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$40,000 more in Social Security Payments
Old 10-11-2017, 07:05 PM   #1
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$40,000 more in Social Security Payments

I am a long time reader of the Early Retirement Forum (I actually retired at age 50). I have never posted before but I joined today so I could post a thanks for something I learned on this Forum about social security. I will turn 66 later this month. My husband who is a bit older than me started receiving his social security payment at age 62, his health is not the best so we thought that he should take social security as soon as possible. My health is excellent so I decided to defer my SS payments until age 70 (then I will get about the maximum in SS).

I read on this Forum about applying for half of my husband's SS at age 66 while continuing to defer my own SS payments until age 70. Younger folks can no longer do this but I could since I was born in 1951.

Anyway, I did my application online on SocialSecurity.gov a couple of months ago to receive half of my husband's SS benefit. I got a call from someone at SS a few weeks later asking me if I really wanted to take half of my husband's SS and not my own (I assured them I wanted to continue to defer my own payments). They also had to speak with my husband to confirm all this.

I have recently received my notice from SS confirming I will be receiving half of my husband's payment staring in November. Over the next 4 years I will receive over $40,000 in payments based on my husbands SS record. Then at age 70 I will switch over to my much larger SS payments. Thanks Early Retirement Forum! I don't think I would have known about this strategy if I had not read about it on this Forum.

The only tricky thing is that I received a new Medicare card with my husband's Social Security number on it (I guess I will get another card when I turn age 70 with my number on it or maybe they will have quit using SS numbers on Medicare cards by then.) I have to call my Medicare Supplement and Part D providers and give them my new Medicare number and I will have to give the new number to my doctor, pharmacy, etc. However, it is worth it to make a few calls to get an extra $40,000 from SS.

THANKS!!
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Old 10-11-2017, 07:20 PM   #2
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Nice to hear once again how it really pays to read this forum!
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Old 10-11-2017, 09:13 PM   #3
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That's great!
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Old 10-12-2017, 04:32 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by harllee View Post
I am a long time reader of the Early Retirement Forum (I actually retired at age 50). I have never posted before but I joined today so I could post a thanks for something I learned on this Forum about social security. I will turn 66 later this month. My husband who is a bit older than me started receiving his social security payment at age 62, his health is not the best so we thought that he should take social security as soon as possible. My health is excellent so I decided to defer my SS payments until age 70 (then I will get about the maximum in SS).



I read on this Forum about applying for half of my husband's SS at age 66 while continuing to defer my own SS payments until age 70. Younger folks can no longer do this but I could since I was born in 1951.



Anyway, I did my application online on SocialSecurity.gov a couple of months ago to receive half of my husband's SS benefit. I got a call from someone at SS a few weeks later asking me if I really wanted to take half of my husband's SS and not my own (I assured them I wanted to continue to defer my own payments). They also had to speak with my husband to confirm all this.



I have recently received my notice from SS confirming I will be receiving half of my husband's payment staring in November. Over the next 4 years I will receive over $40,000 in payments based on my husbands SS record. Then at age 70 I will switch over to my much larger SS payments. Thanks Early Retirement Forum! I don't think I would have known about this strategy if I had not read about it on this Forum.



The only tricky thing is that I received a new Medicare card with my husband's Social Security number on it (I guess I will get another card when I turn age 70 with my number on it or maybe they will have quit using SS numbers on Medicare cards by then.) I have to call my Medicare Supplement and Part D providers and give them my new Medicare number and I will have to give the new number to my doctor, pharmacy, etc. However, it is worth it to make a few calls to get an extra $40,000 from SS.



THANKS!!

You have described exactly the approach we used. I am now 13 payments away from claiming on my own record at age 70 and estimate that the 4 years of spousal payments exceed $41,000. My DH also has medical conditions that warranted his claiming at 62.


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Old 10-12-2017, 04:40 AM   #5
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Nice to hear once again how it really pays to read this forum!
I've mentioned a dozen times here how this forum has saved me tens of thousands of dollars, entertained and advised on a whole bunch of things I never knew.

The forum founders will likely never know how many lives they've helped change for the better. Really.

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Old 10-12-2017, 05:20 AM   #6
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I never heard of this. Where can I find out more?
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Old 10-12-2017, 05:26 AM   #7
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Google "SS claiming strategies."
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Old 10-12-2017, 06:22 AM   #8
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I am surprised they used the husband's SS number for Medicare. I am not eligible for SS (Fed) but they still used my number for Medicare. DW has signed up for Medicare under her own number but will not be taking SS until next year. Why the special Medicare treatment associated with spousal benefits? And what Medicare number does he use?
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Old 10-12-2017, 07:11 AM   #9
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I am surprised they used the husband's SS number for Medicare. I am not eligible for SS (Fed) but they still used my number for Medicare. DW has signed up for Medicare under her own number but will not be taking SS until next year. Why the special Medicare treatment associated with spousal benefits? And what Medicare number does he use?
My number while I am claiming under my husbands record is his number with an S tacked on to the end. The number will revert back when I claim under my own record.
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Old 10-12-2017, 07:34 AM   #10
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My number while I am claiming under my husbands record is his number with an S tacked on to the end. The number will revert back when I claim under my own record.
My wife started Medicare A & B when she turned 65 last August and they tracked her account under her SSN. Her Medicare Card was under her SS number. I'm not eligible for Medicare yet, but this July, I applied for WEP-reduced Social Security retirement benefits. Wife at FRA in August this year filed a restrictive application and applied for spousal retirement benefits online. A caseworker from Social Security also called her up to confirm her application and mentioned the option of applying for her own benefits. The caseworker also mentioned how her spousal benefit would be applied to her Part B Medicare payments, and that Medicare would bill us at the end of the year for remaining Part B payments after the deduction from spousal retirement payments. Medicare issued her a new Medicare Card under my SS number. I suppose when wife obtains Social Security retirement benefits at 70 they will issue her a new Medicare Card under her own SS number.
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Old 10-12-2017, 07:36 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by donheff View Post
I am surprised they used the husband's SS number for Medicare. I am not eligible for SS (Fed) but they still used my number for Medicare. DW has signed up for Medicare under her own number but will not be taking SS until next year. Why the special Medicare treatment associated with spousal benefits? And what Medicare number does he use?
I just got my Medicare card; I'm collecting Survivor benefits and planning to collect on my own record at 70. My card has my late husband's SS number on it, which is fine with me given all the concerns about personal information being hacked. I reported his death to all 3 credit bureaus months ago.

To get back to the OT- it was kind of funny to watch this progress. Laurence Kotlikoff, an Economics professor, was the first to widely publicize the "File and Suspend" and "File for Restricted Benefits" strategies. Suddenly every news site and financial advice site latched onto it. The laws were very quickly changed so that it was no longer an option except for people who had already elected it, or those very close to full retirement age. I still read financial articles on-line with links to "This Overlooked Social Security Strategy Can Give you $XX,000 More in Benefits".

I'm glad the OP was able to take advantage of it.
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Old 10-12-2017, 07:37 AM   #12
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My number while I am claiming under my husbands record is his number with an S tacked on to the end. The number will revert back when I claim under my own record.
I guess it makes sense if payment will come out of your SS payments which are under the other number.
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Old 10-12-2017, 07:48 AM   #13
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We were born just too late to take advantage, but it was originally in the plan. But since DW is much older than I with some health issues and claimed at 62, her SS was much smaller. If F&S was still an option it would have at most been about $20k over 3.3 years for me, though I doubt I would wait until 70 even then. 68 perhaps.
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Old 10-12-2017, 07:51 AM   #14
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question guys, what's the reasoning behind only taking 1/2 of your spouses benefits?

my pea brain thinks ok, take one persons benefits and let the other grow
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Old 10-12-2017, 09:53 AM   #15
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question guys, what's the reasoning behind only taking 1/2 of your spouses benefits?

my pea brain thinks ok, take one persons benefits and let the other grow
The language is a bit casual.

What they're talking about is taking a "spousal benefit". A spouse gets to take 1/2 of their spouse's benefit *or* their own benefit, whichever is higher.(*)

If you're old enough to be grandfathered in - I'm 48 and I'm to young to be grandfathered in to this particular rule - you can take your spousal benefit and allow your own benefit to grow, as you note.

I'm sure people would take more if the law allowed it, but that's what the law says.

(*) Yeah, I know this isn't technically true, but it's essentially true.
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Old 10-12-2017, 10:09 AM   #16
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It is easier to say take “half of spouses” than to say “file and suspend if you are eligble for spousal benefit, so you can file on your own history with delayed credits at a later date”.
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Old 10-12-2017, 11:25 AM   #17
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OP here. The rule that allowed me to claim half of my husband's SS benefit has been changed. Only people who reached age 62 prior to 12/31/15 are grandfathered and can still take advantage of this rule. I guess the powers that be decided that the old rule was too good to be true (in my case over $40,000 additional SS payments).

Regarding the Medicare number change, I started medicare at 65 and my medicare card had my own SS number with a "T" at the end (T meant I was not taking SS yet). When I filed to receive SS based on my husband's record I got a new Medicare card with my husband's SS number on it followed by the letter "B" which means I am receiving spousal social security based on my husband's record. My husband's card has his SS number on it followed by an "A" which means he is drawing his own SS. Confusing. But I understand that in the next year or so we will all be getting new Medicare cards with numbers that are not related to SS numbers. This will provide better security and maybe do away with all this confusion about what SS number is suppose to be printed on the Medicare card.
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Old 10-12-2017, 12:36 PM   #18
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I'm wondering if my DW can use this.

She was born in '52 (so is grandfathered in) and I was born in '61.

She's deferring SS until 70.

Can she tap into this next year when she's 66 even though I'm not (can't be) taking SS yet.
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Old 10-12-2017, 12:47 PM   #19
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OP here. The rule that allowed me to claim half of my husband's SS benefit has been changed. Only people who reached age 62 prior to 12/31/15 are grandfathered and can still take advantage of this rule. I guess the powers that be decided that the old rule was too good to be true (in my case over $40,000 additional SS payments).

.
My understanding is that the 'rule' was completely unintentional. Some cleaver people looked at the SS laws after they were reformed a while back and noticed "Hey, this feature can be used to help me collect 1/2 of my spouse's SS while I let mine increase. Great!". However, that was one of those unintended consequences of a change to the SS rules. It was not intentional.

What does fascinate me is how quickly and easily Congress managed to close that loophole when it became widely known and started to spread. Compare that with how difficult it is to close loop holes that benefit other organizations and interests. So much for the omnipotent Senior Citizen Lobby.
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Old 10-12-2017, 01:34 PM   #20
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I'm wondering if my DW can use this.

She was born in '52 (so is grandfathered in) and I was born in '61.

She's deferring SS until 70.

Can she tap into this next year when she's 66 even though I'm not (can't be) taking SS yet.
Someone more knowledgeable than me will probably respond but I think you would also have to be at least 62 and taking your own SS for her to receive half of your benefits. In my case my husband has been receiving his SS for several years so I was able to claim half of his benefit.
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