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?
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 and started her Social Security retirement benefit early just after she turned 62.
I was born in April 1954 and I am collecting a child-in-care spousal benefit based on my wife's benefit which I began collecting when she filed for her retirement benefit, even though I was under age 62.
My PIA will be about twice as high as my wife's benefit and our plan before the law changes was for me to defer my retirement benefit until age 70 since I would be able to continue getting my child-in care spousal benefit until then without triggering deeming.
Does this strategy still work after the recent law changes or will I be deemed to have selected my retirement benefit when I reached age 62 in April 2016 or at FRA at age 66?
I have not heard anything from the SSA nor have I read anything that leads me to believe that the deeming rules changed in our situation. Am I correct?
Since my wife started her benefit just after 62, I figure that my deferring to age 70 makes sense if I can continue collecting my child-in-care spousal benefit until then. Does this make sense?
That's a good question, and one that I can't answer with certainty until SSA updates their operations manual to incorporate the new law. However, based on the 'NOTE' at the end of section B of the emergency instructions issued to SSA employees in February of this year (https://secure.ssa.gov/apps10/reference.nsf/links/02052016024404PM), I believe that you will be deemed to have filed for retirement benefits on your own account when you reach full retirement age (FRA) at 66.
Under the old rules, conversion from child in care to regular spousal benefits at FRA would not have triggered deeming, but since you turned age 62 after January 1 2016, I believe you will fall under the new rules on deeming. This seems particularly unfair for a person such as yourself, who filed prior to passage of the new law, so perhaps SSA will add some type of exception when the new law is finally incorporated into their operating instructions.
Your original strategy of waiting until age 70 made perfect sense, and perhaps it will still be permitted when everything is sorted out. If not, and if you are deemed to have applied for your own benefits when you reach age 66, your son should file for disabled adult child's benefits on your record at that time.
No, as of today, Social Security's operations manual has not been updated to reflect the new deeming rules passed by Congress last year. This is the section that deals with deeming: https://secure.ssa.gov/apps10/poms.nsf/lnx/0200204020.
As of now, all that has been published by SSA in regard to the new deeming rules is this emergency message issued last February: https://secure.ssa.gov/apps10/reference.nsf/links/02052016024404PM.