Does Your Software Allow You To Do What-If Scenarios With Regard To Dates Of Work Stoppage?

Aug 15 2019 - 9:37am

I HAVE A QUESTION REGARDING YOUR MAXIMIZE YOUR SOCIAL SECURITY SOFTWARE, DO THE WHAT IF SCENARIOS ALLOW FOR DIFFERENT DATES OF WORK STOPPAGE VERSUS COLLECTING SOCIAL SECURITY. EXAMPLE , MY WIFE IS 60 (AND DIDNT WORK FOR 12 YEAR, AGES 35-47) , IS HER AGE 67 BENEFIT REDUCED IF SHE COLLECTS AT AGE 67 BUT DOESN'T WORK AFTER AGE 62 ? IS MY BENEFIT AT AGE 70 THE SAME, WHETHER I WORK TO AGE 66 AND TWO MONTHS OR WHETHER I WORK TO AGE 70. ( I AM 64) HOW DOES ONE KNOW HOW MUCH BENEFIT IS GAINED BY WORKING ADDITIONAL ( OR LOST IF YOU DON'T WORK) YEARS IF YOU PLAN TO COLLECT AFTER YOU STOP WORKING ? KNOWING HOW MUCH BENEFIT IS GAINED OR LOST BY WORKING ADDITIONAL YEARS ( EVEN IF YOU HAVEN'T STARTED COLLECTING YET) MIGHT DETERMINE WHETHER YOU WANT TO KEEP WORKING ( EVEN THOUGH YOU ARE NOT GOING TO COLLECT UNTIL A FUTURE DATE ) THANKS , JOE

Hi Joe,

Yes, our software (https://maximizemysocialsecurity.com/purchase) allows you to enter projected future years of earnings so that you can gauge the effect of those earnings on your benefit rate.

With regard to your questions about benefit rates, Social Security calculates your primary insurance amount (PIA), which is the amount you would receive if you start drawing your Social Security retirement benefit at full retirement age (FRA), using an average of your highest 35 years of wage-indexed Social Security covered earnings (https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10070.pdf). If you have fewer than 35 years of earnings, zero earnings years are included in the average.

Your wife's benefit rate if she starts drawing at FRA and doesn't work after age 62 would be equal to her PIA as calculated above. But, if she had instead worked in the years from 62 to FRA and if her earnings were high enough to be among her 35 highest wage-indexed earnings years, then her PIA would have been higher when she reached FRA and started drawing her benefits.

The same principle applies to you. If you stop work at age 66 your PIA will be calculated based on your highest 35 years of earnings up to that time. If you instead keep working and earn more than you did in one or more of your previous highest 35 years of wage-indexed earnings, then your PIA would continue to increase. Whether or not you work after age 66, though, if you wait until age 70 to start drawing your benefits your benefit rate would be 24% to 32% higher than your PIA depending on your year of birth and resulting FRA.

Best, Jerry