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Need advice for survivor SS benefits
Old 09-22-2009, 10:31 AM   #1
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Need advice for survivor SS benefits

I mentioned this in another thread...

I've been putting this one off for a while...I finally called the local SS office to investigate LH's SS benefits and get a written determination. I had attempted doing this years ago, but my brain was fogged up and got nowhere with a very unhelpful staffer. I found out (again) that he didn't have enough quarters, but the very nice and helpful lady I talked to today said she would personally do a review of w*rk records for completeness and get back to me. She will send me the hardcopy I was never given when I initially requested it, pending her boss' approval. Whew!

I will provide more details in my next post.
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Old 09-22-2009, 10:42 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nords View Post
What a bureaucratic mess.

I don't mean to make this any more painful than it already is, but I'll bring it up because it's not publicized-- let alone easily understood. I don't know if there's any link between quarters and dollars in the Social Security "military wage credit" system, but it might be worth asking if it's applicable:

But this benefit might not apply until after the minimum number of quarters.
I pasted Nords' reply. Details of LH's work record...

prior to 1972 - a few part time HS jobs (I have no records)
1972-76 - 4 yrs active duty Navy, some of service is under Vietnam Era, non-combat, no service related disability
1976-80 - part time jobs while attending college under GI Bill (I have no records)
1980 onward - CSRS govt employee.

There seems to be some SS withdrawn from his wage statements in the first year of govt civil service, then none at all. I have the year end wage statements in hand.

Given LH's w*rk history, any advice on overlooked SS benefits would be appreciated.

I know I am ineligible for SS under his record, assuming he had enough quarters (big question), until I'm 60 and as long as I did not remarry.
However, I have an accepted federal W*rkers' Comp (OWCP) case from my own employment, and the final accepted determination was a permanent partial disability of 10% per hand.
If SS determines my partial disability is suffficient, my age of eligibility as a widow with a disability drops to 50. I am 51 and not remarried.
I understand my survivor pension and TSP annuity may put me above their income thresholds.
I may be chasing windmills here, but it is worth the journey to finally get a determination from SS and make sure their records are correct. My objective is to get a determination from them, in writing.
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Old 09-22-2009, 11:38 AM   #3
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Sounds like a lot of red tape and missing/hidden records to sift through--I don't envy you the task.

Is there a state veterans' agency you can contact? They might be of some help. Having served in the early 70s, DH was put in touch with our state's agency and they were very helpful with a couple of things.
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Old 09-22-2009, 12:05 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by freebird5825 View Post
prior to 1972 - a few part time HS jobs (I have no records)
1972-76 - 4 yrs active duty Navy, some of service is under Vietnam Era, non-combat, no service related disability
1976-80 - part time jobs while attending college under GI Bill (I have no records)
1980 onward - CSRS govt employee.
Given LH's w*rk history, any advice on overlooked SS benefits would be appreciated.
I may be chasing windmills here, but it is worth the journey to finally get a determination from SS and make sure their records are correct. My objective is to get a determination from them, in writing.
I haven't looked at this for a few years, but if he received W-2s or filed tax returns for any of those part-time jobs then the IRS may have copies of the paperwork on file. It's hypothetically possible that the SSA could obtain the IRS' records to complete their research. Last time I checked, the IRS was charging us ordinary taxpayers a huge fee for copies of paper tax returns.

But I guess the IRS records would only make a difference if you were already able to find 30 or 35 quarters of credits from other documents.
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Old 09-22-2009, 01:17 PM   #5
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Once I get something in writing from SS, i.e. their records, then I can proceed and check against what records I have in hand. I agree, if there is too large a deficit in quarters, then it will be pointless to pay for IRS tax records.
I've been avoiding this task for many reasons, but once I get going...I fully expect the outcome to be negative (not enough quarters), but it needs to be resolved officially. I'd rather do this now than when I'm 60.
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Old 09-22-2009, 01:19 PM   #6
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Sounds like a lot of red tape and missing/hidden records to sift through--I don't envy you the task.

Is there a state veterans' agency you can contact? They might be of some help. Having served in the early 70s, DH was put in touch with our state's agency and they were very helpful with a couple of things.
Good suggestion. I have very good county veterans' group contacts, and will try them first.
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Old 09-22-2009, 03:52 PM   #7
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If you marry before age 60 you will not be eligible anyway unless the marriage ends in divorce .
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Old 09-22-2009, 05:12 PM   #8
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If you marry before age 60 you will not be eligible anyway unless the marriage ends in divorce .
Sheesh...
Let's see now, if I marry before 55, I lose CSRS survivor benefits.
If I marry before 60, I lose any potential SS benefits.

Is this system rigged or what? I just saw a dinosaur egg roll by.

TY for reminding me of the age 60 and remarriage rule.
The good news is I have my own SS benefits, as does dh2b.
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Old 09-22-2009, 09:10 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by freebird5825 View Post
Sheesh...
Let's see now, if I marry before 55, I lose CSRS survivor benefits.
If I marry before 60, I lose any potential SS benefits.
Is this system rigged or what? I just saw a dinosaur egg roll by.
It's called the "cougar conundrum"... or is that the "wages of sin"?
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Old 09-23-2009, 06:25 AM   #10
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It's called the "cougar conundrum"... or is that the "wages of sin"?

I should know better than to expect any logic when dealing with the bureaucracy, after personally dealing with it for 18+ years.
It just irks me that these rules are put in place as landmines for the unwary to disqualify earned benefits. An image of a carefully chosen group sitting down at a huge conference table and purposely drafting these overlapping bases for denial keeps popping into my head ...[End of rant]
But I'll get over it...
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Old 09-23-2009, 09:37 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by freebird5825 View Post
Sheesh...
Let's see now, if I marry before 55, I lose CSRS survivor benefits.
If I marry before 60, I lose any potential SS benefits.

Is this system rigged or what? I just saw a dinosaur egg roll by.

TY for reminding me of the age 60 and remarriage rule.
The good news is I have my own SS benefits, as does dh2b.


I'd rather lose the SS Survivor benefit than the CSRS benefit . Since that one comes with health benefits .
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Old 09-23-2009, 12:13 PM   #12
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It just irks me that these rules are put in place as landmines for the unwary to disqualify earned benefits. An image of a carefully chosen group sitting down at a huge conference table and purposely drafting these overlapping bases for denial keeps popping into my head ...
I hope there is no chance that a govt run health care system could fall into the same mode.....
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Old 09-23-2009, 02:33 PM   #13
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I'd rather lose the SS Survivor benefit than the CSRS benefit . Since that one comes with health benefits .
Point and match.
This is indeed a no-brainer. I am very lucky in that I have my own benefits from my own career at a decent salary in a professional field. Otherwise...
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