before I am 66 or 70. I did read what you had . . . Read More

Will My Social Security Benefits Be Reduced If I Receive A Survivor Benefit From My Wife's Pension Program?

Category: Non-Covered Pension - WEP / GPO
Dec 31 2016 - 10:30am

My wife has a local government pension from her years working as a teacher, and the pension has survivor benefits. I know her social security benefit is reduced by her pension. But if she dies before me, and I receive her pension survivor's benefit, will my own individual social security retirement benefit be reduced? In other words, if I receive her pension's survivor benefit, is it seen the same way as if I had my own earned pension benefit? Thanks.

Hi,

No, your Social Security benefits would not be affected if you receive a survivor benefit from . . . Read More

Can I Get Divorced Spousal Benefits Now And Then My Own Benefits When I Retire?

Category: Filing Strategies
Dec 31 2016 - 10:15am

I just turned 65 and want to retire if I can afford it - but may have to continue to work. My ex-husband is already retired and collecting disability. We were married over 10 years. Can I collect on his benefit now and continue working? If so, how much can I earn in addition to ss? If I don't work at all, can I collect on his now and then later at full retirement collect on my own ss?

Hi,

No, if you file before you reach age 66 for either retirement benefits on your own record or divorced spousal benefits, you'll be deemed to be filing for both. And . . . Read More

Will My Wife's Earnings Cause My Benefits To Be Reduced?

Category: Earnings Test
Dec 31 2016 - 10:00am

I am turned 62 in 2016 and started collecting SS benefits. My wife is 47 and still works and makes about $48K per year. I realize that my SS income will be subject to income taxation, but will my benefits be reduced due to her earned income? Thank you!

Hi,

No, only your own earnings count toward the Social Security earnings test (https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/whileworking2.html).

Best, Jerry

Does Social Security Consider Being A Minister As Working?

Category: Self-Employment Earnings
Dec 31 2016 - 10:00am

I receive SSDI. I am Christian minister. Do social security consider being a minister as working? Could I lose my benefits? Can I have a nonprofit organization to feed the hungry and receive social security diability benefits?

Hi,

Yes, remuneration received for performing services as a minister is considered self-employment earnings. A parsonage allowance, if any, also counts as earnings. For more information on this subject, refer to the following section of the Social Security operations manual: . . . Read More

Can A Parent Get Benefits From Their Child's Social Security Record?

Category: Parent's Benefits
Dec 30 2016 - 12:00pm

If a mom's a dependant and her daughter dies can she draw social security or retirement benefits from her.

Hi,

It's possible. Social Security can pay survivor benefits to parents who are at least age 62 and were financially dependent on their deceased child for at least 50% of their support. For more information on parent's benefits, refer to this section of Social Security operations manual: https://secure.ssa.gov/apps10/poms.nsf/lnx/0300209001.

Best, Jerry

Can I Receive A Larger Amount On My Ex-Husband's Record?

Category: Divorced Spousal Benefits
Dec 30 2016 - 12:00pm

I am 70 and collect social security. I was told I am eligible to reapply and use my ex husbands since I would receive a larger amount. Is that correct?

Hi,

Possibly. If he's living, you'd only be eligible for additional benefits on your ex-husband's record if half of his full retirement age rate is larger than your own. If he's deceased, you could be eligible for additional benefits if his full rate is higher than your own. You could certainly file an application and find out.

Best, Jerry

When Should I Apply For Benefits?

Category: Filing Strategies
Dec 30 2016 - 11:30am

I will turn 66 in August 2017, I plan on continuing to work for at least 4 more years, my annual salary is 90K. I was wondering when I should apply for Social Security in 2017? My husband is 74 and has been drawing his SSA since he was 65, will he be entitled to additional Spousal Benefits?

Hi,

If you want to start drawing reduced retirement benefits as soon as possible, you'd want to apply effective with January 2017. However, if you earn more than $44,880 from January through July 2017, Social Security will need to withhold $1 of your benefits for . . . Read More

Should My Wife Take Social Security Benefits Now?

Category: Filing Strategies
Dec 30 2016 - 11:15am

I started receiving SS benefits last year when I was age 68 and 2 months, hastened by a cancer diagnosis, even though I continue to work full-time. My gross monthly SS amount is $$3,105.60. My wife has the requisite quarters to be eligible for SS in her own right (she retired at age 35 when we married). She is now age 62 and 1 month but has not filed for SS. Doesn't it make sense for her to start drawing down now her SS, which at her current age would be $1,013? If I predecease her, which is likely, won't she be "wasting" the social security to which she is entitled, based on . . . Read More

What Is The Best Way For Me To File?

Category: Divorced Spousal Benefits
Dec 30 2016 - 11:00am

I was married for more than ten years and divorced for 16 years. I was born on December 31, 1954. Because I cannot file for a divorced spousal benefit at age 66 and let my own retirement grow until age 70 (which had been my plan), I am confused about how to file. I am hoping to wait until age 70 to do so. Regardless, what is the best way for me to file? It seems from reading your responses, there is a possiblity sometimes of a divorced benefit. My ex husband earns a higher income.
Thank you. Elizabeth

Hi Elizabeth,

As you know, whenever you . . . Read More

When Would Be The Best Time To Purchase Your Software?

Category: Maximize My Social Security Software
Dec 30 2016 - 10:45am

Currently near age 59 and my wife near age 58, when would be the best time for us to purchase your software for evaluating our best case retirement strategies?

Hi,

It's never to early to start planning for retirement, so you might want to start now. However, you can't apply for Social Security retirement or spousal benefits until age 62, so you could probably wait a while if the $40 per annum fee doesn't fit in your budget.

Best, Jerry

When Should I Start Drawing My Benefits?

Category: Filing Strategies
Dec 30 2016 - 10:30am

I filed and suspended my SS at 66 currently working but thinking about retiring this summer when I'm 68. Any advice on when I should start taking my benefit?

Thanks,
Frank

Hi Frank,

Your retirement benefit rate will continue to grow by 8% per year until you reach age 70, so as a general rule it's best to wait until then to file if you can afford to. However, you may have other filing options that you aren't aware of, so you may want to consider running the maximization software available on this website in order to explore all of your . . . Read More

Can You Clarify Gothcha # 2 In The Book 'Get What's Yours'?

Category: Filing Strategies
Dec 30 2016 - 10:15am

Larry,
I just finished reading "Get What's Yours" for Social Security and am confused by Gotcha #2 in chapter 16: "Once you file for your retirement benefit, you can never take an auxiliary benefit by itself." I am the significantly higher wage earner and turned 66 in November of 2016. My wife turns 65 in January of 2017. My understanding is that we are exempt from deeming due to our ages. Using an online calculator and other resources, it has been suggested that my wife could file for her earned benefits in January of 2017, and I could file for spousal benefits at the . . . Read More

Will It Lower My Own Benefits If I Receive Survivor Benefits?

Category: Filing Strategies
Dec 30 2016 - 9:15am

If I'm receiving survivor benefits now - will that lower my social security benefits when I turn 70 ( I'm 66 now) Thank you Laura

Hi,

No, it won't. Your own benefit amount will be calculated independently, without any carryover reduction from first receiving survivor benefits. When you eventually do file on your own record, you will receive the higher of the 2 benefits, but not both.

Best, Jerry

Can My Wife Draw Spousal Benefits Before She Starts Drawing Her Government Pension?

Category: Non-Covered Pension - WEP / GPO
Dec 30 2016 - 9:00am

My wife has a 401a government pension. She paid no Social Security tax for the 17 years on that job. If she retires and dose not draw a benefit until she has to do the rmd at 70, can she receive 50 % of my Social Security from 62 to 70. Then at 70 when we have to draw , and the GPO kicks in effect.
Thank you , Mark

Hi Mark,

Yes, the Government Pension Offset (GPO) would not apply to your wife's spousal benefits until she starts drawing her government pension. Of course, you must be drawing your Social Security benefits in order for her to be . . . Read More

Will My Wife Receive A Survivor Benefit If I Die Before I Start Drawing Benefits?

Category: Widow's Benefits
Dec 29 2016 - 5:00pm

As a 67 yr old male I filed and suspended. My 66 yr old wife is receiving spousal benefit. If I die prior to beginning to collect benefits, will my wife receive a survivor benefit. Will her total amount be 100% of what my amount would be at time of death, or would it be amount it would have been at FRA? Thank you!

Hi,

Yes, in the event of your death your wife's spousal benefits would convert to widow's benefits. Her benefit rate would be the full amount you would have been eligible for had you started drawing your benefits in the month of your death . . . Read More

Is My Analysis Correct?

Category: Filing Strategies
Dec 29 2016 - 4:30pm

Larry, My wife will be 66 in April, 2017 and will still work full time as will I. She'll be eligible to receive SSA benefits based on her earnings record that will be substantially less (about 50%) than mine. I reach 66 in January, 2018, but plan on waiting until age 70 to maximize my SSA benefits. Based on what I've read here, it would appear that one strategy might be to have her file for her own benefits at age 66, have me file for spousal benefits when I reach 66 and then file for my benefits at age 70, at which time she would be entitled to a spousal benefit greater than . . . Read More

How Much Can I Earn Before Losing Benefits?

Category: Earnings Test
Dec 29 2016 - 12:00pm

I receive survivors benefits. If I work how much can I earn before losing benefits? Also why would social security call me?

Hi,

If you're age 66 or older, there is no limit on the amount that you're allowed to earn and still draw benefits. If you are under age 66, the amount that you can earn without losing benefits varies from year to year. In 2016, you can earn up to $15,720, or $41,880 if you reach age 66 this year, without losing any Social Security benefits. In 2017, the amounts go up to $16,920, and $44,880 for those turning 66 next year. . . . Read More

Will Insurance Proceeds Affect My Survivor Benefits?

Category: Widow's Benefits
Dec 29 2016 - 12:00pm

Hello Larry,

My husband dies this and and I am receiving his Social Security survivor benefits. I just received an Insurance check from Sun Life, will this check affect my SSI benefits.

Hi,

I'm sorry for your loss.

Just to clarify my answer, I'm assuming that you don't mean that you are receiving Supplemental Security Income (https://www.ssa.gov/ssi/) when you refer to SSI benefits. Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a needs based program administered by the Social Security Administration, and . . . Read More

Would Additional Earnings Help My Wife More Than Me?

Category: Self-Employment Earnings
Dec 29 2016 - 11:00am

Larry: I posed a question earlier today that you answered a few minutes ago. However I believe your answer was based on some wrong assumptions concerning my situation:
1. I am a sole proprietor for tax filing purposes. My wife is not an employee or a joint owner/partner in my real estate business. We are only "joint" as tax filers.
2. She is NOT going to file for SS benefits until age 70, as is the case with myself (we are both 67 in 2017--she before me).
3. The amount paid to her annually that is reported as 1099 income from me varies, depending on the . . . Read More

How Should My Wife And I Report Our Earnings?

Category: Self-Employment Earnings
Dec 28 2016 - 11:30am

I've operated my own real estate brokerage in Michigan for several years and am re-examining strategies I've employed for the past 10 years or so regarding the maximizing of both my wife and my future social security benefits. My wife and I are both 66 and we decided based on our health, continued income, savings, etc. to put off filing for SS benefits until age 70. I brought in my wife as an assistant in the business a few years ago for the sole purpose of generating credits for her Social Security benefits (she had been a stay-at-home mom for all but a few years of our 46 . . . Read More

Can I Receive Spousal Benefits If My Husband Files And Suspends?

Category: Filing Strategies
Dec 28 2016 - 11:15am

My husband and I are still working. He is 69 and I just turned 66. We have not yet filed for benefits, hoping to each wait until 70 to file, thanks to advice from your book. We thought he should file and suspend now and I file to collect spousal benefits now as well. Is this correct thinking? What happens when he turns 70 and files again to collect his benefits? And what happens when I file for my own benefits at 70? When one of us dies, what benefit would the other be collecting? Thank you.

Hi,

No, thanks to the new law passed by Congress last year . . . Read More

Will I Be Able To Collect Social Security?

Category: Spousal Benefits
Dec 28 2016 - 11:15am

I'm 57. I've been living with a man for 20 years and I haven't worked. Will I be able to collect social security at all when I'm 65?

Hi,

It's doesn't sound like it. You must have paid into Social Security for at least 10 years (i.e. 40 quarters of coverage) to qualify for retirement benefits on your own record. And, you can't qualify for spousal benefits on the basis of living with someone outside of marriage. Some states recognize common law marriages, but even that requires an intent to marry ( . . . Read More

Can My Grandchildren Get Benefits On My Record?

Category: Child Benefits
Dec 28 2016 - 11:15am

My wife and I are raising two grandchildren as our own. We have been since their birth. We clothe them, shelter them, feed them, send them to school just as we did our own children and we love them even more.

We have legal custody of both. I retired at full retirement age and have started receiving my checks. When I asked if I could claim my grandchildren, I was told they had to be adopted. Is this true? One is now 14 and the other is 16. I would really like to receive the college benefit for them if there is a way before they are too old and no further qualify. Is . . . Read More

When Can I File For Benefits, And What Benefits Will I Receive?

Category: Filing Strategies
Dec 27 2016 - 4:45pm

I was born 7/13/57 & my ex of 12 years marriage was born 8-2-58. He makes substantially more than I do so eventually I will want to file on his earnings record. However, I'm wanting to file early at 62 or 63 I'm assuming because he's younger.

We are on speaking terms so he did go through the S.S. system and calculated that his benefits looked to be approximately $2400 a month. (He earns $200,00+ annually)

I'm trying to determine my best strategy for receiving maximum benefits. I do work in a part-time job now making on average $17,000 gross per year . . . Read More

Can I File For Spousal Benefits At Age 62?

Category: Spousal Benefits
Dec 27 2016 - 4:30pm

Have been on SSDI since I was 60. Am on Medicare parts A and B. Will turn 62 in February. Is it possible to reapply for Social Security when I turn 62 to utilize my wife's income and still retain my Medicare benefits?

Hi,

I'm not sure if I understand your question. I assume you are asking if you could receive spousal benefits at age 62. The answer to that depends on whether or not your wife is drawing her benefits, and the amount of her benefit rate. She must be drawing her benefits in order for you to potentially be eligible for spousal benefits . . . Read More

When Should I File For Spousal Benefits, And Can I Continue Working?

Category: Spousal Benefits
Dec 27 2016 - 3:45pm

My wife was recently approved for SS disability retroactive to September 1, 2016; she is 62 years old. I am 67 years old and am still working full time. I plan on retiring on June 30, 2017 and currently have a request (dated October 4, 2016) into SS for withdrawal of my suspended retirement application; I have received no SS payments as a result. I have planned to defer taking my SS retirement until age 70 to accrue deferred retirement credits.

My first on is based on the above circumstances. Should I file for spousal benefits under my wife's disability now or wait . . . Read More

Does Housing Assistance Affect Social Security Disability Payments?

Category: Disabled Adult Child Benefits
Dec 27 2016 - 11:45am

I am legal guardian for my disabled 18-year old son who is currently receiving survivor benefits since my husband passed away in 2010. Though my son was disabled since age six, we never applied for ssdi, however, I will be doing so on his behalf very soon. I was told by our SSA office that if his disability application is approved, my son's survivor benefits will be converted to 'adult disabled child' benefits-And due to my husband's income history, my son will continue to receive approx. the same amount in disability benefits each month instead of the standard of around $750/ . . . Read More

Will My Benefit Rate Be Adversely Affected If I Don't Have Maximum Earnings This Year?

Category: Retirement Benefits
Dec 27 2016 - 11:30am

Larry - Doing end-of-year tax planning and a question about raising my salary for 2016 to reach the 2016 maximum ($118,500). I will be 66 in Aug 2017; my plan is to defer taking my social security until age 70 - projected benefit at FRA is $2,575, and $3,498 at age 70.
On 4 of the last 5 years (and 7 of the last 10) I have "maxed out" my salary - wages in excess of the SS contribution limit. This year I am at $102,400 to date -- I have taken the required compensation amount from my prof corp (per my CPA) to meet the fiscal year requirements.

Is it to my advantage . . . Read More

How Much Can I Make Before I Have To Pay Taxes?

Category: Taxation Of Benefits
Dec 27 2016 - 10:45am

I currently draw 18168.00 a year in social security. My question is how much more a year can I make ( ie: selling stock or selling some things in my house) before I have to pay taxes. I am 64 and totally disabled. will be 65 in 4 months.

Hi,

Sorry, but I'm not a tax expert. You might try searching for an answer on irs.gov (https://www.irs.gov/).

I do know that a single person can have up to $25,000 per year in income, excluding half of their Social Security benefits, before any of their Social Security . . . Read More

Can I File For Benefits On My Own Record At 63 And Receive Unreduced Divorced Widow's Benefits In The Future?

Category: Filing Strategies
Dec 27 2016 - 10:15am

I am 63. Can I apply for my reduced benefits now and then when my ex dies apply for divorced widow benefits? Would I receive his full amount if he was on disability at the time of death?

Hi,

Possibly. You can file for reduced benefits on your own account now, but there is an earnings test that may limit the benefits that you could receive prior to full retirement age (https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/whileworking2.html). Of course, if you aren't working, you won't have to worry . . . Read More

Can I Receive Spousal Benefits At Age 62?

Category: Spousal Benefits
Dec 27 2016 - 10:15am

My wife is 66 collecting social security I'm 61. AT 62 can I collect on any of hers or do I need to file my own at 62.

Hi,

Whenever you filed for spousal benefits, you would be deemed to also be applying for benefits on your own record. So, the only way that you will receive any spousal benefits is if your wife's full retirement age benefit rate is more than twice as much as your own. And if you start benefits at age 62, your benefit rate will be reduced by more than 25% from your full retirement age rate.

Best, Jerry

Can My Wife Receive Spousal Benefits If I File And Suspend?

Category: Filing Strategies
Dec 27 2016 - 10:00am

I am 65 years old, 7/31/1951. I just retired but do not plan to file for my social security benefits until my 70th birthday. My wife is 62, 4/8/1954 and will continue to work as long as possible. We both have about similar maximum retirement earnings benefits, my wife's are probably about 5% higher than mine. My question: Once I turn 66, in July, do I have the option of filing and suspending, so my wife can collect her spousal benefit. With two possibilities: she is working at the time and earning over $100,000 or she might be temporally unemployed.

Hi, . . . Read More

Can I Receive A Lump Sum Of My Deceased Wife's Social Security Contributions?

Category: Widow(er) Benefits
Dec 26 2016 - 10:45am

My wife died in 2011. Am I eligible to receive any additional benefits. I am 64 years old. She would have been 65. I am receiving 1,076. A month in my own benefits. Can I receive the money she paid into Social Security. As a lump sum?

Hi,

I'm sorry for your loss.

There is no option to receive a refund of Social Security taxes paid by yourself or anyone else. Unlike a 401k plan, for example, Social Security taxes do not go into a person's individual fund. Instead, they go into a pooled trust fund, which is in turn used to pay benefits to . . . Read More

Can I Suspend My Benefits At FRA And Draw Spousal Benefits?

Category: Suspending Retirement Benefits
Dec 26 2016 - 10:30am

I am currently 59 yrs. old and have been receiving SSDI for 15 years. I understand that my SSDI benefits will revert to SS retirement benefits at age 66 yrs. old. I am married and my 69 yr. old husband is still working full time. My question is once my SSDI benefits convert to SS retirement benefits at age 66 yrs. old is there a way to suspend collecting my SS retirement benefits at that time in order to receive a higher amount of SS retirement benefits when I am 70 yrs. old? Can I at age 66 yrs. old claim SS retirement benefits on my husband's SS benefits?

. . . Read More

Will I Lose My Benefits If I Remarry?

Category: Divorced Widow(er) Benefits
Dec 26 2016 - 10:15am

Hello Larry,
I am 67, collecting benefits from my former ex-husband of 10 years who has been deceased for about 15 years, he never applied for his benefits. My question is if I remarry will I lose my benefits? He is still working and a widower, but I don't know if he is collecting benefits from his deceased wife. Can you give me both scenarios? Thank you for your time and effort.

Dorie

Hi,

Since your ex-husband is deceased and you are over age 60, you won't lose your benefits if you remarry. Remarriage does not terminate widow's or . . . Read More

Should I Take Social Security Early And Put More Into My 401K Plan?

Category: Filing Strategies
Dec 26 2016 - 9:45am

I'm 62 - working and plan to work for 10 more years - $40K annual income - can I push $25,000 into my 401k (to reduce income) and draw my SS at age 63 - I understand the benefit would be reduced but I think I should still come out $12k+ per year - what is your advise? Thanks!

Hi,

I'm not an expert on economics, so I'll defer to Larry's thoughts on this issue which can be found in the following columns: http://www.pbs.org/newshour/making-sense/ . . . Read More

How Will My Other Pensions Affect My Social Security Benefits?

Category: Non-Covered Pension - WEP / GPO
Dec 26 2016 - 8:30am

Hello Larry!

I was born in year 1953 in Czechoslovakia - today a part called Slovak Republic.
I came to USA in 1987.
1/ I am entitled to the minimum Slovak pension of about US $300.00 for work and years of studying there - 1971 -1985. I could start to get this pension when I was 62 years old, I did not yet, but I am considering to start in 2017.

2/ I worked almost 9 years - 1991 -2000 in Denver , CO for Denver Public Schools. At the age of 65 years I am going to start to get pension of about $350.00 from DPS.

I am still working, planning to . . . Read More

Will I Get My Husband's Benefit Rate If He Dies Before Me?

Category: Widow's Benefits
Dec 25 2016 - 8:00am

My husband retired a few yrs after full retirement age and receives 1170/mo SS. He is 15 yrs older than me. I started receiving SS in June at age 62 in amount of 1122/mo. If he dies will I automatically start receiving 1170/mo?

Hi,

If you're at least age 66 at the time he dies, then yes your total benefit amount would go up to his full rate. If he died before then, you would likely be best off to wait until age 66 to file for widow's benefits.

Best, Jerry

Can I Collect My Own Benefit And Widow's Benefits?

Category: Filing Options
Dec 25 2016 - 8:00am

I am collecting survivor's benefits as a widow at age 60. Will I be able to collect my own social security in addition or will it be a combo of both?

Hi,

You can't draw both benefits at the same time, just the higher of the two. However, if your own benefit rate is higher than your widow's rate, you can switch to retirement benefits on your own record at a later age. If that's the case, you will likely want to wait until age 70 to file on your own record, since your own benefit rate will continue to increase up to that time. If your own benefit . . . Read More

What's The Best Way For Me To Optimize My Benefits?

Category: Filing Strategies
Dec 24 2016 - 5:15pm

Hi Larry:

My husband is 22 years older than me (82). I just turned 60. He started collecting SS at age 62. I've been working all my life and can wait until I'm 70 to start collecting. My question is: What strategies should I be aware of to optimize my SS benefits? Is there anything I should be doing prior to age 70? What if my husband passes before I start collecting SS - is there something I should do that would increase my SS other than waiting until age 70 when it will be the highest amount possible? Thanks!

Hi,

Your best strategy depends . . . Read More

Will My Disability Benefits Be Cut?

Category: Disability Benefits
Dec 24 2016 - 5:15pm

I have a serious disability and have been on disability for six years. Will I get grandfathered in from having cuts made to my monthly check

Hi,

I can't guarantee anything, but I haven't heard of any proposals that would cut benefits for current beneficiaries. I would be extremely surprised if anything like that happened in the future.

Best, Jerry

What Is Our Best Strategy?

Category: Filing Strategies
Dec 24 2016 - 11:15am

Hi Larry,
I'm 64 and will quit working soon. My wife turns 64 in Jan. of 2017, I have checked a couple of different sources and one says I should retire 1st and age 66 and she should collect spousal benefits and not file for hers til she reaches age 70. Another source said she should retire first at 66 and I should file for spousal benefits and collect my full ss at age 70. If I wait til I'm 70, mine will be about 2k per mo. If she waits til 70 to file, hers would be about 3k per mo. I expect to live into my late 80's and she expects to live into to her early 80's. So . . . Read More

Should I Change My Plans Due To The Election?

Category: New Law
Dec 24 2016 - 10:45am

I will be 66 (FRA) in February 2017. I am planning to continue working full-time until February 2019 and I had planned to delay filing for social security benefits until that time, or, possibly, even 2020 when I will be 69.
I am totally unsure now, with Trump the president-elect. My feeling now is that I should file as soon as I reach FRA because I have no idea what he or the Republicans might do with respect to social security. My latest plan is to file in Feb 2017 at FRA, save all of the social security (since I will still be working full-time), see how things go, and . . . Read More

Should My Mom Be Receiving Widow's Benefits?

Category: Widow's Benefits
Dec 24 2016 - 10:15am

My Mom is 95, we think she is receiving social security under her own work record.
Her husband died in 2000, and always made more money then her. Should she be getting social security under his record? and would it be more money?
As she is 100% bedridden, and any extra money would be used to make her more comfortable in her final days. would we be able, as her children to help her with this?

Hi,

I'm sorry to hear about your mother's health problems.

It sounds like she should be receiving the higher of her own benefit rate, or her . . . Read More

Is There Any Reason For My Wife To Not Start Collecting Benefits?

Category: Filing Strategies
Dec 24 2016 - 10:15am

Hi,
My wife is 64 years old and quit her job a year ago. With no current or planned income, is there an obvious benefit for her to wait until full retirement age or later to file for Social Security Benefits? Since she is not making any paycheck contributions, it seems that she might a well start to collect ASAP. I am 61 and plan to work and contribute to my SS account for a few more years.
Thanks in advance for your consideration.
Tony

Hi Tony,

When to start drawing benefits is a personal choice, but if your wife starts drawing . . . Read More

How Does The Earnings Test Work?

Category: Earnings Test
Dec 24 2016 - 10:00am

I still find the "Earnings Test" very confusing. When it talks about the "benefits withheld", does that refer to reduced social security payments from signing up before FRA or does it refer to "withholding $1 for every $2 (of $3) dollars earned? I am interested because I would like to know whether withheld pay from working will be refunded when a person reaches FRA or whether a person's social security payment will be increased when reaching FRA. Thank you for all you do to clarify a very confusing issue! Happy Holidays!

Hi,

Happy Holidays to you, too . . . Read More

Do Life Insurance Proceeds Affect Survivor Benefits?

Category: Survivor Benefits
Dec 23 2016 - 10:00am

Can a young widow's and her children's survivorship benefit be jeopardized by the pay out on the deceased husband's life insurance policy through his employer?

Hi,

No, life insurance proceeds have no effect on any type of Social Security benefits.

Best, Jerry

Does The New Law Affect Me?

Category: New Law
Dec 21 2016 - 12:15pm

I started drawing off my husbands SS (he is living) when I reached full retirment age (66) in 2013, planning to switch to my own higher
benefit when I turn 70 in 2017. My husband waited until he was 70 to draw any benefits, and was drawing before I began to draw off him.

Is there anything in the new law passed that would prevent me from getting my full benefit I planned on at 70 based on my own earnings?

Hi,

No, it sounds like your strategy is still fine.

Best, Jerry

Can My Wife File For Retirement Benefits Retroactively?

Category: Filing Strategies
Dec 21 2016 - 8:15am

Below I have cut and pasted my previous question and your reply. My new question is--can my wife--once we pay back the 3 months, back apply for those same 3 months
at her own social secuity rate of $750.00 per month for those 3 months only? She is currently after receiving the 3 months we are paying back half of my(her spouses) social security amount that I would have received in April. While I am receiving a higher amount as it went up a little between April and August when I started. cut and paste below:( I do not want to upset the apple cart so to speak by asking) . . . Read More

Will My Granddaughter Qualify For Social Security Benefits On My Record?

Category: Child Benefits
Dec 21 2016 - 8:00am

My Grand daughter has received Social Security since she was young, she is mildly mentally retarded with other issues. She had a daughter which the court took away from her and gave my husband and I full permanent custody. Would she qualify for benefits when I retire next year without adopting her??

Hi,

Unless you adopt your granddaughter, she could only qualify for child's benefits on your record if both of her natural parents are deceased or disabled.

Best, Jerry

Is It True That My Wife Was Overpaid?

Category: File and Suspend Strategy Deadline
Dec 20 2016 - 9:45am

My wife turned 66 in April 2016, and I turned 68 in April 2016. We applied for social security retirement in June 2016.
My ss to start in August as I wanted. We were told by ss at the time of application on the phone(they phoned us after we applied on line)
They informed us that my wife would only get half of what my total was based on her birthday of April 2016 and never a higher amount.
They offered to back pay her for April, May and June at half of what I would have received in April 2016. And continue my wifes at that same rate after those 3 months. . . . Read More

Can My Wife File For Spousal Benefits At Age 62 And Let Her Own Benefits Grow Until Age 70?

Category: Filing Strategies
Dec 20 2016 - 9:30am

I just turned 63 and wife just turned 62. My wife has worked most of 40 years. After a 25 year career, SSA declared me disabled 16 years ago and continues to pay me a disability pension. (At age 66, I know its name will change to a full retirement benefit.) We also know my wife's FRB will be less than mine (with reasonable inflation assumptions). Given the recent SSA rule changes and the fact that I've already been receiving a benefit, I know our options are limited. The big issue appears to be whether she can claim at 62 a spouse benefit without eliminating the growth of her . . . Read More

Does Social Security Pay Back Pay Of Delayed Retirement Credits?

Category: Delayed Retirement Credits
Dec 20 2016 - 8:30am

I have another question about delayed retirement credits. My FRA of 66 was in 2014. I do have RR but now have been given the exact amount of Social Security retirement. It is 271.00 higher than my tier 1 RR. Does Social Security pay back pay of the delayed retirement credit portion when I do start benefits or is all of that money basically forfeited? I do understand that they no longer pay the lump sum as of April of 2016 but was not sure if the portion of delayed credit might be given. Since I have applied, I am supposed to tell SS tomorrow if I want to start benefits or delay . . . Read More

Can I Collect Now On My Own Record And Switch To Widow's Benefits At FRA?

Category: Filing Strategies
Dec 20 2016 - 7:30am

I am retired, turning 62 next week and my husband passed away in 2009 at age 55. I didn't work as long or make as much as my late husband so my benefits are considerably less than his so I wondered if I can collect my benefits now at a reduced rate and then switch to his at full retirement age so I can collect some of what I paid in and not reduce what I will receive from his?

Hi,

I'm sorry for your loss.

The answer to your question is yes, although technically you wouldn't 'switch to widow's benefits' when you subsequently apply for widow's . . . Read More

How Much Can I Earn If I Take Benefits Early?

Category: Earnings Test
Dec 20 2016 - 7:15am

My full retirement age is age 66.
I will turn 66 in December of 2018.
If I decide to take my SS at age 65 in February of 2018 before reaching FRA and continue to work for several months how much can I make being employed before they start penalizing my SS?

Mike

Hi Mike,

The exempt amount of earnings for people who reach full retirement age (FRA) in 2017 is $44,880. The 2018 exempt amount won't be announced until late next year, but it shouldn't be any less than $44,880.

What that means is that if you follow your plan, you . . . Read More

Will My Wife Be Penalized If I'm Drawing My Social Security?

Category: Filing Strategies
Dec 20 2016 - 7:00am

I am 74 and drawing social security. My wife turns 62, Jan, 2017. My wife has worked in the past and is eligible for social security payments based on that past work experience. Can she draw her own social security at her 62nd birthday or is she penalized because I am drawing mine. Thank you.

Hi,

Your wife will not be penalized because you are drawing your Social Security. In fact, it may even permit her to receive benefits from your record in addition to her own. However, she would only be eligible on your record if one half of your full retirement . . . Read More

Can I Collect From My Ex-Husband's Social Security?

Category: Divorced Spousal Benefits
Dec 19 2016 - 2:30pm

I am 72 years old. Started collecting SS at 62 (now $707) I was married for 18 years and I am divorced for 32 years.
Can I collect from my ex husband SS? At this time they are paying me $80 from his SS. He worked for 25 years for a large company making really good money. How is it that I am getting only $80?
How I apply?
Thank you

Hi,

If Social Security is paying you $80 a month from your ex-husband's record, then it sounds like you are already receiving all that you can currently get from his account. Since you are also drawing . . . Read More

Can My Husband Claim Spousal Benefits Without Being Deemed To Apply On His Own Record?

Category: Filing Strategies
Dec 19 2016 - 2:15pm

If I file now at FRA 66, can my husband also claim spousal benefits on my work record without being "deemed filing" ? He wants to keep delayed retirement credits for 2 years til 70 in 2018, as the higher earner.

Hi,

Yes, as long as your husband was born before January 2 1954, he can file a restricted application for spousal benefits only on your record without being deemed to also have applied for benefits on his own record. The conditions are that you must be drawing your benefits, and he must be at least age 66 at the time he starts drawing the . . . Read More

Is It True That I Don't Qualify For Spousal Benefits?

Category: Filing For Early Retirement Benefits
Dec 19 2016 - 12:45pm

At 62 I was advised by Social Security to begin taking my benefits because eventually I would take half of my husband's Social Security. My husband is 66 and applying for benefits. However Social Security is now telling us I will never be able to do this, as my full benefits at the age of 66 ( 1294.60) ! would be $40 more than half of his which would be 1249.20. Is this true? Is there something we can do? Now I am in the position of never being able to collect full benefits, which means a loss of more than $300.

Hi,

Yes, it sounds like you don't . . . Read More

Will Paul Ryan's Plan Affect Me?

Category: New Law
Dec 19 2016 - 12:30pm

I have a serious disability and have been on Social Security disability for six years. Under Paul Ryan's plan would my benefits be cut or will I be grandfathered in

Hi,

I am only familiar with the current Social Security laws. Proposals for changing Social Security are frequently bandied about, but few are actually enacted into law. So, I try not to guess what Congress may or may not do in the future.

That said, I'd be shocked if Congress did anything to take away Social Security benefits from people who are already receiving them.

. . . Read More

Can I Work Without Jeopardizing My Disability Benefits?

Category: Disability Benefits
Dec 19 2016 - 11:45am

I was recently (and quickly) approved for disability benefits, starting June 2017 (after 5-month waiting period). My disability actually started back in 2013 when I was diagnosed with late-stage cancer, but I continued to (try to) work through surgery, chemo, more surgery, more chemo. During this time, I did manage to earn over $1,130 most months, so my onset date doesn't begin until now. This waiting period is tough, as I have no other income source and am single. So my question is: Can I earn a little income during this five-month period, as long as it's under $1,130? Or does . . . Read More

Can I Exclude My Wife On My Application?

Category: Family Benefit Maximum
Dec 19 2016 - 11:45am

I plan to take early retirement @ 62 years of age. My PIA is currently calculated to be 2,000/month at that point. The Family Max looks like it calculates out to 3,500/month. At that point my wife will be 40 and our healthy child will be 8.
If I ask for benefits for both my wife and child, I believe that the extra 1,500 of monthly Fam Benefit would be split between them, leaving each with 750/month.
However, my wife will be earning over 40K yearly and should have her entire benefit wiped out by the Earnings Test.
So, I would like to file for benefits for . . . Read More

Will My Daughter's Benefit Rate Increase When I Am No Longer Eligible?

Category: Family Benefit Maximum
Dec 18 2016 - 3:00pm

My daughter and I receive SS benefits based on my husbands record. He is currently collecting retirement benefits. I am 53 and my daughter is 11 and we have been receiving benefits for 14 months. I know we each receive a reduce amount because we exceeded the family maximum, but it was still considerably more than her benefit alone would have been, even taking in to consideration my SS is taxed and hers is not. When my benefits end as she turns 16, will her benefit increase at that time? I am thinking it might be recalculated automatically to allow for the maximum for one . . . Read More

Did Social Security Make A Mistake In Calculating My Disability Benefits?

Category: Disability Benefits
Dec 18 2016 - 2:30pm

I have been awarded with SSDI in april 2016 . The SSA established a $ 301.00 monthly benefits by computing my earnings
and divide them by past 20 years . The problem here is that , I have arrived in US ( first time ever )and start to earn a income IN THE YEAR OF 2005 ( SEPTEMBER ) . THEN , THE SSA SUPPOSED TO COUNT AND DIVIDE MY TOTAL EARNINGS BY 10 YEARS , INSTEAD . THAT WOULD DOUBLE MY MONTHLY AMOUNT . WHAT I HAVE TO DO TO CLAIM THAT THEY HAVE MADE A MISTAKE WHEN ESTABLISHED MY SSDI PENSION ?
Thank you , in advance .
A.

Hi A,

I . . . Read More

Is It Too Risky To Wait?

Category: New Law
Dec 18 2016 - 2:00pm

I am 66 and am not currently receiving my social security benefit although I am getting a spousal benefit from my 62 year old wife's work record. I will stop work June 30, 2017. I have been planning to defer taking my full benefit on my work record until age 70. Given the recent election and the influx of crazies into the political system (today's NYTs has an editorial about attempts to 'slash' benefits) is it too risky to wait?

Hi,

No one can say for sure what the future holds, but the most recent amendments passed by Congress last year grandfathered . . . Read More

Can I Draw My Social Security At Age 62 And Switch To A Railroad Divorced Spousal Benefit Later?

Category: Railroad Retirement & Social Security
Dec 17 2016 - 4:00pm

I will be eligible for a divorced spouse annuity from the railroad retirement board at age 62 (I am currently 55). Can I collect my own social security at age 62 and wait until some later age (say, 70) to stop collecting my social security and start collecting the RRB annuity? (Is this what is meant by file and suspend?) Thank you for your help.

Hi,

To answer your last question first, no that isn't what's meant by file and suspend. File and suspend refers to filing for Social Security benefits at or after full retirement age, but voluntarily . . . Read More

Can I Return To Work Without Jeopardizing My Disability Benefits?

Category: Disability Benefits
Dec 17 2016 - 3:45pm

I am on social disability. I will be turning 65 in January.. I have someone who wants to hire me. I would be able to make my own hours as i feel able to. Will this jeopardize my social security disability. Also would anything change when I reach. 65. Oh and how much can I earn.

Hi,

The answer depends partially on whether or not you've previously worked since starting on disability benefits. If not, all of your 9 month trial work period is still available, and you could start working in January without potentially losing any of your Social Security . . . Read More

Would It Be Advisable Financially For My Uncles To Marry?

Category: Marriage
Dec 17 2016 - 11:15am

My Uncles, both in their late 80's, have been life partners since the mid 1980's. They are not married, and have no plans to marry. They both get Social Security checks. They receive about the same, and it adds up to around $30,000 per year. When one of them dies, will the other be eligible for any survivor's benefits? Would it be advisable financially for them to get married?

Hi,

Just to clarify, I don't know what it would mean for them other than the Social Security considerations. But, as far as their Social Security benefits are concerned, . . . Read More

Can I Receive Spousal Benefits Before Age 62 If I Have A Child In Care?

Category: Spousal Benefits
Dec 17 2016 - 10:45am

I am 60 years old and my husband is 81 and is receiving SS. 6 years ago we adopted our grandson whose mother passed away. His fathers parental rights were taken away by the courts. Our adopted son is receiving SS benefits from my husband. I have heard that I am also eligible for child - in - care benefits as our adopted son is 9 years old. When I called SS they said child in care is for a deceased parent. That is not my understanding. Please comment. I assume also that I would not be eligible if I was still working. Correct? Thanks much

Hi,

It sounds . . . Read More

Why Are My Wife's Spousal Benefits Subject To GPO?

Category: Non-Covered Pension - WEP / GPO
Dec 16 2016 - 1:00pm

Hi Larry: I am age 65 and have received SSDI for past 7 years ($1650 monthly). My wife, will be 66 in Feb. 2017 and her PIA will be $2375. She has 35 years of " Substantial" SS earnings. She recently filed for a restricted spousal benefit, DOB 2/13/1951. Following a 35 year career in private industry she retired and then was employed with a county agency, working 9 additional years. Her OCERS montly allowance is $1900 and began two years ago. We were contacted yesterday by the SSA and informed, due to the GPO, she was entitled to zero dollar spousal benefit. I understand how . . . Read More

What Start Date Should I Choose On My Application?

Category: Filing Strategies
Dec 16 2016 - 12:45pm

I have scanned through the Ask Larry topics and have read your updated Get What's Yours. I still am confused as to what start date I should use on my application so as not to incur a reduction in my benefit or my husband's spousal benefit; my actual birthday or the beginning of the next month. I turn 66 on 4/20/17 and want to begin my benefit. My husband (older) will then restrict his application to spousal until he files at 70.

Hi,

Social Security applications only ask you what month you want to start benefits, not the day. If you want to receive . . . Read More

Will My Social Security Be Reduced If I Started A Lower Paying Job?

Category: Retirement Benefits
Dec 16 2016 - 12:30pm

I turned 66 in August, and started drawing S.S. I took a lesser job same company in March and half of my salary. Will my S.S. be reduced?

Hi,

No, they won't be reduced. Social Security retirement benefits are calculated based on a person's best 35 years of inflation adjusted earnings. The rate you currently receive is based on your best 35 years of earnings through 2015. So, your benefit rate won't go down because you took a lower paying job after that. And, there is no limit on the amount that you can earn once you reach full retirement age, so . . . Read More

When Should I Submit My Request For Suspension Of Benefits?

Category: Suspending Retirement Benefits
Dec 16 2016 - 12:00pm

I am currently recieving disability benefits, will be 66 in jan 2017 i went to the local social security office today to suspend my benefits at fra in order to recieve drc originally ssa agent said since i have recieved disability could not recieve drc, but upon ssa agent checking with someone else was advised i could recieve drc but could not apply/suspend until i have reached fra i was given a form ssa-795 looking again at a link you had sent me previously - ssa/voluntary suspension faq #1- it is saying suspend the month before payment is due (jan benefit = feb payment) so am . . . Read More

Can I Suspend Benefits Without Paying Back What I've Already Received?

Category: Suspending Retirement Benefits
Dec 16 2016 - 11:45am

Thanks for taking this question. Have been getting conflicting answers from 2 different CFPs so here goes. I turned 66 this past August 2016. Applied for and begin receiving my Soc Security benefit at that time. Now 4 months later I realize I do not need the money at this time. Wife is 62 and is entitled to her own benefit which is higher than mine. We plan not to have her apply till age 70. She is not collecting any kind of Spousal Benefit. At this point can I suspend my benefit to a future date say 68-70 without having to pay back the past 5 months of benefits I have received . . . Read More

Will My Divorced Spousal Benefit Be Reduced Due To The GPO Provision?

Category: Non-Covered Pension - WEP / GPO
Dec 16 2016 - 11:30am

I will retire from teaching after 25 years in a system that did not take out SS. I am divorced and was married 27 years. I think I can get half of my ex-spouses benefits but I am not sure. If so, will it be reduced by the Windfall Tax or GPO? If I work the last 5 years at a job that does take out SS, will the Winfall/GPO be eliminated from my benefits?

Hi,

Yes, if you're receiving a pension from a government employer in the U.S. where your wages were exempt from Social Security taxes, any divorced spousal or widower's that you become entitled to from . . . Read More

Can I File For Spousal Benefits On My Husband's Record At Age 66, Then Switch To My Own Record Later?

Category: Filing Strategies
Dec 16 2016 - 11:15am

My husband is 68, filed for social security at 62 and is receiving benefits. I was born in 1951, will be 66 in May of 2017, am working and plan to work for 2 more years. Can I file for spousal benefits once I turn 66 this May and put my benefit on hold until I retire in 2 more years? What is the correct language for this process and can I do it online, and if so what is the link. My benefit will be much larger than my husbands.

Hi,

Yes, and yes. Since you were born prior to January 2 1954, you can file a restricted application for spousal benefits . . . Read More

Why Can't My Mother Get Her Social Security Benefits?

Category: Railroad Retirement & Social Security
Dec 16 2016 - 11:00am

Larry, I am asking for my mother, age 90, soon to be 91. She retired from a local school system with benefits from Tennessee Consolidated Retirement System. What bothers her most is all her years of paying into the Social Security and has be advised that she cannot receive that because see is under my deceased father's Railroad Retirement Benefits. Can you a clear up this matter for her and me, I suppose????

Thank you in advance;
Mary

Hi Mary,

If your mother worked and paid into Social Security long enough to be insured, she can get her . . . Read More

Can My Ex-Husband Draw Divorced Spousal Benefits On My Record If He's Remarried?

Category: Divorced Spousal Benefits
Dec 15 2016 - 12:15pm

My ex-husband (b. 12/23/52) and I (b. 2/10/52) were married for 25 years, divorced 12 years ago. He remarried at age 62.

Is he eligible to draw divorced spousal benefits on my record since he was older than 60 at remarriage?

I plan to draw on his record when I reach FRA, and delay taking my own SS till age 70. Only fair for him to do same if he qualifies.

Thanks,
Lissa

Hi Lissa,

No, your husband can't qualify for divorced spousal benefits on your record as long as he is remarried to someone else.

The exception . . . Read More

If I Remarry, When Will I Become Eligible For Spousal Benefits?

Category: Spousal Benefits
Dec 15 2016 - 11:45am

I am currently receiving divorced spouse benefits on my ex husband's account. I do not qualify for benefits on my own SSA record. I am planning to remarry. When I do, is there a one year waiting period before I can receive benefits on my new husband's account? (He is FRA and receiving benefits) . For the one year period do I also have to pay my own Medicare premiums?

Hi,

My answer assumes that your prospective husband is receiving retirement benefits on his own record, as opposed to another type of benefit (e.g. widower). In that case, if you remarry . . . Read More

Can My Husband Take Retroactive Benefits Now And Still Be Allowed To Suspend His Benefits Later?

Category: Suspending Retirement Benefits
Dec 15 2016 - 11:30am

My husband turned 66 May 5 and didn't file for Social Security, thinking he would try to maximize his total monthly benefit by waiting. However we have had a financial crisis and he now needs to apply. If he takes the 6 months retroactive benefits (which would help us through this emergency), but then got the job he has been hoping to get hired for sometime in 2017, could he suspend his monthly benefits and start re accruing the 8% per year again? Some articles I read indicate that taking retroactive payments permanently reduces the amount of benefits, other information . . . Read More

Does The New Law Change Anything For Me?

Category: Railroad Retirement & Social Security
Dec 15 2016 - 11:15am

Does Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 apply to me? I turned 62 in February 2016, retired in March of 2016. I collect divorced spousal benefits from RR Retirement Board since April 2016, and plan to collect my SS when I turn 66 and stop collecting the RR Retirement benefit. Can I continue?

Hi,

No, the 2015 changes don't affect your plan, but assuming that you will eventually be drawing higher Social Security benefits on your own record, you might want to consider waiting until age 70 to apply. Your Social Security retirement benefit rate would be 32% . . . Read More

Can My Wife File On Her Own Record At Age 62, Then Get Spousal Benefits When I Apply?

Category: Filing Strategies
Dec 14 2016 - 6:15pm

Can my wife start collecting SS at 62 based upon her own benefit and then later take the higher spousal benefit when I apply for SS at FRA - about 3 years later?

Hi,

Potentially, yes, but she'll keep the reduction that she took on her own account for filing early.

For example, say your wife's full retirement age benefit rate (PIA) is $800, and yours is $2000. If she files on her own record at age 62, her benefit amount would be reduced to around $600. Assuming that she was born after January 1 1954, she would then be deemed to apply for an . . . Read More

Does My Assessment Sound Correct?

Category: Filing Strategies
Dec 14 2016 - 4:45pm

My wife is 63 and I am 61. We both work and have SS benefits. She was 63 as of Jan 1st 2016 so we believe that she can still opt to take a spouse benefit at age 66 (her FRA) and delay taking her own benefit letting it grow. I will be 62 at that time and taking early SS benefits before she files. Since she is FRA I believe that she will be entitled to half of my FRA benefits even though I am taking benefits early. Does this assessment sound correct?

Hi,

Yes, all of your statements appear to be factually correct. However, you may want to consider . . . Read More

Can My Grandchild Get Benefits On My Record?

Category: Child Benefits
Dec 14 2016 - 11:15am

I am getting custody of my grandchild, can he receive child dependant benefits on my social security.

Hi,

The only way that a grandchild can qualify for child's benefits on a grandparent's record is if the grandparent adopts them, or if both of the grandchild's natural or adoptive parents are deceased or disabled.

Best, Jerry

Can I Get Divorced Spousal Benefits In Addition to Retirement or Disability Benefits?

Category: Divorced Spousal Benefits
Dec 14 2016 - 11:15am

I am 61 and will turn 62 in February of 2017 at which time I will receive Social Security. I have also applied for disability. Am I also able to get Divorced Spousal Benefits from my 2nd spouse whom I was married to for more than 10 years?

Hi,

Possibly, but your ex-spouse would have to be at least age 62 or eligible for benefits on his or her own record in order for you to qualify. Furthermore, you would only be eligible for divorced spousal benefits on your ex-spouse's account if 50% of his or her full retirement age benefit rate (PIA) is higher . . . Read More

Will My Social Security Benefit Rate Be Reduced If I Took Railroad Retirement At Age 62?

Category: Railroad Retirement & Social Security
Dec 14 2016 - 9:15am

I retired at age 62 with RRB. I am now 67 soon to be 68. I worked for the RR for 13 years which ended in 2000. I worked strictly under SS after that until retirement. I have never applied for SSI. When I called today I asked what my monthly benefit would be. I was told by SSA that it would be about $300.00 more per month than what my tier 1 benefit is from RR. This almost sounds to good to be true! Would there be a possibility they would reduce my SSI because of taking early retirement benefit from RRB? Thanks for any help. I understand they would certify with RRB what . . . Read More

How Are Cost Of Living Increases Applied?

Category: Cost Of Living Increases
Dec 14 2016 - 8:15am

How do you apply the rise in Social Security to your current benefit amount. I would think that you take the benefit amount from this year, multiply it by the COLA (.3%) and that gives you your increase amount. But it doesn't work that way. The amount is always different. Are they rounding something? What has happened is that they round the COLA which is .34793 to .3 which lowers the amount by $.50 ($5.25 vs $4.75) . Then when they calculate the increase it is $.10 or $.65 less then calculate. So my benefit amount is $1.15 less then you might think. Now I know that $1.15 isn't . . . Read More

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

Category: Survivor Benefits
Dec 13 2016 - 5:30pm

i would like to know if i would be getting benefits,from my wifes ssdi she was collecting when she died.i am also diabled and 53 years old.my ssdi was a higher amount than hers.if i am not able to collect on hers,what happens to her ss.

Hi,

First off, I'm very sorry for your loss.

Unfortunately, the answer to your question is no. If you are already receiving benefits on your own record that are higher than your wife's full rate, you wouldn't be eligible for any additional widower's benefits.

Social Security is social insurance. Social . . . Read More

How Is The Family Maximum Distributed?

Category: Survivor Benefits
Dec 13 2016 - 2:45pm

Hi Larry. I have 2 questions one regarding Parisi and one regarding multiple eligibility.
Situation: My mother receives retirement benefits under her own record, and survivor benefits under my father's (adoptive) record. I receive disabled adult child benefits under my father's (adoptive) record. My sister recently became disabled and receives benefits under her own record and under our father's (adoptive) record.

Reason for questions: When my sister began receiving benefits my mother's survivor benefits were reduced (SSA cited family max) and my sister's . . . Read More

What Do You Think We Should Do?

Category: Filing Strategies
Dec 13 2016 - 2:00pm

Husband 63 yesterday. I turned 62 in Nov. Fortunate that both could take early retirement effective 1/1/2012 from our jobs. Hoping husband will claim at 66, but he too is thinking of claiming early. I was tempted to claim in Nov when I turned 62, but held off. I understand best for husband to wait as long as possible for claiming SS (higher SS check for him and widow benefit for me if he passes away). I am not clear why it's important for me (wife and lower earner) to not claim at age 62. I know the longer you wait the more money you receive each month; however, if I claim now . . . Read More

Would My Grandchildren Lose Their Survivor Benefits If We Adopt Them?

Category: Survivor Benefits
Dec 13 2016 - 2:00pm

my grandkids father died . So now they recieve social security. The mom is in jail but getting out soon. the problem is dcfs is ruining the normalness of our lives.
The kids are paying for there parents crimes.
dcfs wont leave them alone so we want to adopt them. then they will leave them alone. But will they lose there social security if we adopt.....My daughter is willing to give them to us so they can be free to live..

Hi,

No, your grandchildren's survivor benefits would not terminate if they are adopted.

Best, Jerry

Is Your Software Updated When Laws Change?

Category: Maximize My Social Security Software
Dec 13 2016 - 1:00pm

Do you update your software when there are changes to Social Security rules?

Hi,

Absolutely. The maximization software on this website is fully updated, including the most recent Social Security amendments that became effective this year.

Best, Jerry

Can I File For Spousal Benefits Prior To Age 66 And Let My Own Benefit Grow Until Age 70?

Category: Filing Strategies
Dec 12 2016 - 3:30pm

My husband is 67 and suspended his SS benefits when he was 66. I am 64.5 and want to know if I file for spousal benefits before 66, will I still be able to collect the maximum amount based on my own earnings when I am 70?

Hi,

No, you can't. If you file for spousal benefits before age 66, you'll also be forced to file for retirement benefits on your own record. You would then only receive essentially the higher of the 2 benefits, and your benefit rate will be permanently reduced.

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

What Does Social Security Look At To Determine My Earnings Level?

Category: Disability Benefits
Dec 12 2016 - 3:00pm

Hi Larry - I am currently receiving SSDI benefits and have a part time job that is right "under the radar" of Substantial Gainful Activity income. I am due for a raise. I also contribute to a retirement fund which I don't plan on touching for another 20 years. My question is this - does Social Security look at my net income cap as the salary allotment or that income minus the amount that I contribute toward my 401K? For example, 2017's salary cap is $14,040 and my salary would be $14,200, but the amount after non-taxable retirement contribution is $13,000. Which do they count? . . . Read More

Can I Still Draw My Spousal Benefits If My Earnings Increase?

Category: Earnings Test
Dec 12 2016 - 2:45pm

I SIGNED UP TO COLLECT MY WIFE BENEIFT'S. I STATED I WOULD MAKE 46,OOO IN SALARY BUT THE FIGURE WILL BE 68,000. I CALLED LOCAL SS OFFICE AND REPORTED THE DIFFERENCE. WILL I STILL BE ABLE TO RECEIVE HER BENEIFTS?/

Hi,

Well, that depends on your age. If you're already at least full retirement age (FRA), which is currently age 66, then your earnings level won't matter. However, if you're under age 66, your Social Security benefits may need to be withheld due to your earnings.

So, if you are under age 66, you'll want to familiarize yourself with . . . Read More

How Are Disabled Adult Child's Benefits Calculated?

Category: Disabled Adult Child Benefits
Dec 11 2016 - 4:00pm

Hi folks, hope you can help me with a couple of questions. My wife and I have a 21 yr old who collects SSI of $733/month due to disability since birth. I am age 62 and my wife is 55. I am trying to decide whether to take my social security retirement benefit at full retirement age (66) or wait until 70 (or some age between 66 and 70). Assuming our disabled child will qualify for DAC/CDB SSDI in the future as he is not likely to ever be gainfully employed, would me delaying my retirement to receive a greater benefit also afford him a greater DAC/CDB amount or is the amount he . . . Read More

How Much Will My Wife Receive?

Category: Spousal Benefits
Dec 11 2016 - 3:30pm

Hi Larry, my full retirement benefit age is 66, but I will wait till 68 to start taking Social Security, so that should be an increase of 16%. When I'm 68 my wife will be at full retirement age of 66. Will she get 1/2 of my SS that I collect at age 68 or that of my FRB age of 66?

Hi,

The most that your wife could receive as a spouse on your record is 50% of your full retirement age benefit amount (PIA), even if you delay taking your benefits in order to earn delayed retirement credits (DRC). However, if you die before her, any delayed retirement . . . Read More

Am I Eligible For Some Type Of Retroactive Payments?

Category: Disability Benefits
Dec 11 2016 - 10:45am

I'm completely lost as to how this process works. I have a decade and change of documentated mental health treatment, inpatient, partial care, and outpatient, dating back to when I was 16. I attempted suicide during my junior year of high school, at age 17, and an IEP was implemented. I spent the majority of April to the beginning of October at various psychiatric institutions voluntarily. I was told I will be eligible to collect $764.25 a month, with only a small amount given for the approximate period of June to November. My main question is that I've been led to believe I . . . Read More

Did I Choose The Correct Filing Plan?

Category: Filing Strategies
Dec 11 2016 - 10:45am

Hi. I am 66 years old. I am a widow. I am still working full time. I went into the Social Security office in March 2016. They recommended I begin drawing my husband's Social Security. I delayed mine until age 70. I plan to continue working. I am a nurse. Does that sound like a plan that you would approve ?

Hi,

Yes, that sounds like a good plan, particularly if your own benefit rate will be higher than your widow's rate when you reach age 70.

Best, Jerry

Can I Get Part Of My Husband's VA Disability?

Category: Disability
Dec 11 2016 - 10:30am

If l'm still married and l get disability for myself and l get my husband pension, can l get part of his veteran's disability, we are not together and l live in another state, but legally we are still married

Hi,

I'm sorry, but my only area of expertise is Social Security. I assume that you'd need to contact the Veteran's Administration to get your question answered.

I can tell you that veteran's benefits do not affect Social Security disability benefits, but would count as income against Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments.

. . . Read More

Why Did My Brother Get More Benefits Than His Twin Sister?

Category: Child Benefits
Dec 10 2016 - 4:30pm

My brother and sister and twins their dad pasted away 5 years ago and the brother got benefits monthly but she didn't and then a lump some of 30,000 was paid to the brother and only 11,000 to my sister.. I'm trying to figure out how that is even right? Is there any way you could help me so I can help them?

Hi,

There's no way for me to know without knowing all of the facts of their case. However, if the brother got more than his twin sister, my assumption is that he was determined to have been entitled to benefits for a longer period of time. That . . . Read More

If My Wife Files For Reduced Benefits On Her Own Record, Will It Affect Her Future Spousal Benefits?

Category: Filing Strategies
Dec 10 2016 - 2:45pm

My wife and i are both 62,i being about 8 months older. After readng your excellent book, Get What's Yours, I am planning to work and hold off applying for benefits at least till 66 or and proably 70.
If my wife, who is not working and was the lower wage earner, applies for retirement benefits at 62, on her own record, will she be deemed to have applied for a spousal benefit as well and then get a reduced spousal benefit? The reduced spousal benefit is more than the reduced benefit on her own record. I want her to receive retirement benefits now as long it does not . . . Read More

Is There Any Way That I Can Get More Than 6 Months Of Back Pay?

Category: Spousal Benefits
Dec 10 2016 - 2:30pm

My husband retired and took early social security at age 62 in Nov of 2006...He was a county prosecutor for Washington County, Utah from 1983-Nov 2006. I closed my small Ballet school business in Jan . 2007 and filled for disability that spring .. I had to hire a disability attorney to get my disability
( diagnosis( cyclothymia/mild bipolar ) ...I was 58 in Dec. of 2006.

When I finally got my disability approved .....I believe it was in the summer of 2007. The miniscule amount that I got (around $650 )I figured was due to the facts that:

(1) I had a very . . . Read More

Can I Draw Benefits On My First Husband's Record?

Category: Divorced Widow(er) Benefits
Dec 10 2016 - 12:15pm

I was married to a man for 11 years who, when he passed away, was collecting SS. Since then I remarried, before the age of 60 and have been married, so far, for 13 years. My current husband is very ill and chances are I will survive him. I would like to collect on my first husbands SS when I become eligible since his amount is much greater than my second husbands. I've read that it is possible but have found no info on what makes it possible or how to go about achieving it.

Hi,

I'm sorry to hear about your husband's health problems.

If your . . . Read More

Can I Suspend My Benefits If I Return To Work?

Category: Earnings Test
Dec 10 2016 - 11:00am

I retired at 63. (02/20/2015) to care for my grandson, as we have custody.

My DOB is 12/18/51. My wife (DOB 05/01/57) and I were living off of my retirement and she works part time. After 6 months, I was able to start looking for employment again. This had been a total nightmare. I had to start drawing on social security from 08/2016, as we went through my retirement and had to draw early to pay bills after declaring bankruptcy. My FRA is 66.
I finally started working again full time on 11/28/16 and want to stop my SS and we cannot afford to pay back what I . . . Read More

Have The New Deeming Rules Passed By Congress In 2015 Been Finalized?

Category: New Law
Dec 10 2016 - 10:45am

Hello again....
Back in August I received a response from Jerry Lutz to my question: "Can I Stay On Child-In-Care Benefits Until Age 70?" (see below).
Jerry's response said that the question could not be answered with certainty until SSA updates their operations manual to incorporate the new law. Has anything been clarified since August?
Thank you.

Category:
New Law
Aug 4 2016 - 6:30pm
Our son is a disabled adult now collecting a Disabled Adult Child (DAC) benefit based on my wife's earnings history. She was born in June 1950 . . . Read More

When Should I Apply For Social Security Benefits?

Category: Filing For Benefits
Dec 10 2016 - 10:30am

My wife retired at 62 to take care of aging mother and help daughters with our grandchildren. I am still working and just turned 65 and filed for Medicare. My goal is to keeping working as long as God gives me good mind and health, so would start taking SS at age 70. So when I turn 66, I need to file and suspend? So when I turn 70, I can go to SS website and say I am ready to start collecting? Is that all I need to do?
Also, If between age of 66 and 70, while I am in file and suspend mode, If I would die, could my wife receive my SS based on say the age 69 value (if that . . . Read More

Is It True That Only 2/3rds Of A Person's Foreign Pension Counts As Income In Calculating SSI Payments?

Category: Supplemental Security Income
Dec 9 2016 - 9:30pm

Dear Larry,

Thank you for this opportunity to consult you on a "life-and-death" crisis in my poor, aging father's case.
It is crucial to him that this question be answered ASAP:
Is it true that one of SSA laws/rules allows an SSI applicant's foreign pension to be calculated at two thirds of its total when his SSI payment amount is being determined?
If there has been such a law/rule, where can this law/rule be viewed? What number is it?
If the policy of calculating only two thirds of his foreign pension is located among the thousands of rules . . . Read More

How Will My Fiancee's Benefits Be Affected If He Returns To Work?

Category: Disability Benefits
Dec 9 2016 - 2:30pm

My fiancee is on ss disability and has been for 4 years. He draws 934.00 month and is 49. He wants to go back to work. Will this increase or decrease his regular ss benefit when he retires. How will it affect his monthly eligibility amount?

Hi,

Well, it's complicated. First off, if your fiancée earns too much, his disability benefits may stop. When a person on disability returns to work, they continue to receive benefits for at least a 9 month trial work period, and for a 3 month grace period after that. Then, if they continue to earn more than . . . Read More

Will My Social Security Rate Increase If I Stop Working?

Category: Retirement Benefits
Dec 9 2016 - 1:15pm

I took early retirement at age 62 because I had total knee replacement then I had Lumbar Spinal Fusion Surgery. I went back to work part-time 2014 then full time since June 2016. I turned 66 November. I received $616 from S.S. I make $11.50 an hour. If I stop working now will my SS increase?

Hi,

Probably not, or at least not by much. Your Social Security retirement benefit rate is based on your best 35 years of inflation adjusted earnings, so you may or may not be due a bit of an increase based on your recent work and earnings.

Once you've . . . Read More

Will I Continue To Get My Own Benefit, Or Can I Collect From My Husband's Record?

Category: Spousal Benefits
Dec 9 2016 - 12:30pm

I am receiving my social security benefits I am 6 years older then my husband I took early benefits I will be 70 in April 2017 my husband will be 64 he is retired and will start his benefit from social security in 2017 do I continue with my benifet or am I allowed to collect from his?

Hi,

You'll continue to receive your own benefit, and any reduction in your benefit rate that you took for starting benefits early will continue. However, if 50% of your husband's full retirement age benefit rate (PIA) is more than your own PIA (i.e the amount you would . . . Read More

Would I Get Spousal Benefits If My Husband Files Now?

Category: Filing Strategies
Dec 9 2016 - 12:15pm

My husband and I are both 68 (born in '48). We have been married to each other for 49 years. I have no Social Security credits as I was always a stay-at-home mom. He is still working part time, but wants to wait until age 70 to file for his SS benefits in order to get a higher amount. I know that he has to file for his own benefits first in order to get spousal benefits for me. But if we were to file now, would we get his benefits (about $2,000) plus a spousal benefit? We are trying to figure out if his benefit plus a spousal benefit now would be better than waiting until he is . . . Read More

Am I Eligible For Free Part A Medicare?

Category: Medicare
Dec 9 2016 - 11:45am

I retired on disability pension from the miami police due to a line of duty injury. My pension is tax free and subject to WEP. I am 65 yrs old and am having difficulty getting Medicare part a because i do not have 40 SSI quarters. Uninsured medicare part A is the only offer so far. Does WEP cover me for a waiver as it would take $$ away if i had 40 quarters.
HELP PLS

Hi,

Sorry, but no. Some government employees pay Medicare taxes even if their earnings are exempt from Social Security taxes, but I don't think that applies in state and local . . . Read More

Am I Considered Full Retirement Age For Social Security Purposes In January Of The Year I Reach Age 66?

Category: Retirement Benefits
Dec 8 2016 - 4:15pm

I was born December 2, 1951. Hence, my "retirement age" for SS retirement benefits is 66. However, if I apply for benefits now to begin January 1, 2017, am I still 66 for SS purposes (even though chronogically I am not 66 for 11 more months)?

Thank you.

Hi,

No, if you start drawing benefits effective with any month prior to the month you reach age 66, you'll receive a reduced benefit. And, if you start drawing retirement benefits 11 months early as proposed in your question, your benefit rate will be permanently reduced by about 6.1% from the . . . Read More

Does My Husband's Age Affect The Amount Of My Divorced Spousal Benefit?

Category: Divorced Spousal Benefits
Dec 8 2016 - 12:45pm

I just sent in one question but realize I have another. My ex-husband is younger than I am. If I wait until I'm 66 to collect, but he is 65, would I get 1/2 of his unreduced benefit or 1/2 of what he would collect at 65?

Thank you.

Hi,

No, if you file for divorced spousal benefits at full retirement age (FRA), which is age 66 for those born in the years 1943-1954, you would be eligible for 50% of your ex-husband's full retirement age benefit amount (PIA), regardless of the fact that he is younger than full retirement age at the time you . . . Read More

Is There Any Way To Find Out How Much I Can Get On My Ex-Husband's Record?

Category: Divorced Spousal Benefits
Dec 8 2016 - 12:15pm

Is there any way I can find out about my ex-husband's benefits if we are not on speaking terms? I am the right age to collect on his benefits until age 70 and then take my own. I am trying to calculate my various options (he will only be 64 in January 2017, and I will turn 65 in May), but from what I understand, the social security administration will not provide me with any details about his benefits unless I apply.

Hi,

My understanding is that Social Security is allowed to tell you how much you would receive if you apply for divorced spousal . . . Read More

Can My Wife And Child Receive Benefits On My Record?

Category: Child Benefits
Dec 8 2016 - 10:45am

disability 62 married with a child can they also be put on my ss at 62

Hi,

I'm assuming that you're saying that are age 62 and receiving disability benefits. If that's the case and you have a child who is under age 18, or 18 to 19 and still in high school, or became disabled prior to age 22, your child may be able to receive benefits on your record. And, if your child is under age 16 or disabled, or if your wife is age 62 or older, she may be eligible to receive spousal benefits on your record.

If your wife and child do meet the eligibility . . . Read More

Can My Mother-In-Law's Social Security Benefits Be Affected If She Buys A Condominium?

Category: Earnings Test
Dec 8 2016 - 10:45am

Hi Larry, my questions is. My mother in law is retired and receives Social Security benefits, can her benefits be affected if she buys a condominium cash about $100.00 dollars. Please let me know. Thanks

Hi,

I'm not sure if there's a typo in your question, or if I'm correctly understanding your question. Anyway, Social Security benefits are not affected by things that a person owns, so if your mother in law buys a condominium, it would not affect her Social Security benefits.

Best, Jerry

What Is Our Best Filing Strategy?

Category: Filing Strategies
Dec 8 2016 - 10:30am

My husband is 2 years younger than me and is the higher earner (I'm 49 and and he's 47). We would both like to retire between 62 and 65, but our full benefit age is 67. What is our best option to maximize the most out of social security?

Hi,

It's very hard to say at this point in time. Many things can change between now and when you become eligible for benefits. In general, though, Larry urges people to plan financially for the possibility of living to a maximum age of 100 or more. With that in mind, the best option for both of you may be to wait . . . Read More

How Do I Go About Suspending My Benefits?

Category: Suspending Retirement Benefits
Dec 8 2016 - 10:15am

I am writing social security to suspend benefits however the only address they list is for public inquiries and am unsure if this is the correct place and for email it said not to include a social security number, so not that and for online, suspending benefits was not one of the choices from their drop down menus want to make sure i do this correctly thank you once again

Hi,

You can find the address of your nearest Social Security office using the following locator:
https://secure.ssa.gov/ICON/main. . . . Read More

Does The Earnings Limit Apply To Spousal Benefits?

Category: Earnings Test
Dec 8 2016 - 10:15am

If I am early retirement (63) and my wife receives spousal benefits, will her benefit be reduced if I go back to work and make over the $15720? limit?

Hi,

Yes, if you earn more than the yearly exempt amount, the $1 withholding for each $2 of excess earnings is applied to any and all benefits payable on your record.

Best, Jerry

Am I Getting The Correct Amount?

Category: Non-Covered Pension - WEP / GPO
Dec 7 2016 - 5:45pm

I am 64 and recently filed for Social Security. I receive 1471 monthly from State Teacher's of Ohio Disability/Retirement until July of 2019 if I am still living. At that time it will drop to 750 $ a month retirement only. I had a couple strokes. I had 25 or 26 years paid in to Soc. Sec. They said I will get 620 # month as I lose about half because of STRS Dis./Ret. and the fact I did not pay into SSec. the last 7 years because I taught part time and then full time .They said that dropped my average from what it showed on their website for my retirement.

Hi . . . Read More

What Is The Best Filing Strategy For My Brother And His Wife?

Category: Disability Benefits
Dec 7 2016 - 4:30pm

I was very grateful to have heard of your book in a Paul Solman Newshour piece and bought it in 2014 (regrettably, I was unaware of the changes made to the filing rules in 2015) in order to help me make the best decision possible for my brother, brain injured at birth and mentally disabled, and his mentally disabled wife. They met at work and both retired early (against their families' advice) and so have a meager pension - a total of $500 monthly between them - and it's been a struggle to help them financially. They were both born in 1954 - she on January 4 and he on October . . . Read More

Can I Get Retroactive Benefits?

Category: Widows Benefits
Dec 7 2016 - 4:15pm

My husband of 40 years passed away 11-12-13. He was 69. I was unaware of widows benefits and did not file until January 2016, shortly after I turned 61. I know I am receiving a higher benefit because I "waited" to file. If I agree to lower benefits and repayment of my overpayment can I retroactively collect benefits for the year I was eligible?
Thank-you
Valerie

Hi Valerie,

I'm sorry for your loss.

The answer to your question is no. Retroactivity is not permitted on applications for reduced widow's benefits, so the month in . . . Read More

Is It True That I Can't Get Benefits On My First Husband's Record?

Category: Divorced Widow(er) Benefits
Dec 7 2016 - 12:30pm

My first marriage lasted for one year. My second marriage lasted for 10 years and my ex husband died this year.
I will be 60 next year and am looking at options for retirement. I have a print out of widow benefits from my second marriage, that the local SS office gave me.
I do not know if my first husband is alive or dead. I was told at the SS office that since I was only married to him for one year, I am not eligible for any benefits from him. Is that true?

Hi,

You must have been married for at least 10 years to qualify for divorced . . . Read More

What Can I Do To Speed Up The Processing Of My Application?

Category: Supplemental Security Income
Dec 7 2016 - 12:00pm

SSI application eligibility: Foreign pension requirement.

Hi Larry,
I'm a 65 years old naturalized citizen in process of applying for SSI benefit. To determine my eligibility, I was asked to present an evidence that I have applied or attempted to for any pension in my native country (which is Nepal). The problem is my native country doesn't have any Government sponsored pension or SS type of system unless you were a government employee. I worked in various private business during my adult life and I came here more than 10 years ago. I informed Social security . . . Read More

How Much Income Can We Have Before Our Social Security & Medicare Benefits Are Reduced?

Category: Taxation Of Benefits
Dec 7 2016 - 11:45am

I am married and file my taxes jointly. We both collect SS as we are in our 70's. what is the max AGI I can have before our SS or Medicare benefits are reduced ? I supplement my income by cashing in IRA funds.
Thanks

Hi,

Your Social Security benefits and Medicare coverage won't be reduced no matter how much income you have. However, if your yearly income is high enough, you may have to pay income taxes on a portion of your Social Security benefits, and your premium rates for Parts B & D of Medicare may be increased.

A couple may be . . . Read More

What Happens If My Husband Dies?

Category: Filing Strategies
Dec 7 2016 - 11:30am

I have been reading your book, but haven't yet found my situation. My husband and I are both retired. He is in his mid 70s and receiving Social Security. I have not filed at all. I will reach FRA in 2018 at which time I am thinking of filing a restricted application for spousal benefits. According to my current SS statement, my benefit at FRA will be slightly higher than my husband's was when he filed several months before his FRA. I am hoping to file on my record at age 70. My question is, what happens if my husband dies after I file for the spousal benefit, but before I turn . . . Read More

Will My Government Employment Have An Effect On My Social Security Benefits?

Category: Non-Covered Pension - WEP / GPO
Dec 7 2016 - 11:15am

I am 64.5; I started working at 16 paying Social Security until I took a job with the US Army, as a civilian explosives technician, in 1980. From 1980 until 1989, 9 years, I worked for the Army and then went on to work for the Department of Public safety/State Police as a civilian bomb technician in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts until 1996, a period of 6 years. I moved on, after I’d had enough, to a normal life once again.
In 2002, I got a divorce, needed cash, and cashed out of both the federal and state pension systems. At that time I paid the taxes, a lot of Taxes . . . Read More

How Much Will I Receive As A Survivor?

Category: Filing Strategies
Dec 6 2016 - 6:15pm

My husband is 62 and 20 years older than I am. He is not working and I highly doubt he will work anymore. My projected SS benefit is significantly higher than his.

1. How much of his benefit, if any at all, will I receive as a survivor - assuming my SS benefit will not change and his will always be lower than mine?
2. Would you advise him to begin withdrawing now (e.g., so we can put that money toward larger life goals like buying a house)? This also could matter if I am not eligible to receive his benefits because my benefit is greater than his. Or...if you . . . Read More

Can I Receive Benefits On My Deceased Ex-Spouse's Record?

Category: Survivor Benefits
Dec 6 2016 - 4:30pm

Hi Larry, et al. --

I was married to my husband 9.5 years, then divorced, and then he died. I have three children (now aged 11, 11, and 7), who are receiving his survivor's benefits. Would I still be able to claim divorced widow benefits, without compromising their benefits (or at all, since we weren't married 10 years)?

Thanks.

Hi,

Assuming that you're unmarried and have at least one of the children in your care, you can file for surviving divorced mother's benefits, but not without potentially compromising the amount that your . . . Read More

If I File On My Own Record At 63, Can I Get Higher Spousal Benefits When My Wife Retires?

Category: Filing Strategies
Dec 6 2016 - 4:15pm

I am 63 (born in 1953) and my wife is 61 (born in 1955). Her earnings are substantially higher than mine. She intends to continue working to full retirement age (66 and 2 mos). If I retire now on my own earnings record will my benefit amount be increased to my higher spousal benefit when she retires?

Hi,

Potentially, yes, but you'll keep the reduction that you took on your own record to start drawing early.

For example, say your full retirement age benefit rate (PIA) is $800, and your wife's is $2000. If you filed on your own record at age 63 . . . Read More

Am I Eligible For A Refund Of The Social Security Taxes That My Deceased Wife Paid?

Category: Widow(er) Benefits
Dec 6 2016 - 10:30am

I started collecting SSD benefits in March 2016, my wife passed away in October 2016. She did not apply for benefits ( 1,300 per month ) whereas my benefits are around 2,500 per month. SS says I am only entitled to a one time death benefit of 255. I understand that you can not collect both benefits, but am I entitled to the money ( cash or tax credit to be carried forward for many years ) withheld from my wife's earnings for SS and Medicare while we were married? I am not looking for the employer's matching share, just what she paid in during the time we were married. It seems . . . Read More

Will My Wife Qualify For Benefits?

Category: Spouse is Not a U.S. Citizen
Dec 6 2016 - 10:15am

My wife is a resident alien whose green card as expired. We have been married since Sept. 29, 1969. We have lived together since then in the United States. I am 70 years old in January and she is 68 years old now. Does she qualify for Social Security even if she has never been employed outside the home since we were married?

Does she qualify for Medicare? We have been covered by a qualified medical insurance through Kaiser supplied by my employer for the last 25 years.

Hi,

Yes, when you start drawing your Social Security benefits, it sounds . . . Read More

Can My Husband Receive Spousal Benefits Even If He's Filed And Suspended On His Own Record?

Category: Filing Strategies
Dec 5 2016 - 10:45am

My husband is at Full Retirement Age of 66 and is currently working and filed and suspended in April 2016 before the deadline. HIs social security benefits statement estimates his social security benefits at $24,000. He plans to retire and stop working in April, 2017. Can he claim restrict to spousal in April 2017 and receive half of my social security benefits and wait till 70 to switch over to receive his social security benefits? My social security benefits statement estimates my social security at $16,000.
I am 63 and currently working but expect to be laid off . . . Read More

What Can I Do?

Category: Filing Options
Dec 5 2016 - 10:30am

My husband (67years old) retired abandoned me (66 years old) in the state of Massachusetts and left me ( he goes to live in France ) with no financial support, a lot of unpaid billsand he refuses mail from me. What can I do?
Cordially.

Hi,

I'm sorry, but Social Security is my only area of expertise, and there's not enough information in your question for me to be able to offer you much help in that regard.

I can tell you that you are old enough to qualify for Social Security benefits. If you've worked and paid into Social Security for . . . Read More

Should My Wife Take Her Benefits Now, Or Wait?

Category: Non-Covered Pension - WEP / GPO
Dec 4 2016 - 11:45am

My wife is 63 and recently retired from OPERS. She took a plop to reduce her monthly benefit to help SSI because of the WEP provision. Currently she is receiving 1950 month and if she starts collecting SSI at 64 it would be $270. It goes up $21+ a month for every year she waits which does not amount to enough to offset waiting. I am 57still working and am self employed and have not paid a substantial amount into SSI. Not sure how her spousal benefit from me would affect her future SSI. The question being should she start collecting now or wait based on her portion of my SSI. . . . Read More

Why Was My Payment Withheld This Month?

Category: Disabil