Are The Payments We're Receiving Correct?

Category: 
Aug 1 2016 - 12:15pm

Larry,
After reading your book, GET WHAT'S YOURS, I filed for SS and suspended. My wife filed on my SS and began receiving half my benefits.

She turned 70 last December and began receiving her own full benefits. However, the File and Suspend payments continued to arrive. I turned 70 the end of March and began to receive full SS payments. Upon opening my bank statement today, I found that the File and Suspend payments continue to be automatically deposited despite the fact that we are now both receiving full SS payments.

Fearing the SS would realize their mistake and recoup the sum of payments, I called them today. After waiting on hold for over an hour, the representative checked our records and assured me that SS was correctly still paying the File and Suspend payments in addition to our regular SS payments. This seemed implausible, so I made sure that she understood that we were receiving all three payments. She again assured me that this was correct.

Knowing that IRS and SS representatives seem to often give the wrong answers, I am still skeptical and concerned that SS will suddenly reach into our bank account and recoup these payments. Is this situation correct? Does SS continue to pay the File and suspend payments after the account is no longer suspended?

Any clarification on this matter would be greatly appreciated.

Sincerely,

Bob

Hi Bob,

I'm not sure what you are referring to as 'file and suspend payments'. When you file and suspend, you don't receive payments. So, you should not have received any payments yourself prior to age 70. However, since you apparently suspended your benefits prior to the April 29 2016 deadline, your wife could receive spousal benefits on you account while yours were suspended. If her spousal benefits are what you're referring to as 'file and suspend payments', they should have stopped or been reduced when she began receiving her own benefits at age 70.

If the amount that your wife is due on her own account is less than what she was receiving on your account prior to age 70, she should continue to receive the same total benefit as before. If the amount payable on her own account is more than she was getting as a spouse on your record, her spousal benefits should have stopped when her own benefits started. If she is getting both benefits in full, that is wrong and SSA will ask your wife to return any overpayment as soon as they discover the error.

Best, Jerry