Have I Made Any Mistakes?

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 widow benefit involved. Just collecting the 1/2 of his instead of mine until now. Also, when I applied for mine on line, they asked me when I wanted to start collecting and they listed about a year and 1/2 before the date I applied 3/3/17. I checked off February 2017 as that is the month I turned 70. Am I losing anything by saying February, the month I turned 70 or should I have started March 1st???? This is more confusing than I thought it would be. Have I made any mistakes in trying to maximize my benefit?

Hi,

Well, hopefully you didn't actually suspend your own retirement benefits back when you applied for divorced spousal benefits. If you had, it would have reduced your divorced spousal benefit by whatever the rate of your own benefit was at that time.

What you should have done instead, and hopefully did in fact do, was file a restricted application for divorced spousal benefits only. This must be what you actually did, because if you had filed and suspended your own benefits back then, you would not need to be filing again now. And, you would not have been drawing a full half of your ex-husband's full retirement age rate.

I'm surprised that you were able to file for your own benefits online, since I didn't think that was an option for people currently drawing benefits. Maybe Social Security has added this option recently. In any case, it sounds like you selected the correct month (i.e. February 2017) to start your own benefits. Social Security counts you as being age 70 for the entire month in which you attain that age.

Best, Jerry