Do You Have Any Suggestions?

Category: 
Jun 25 2017 - 7:30am

I have a mess. My husband died in 2012; he was drawing social security. I took the reduced widows rate @ 59 yrs old because I had not worked in years and needed to survive. Then I was asked last year to consult with an organization. I wasn't concerned because I knew that I would not reach the $15,900 threshold to affect my ss benefit --- Now, I have been offered a full-time position with another organization that will push me into the $60,000+ income range. I still will have a little consulting income in the mix. Additionally, I have a county pension that is about $350 a month, which I have never claimed. I am almost paralyzed with indecision and I need to be making some choices pretty quick. Please offer suggestions, if you have the opportunity.

Hi,

I'm sorry for your loss.

I would need more information to be able to advise you. Your best bet may be to sign up for the maximization software available on this website. The software can tell you how your earnings and county pension would affect your benefits, as well as whether or not you should file for retirement benefits on your own record now or in the future.

I can tell you that if you earn $60,000 or more in any year prior to the year that you reach full retirement age (FRA), you would almost certainly not be due any of your widow's benefits for that year due to the Social Security earnings test (https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/whileworking2.html). And, if you start receiving a county pension based on work that was exempt from Social Security taxes, your widow's benefits would likely be offset by 2/3rds of the amount of your pension due to the Government Pension Offset (GPO) provision (https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10007.pdf).

Still, it would almost certainly be better for you financially to earn as much as you can. And, you will likely want to start drawing your county pension whenever it reaches it's highest potential rate. I don't have enough details to tell you for sure, though, which is why you should strongly consider running the software.

Best, Jerry