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confused on ss spousal
Old 02-24-2015, 01:57 PM   #1
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confused on ss spousal

If you only receive spousal benefits. I know you get half of spouses benefit. My confusion is about if spouse takes his ss at 70, do I get half of that amount (say it is 2800) or is it only half of what he would of received at age 66 FRA(say it is 2000). Is my spousal benefit when I turn 66 1000 or if I wait until age 70 to collect the spousal benefit would I then get 1400

I know about the the apply and suspend. So if my max is only half of the FRA he would apply and suspend when he is 66 then I would claim at my FRA of 66. I have been reading up on it and am still confused. My conclusion is that I can only get the FRA benefit of 1000.

Thanks in advance for anyone that knows

Sherry
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Old 02-24-2015, 03:07 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by sherrywilliam View Post
If you only receive spousal benefits. I know you get half of spouses benefit. My confusion is about if spouse takes his ss at 70, do I get half of that amount (say it is 2800) or is it only half of what he would of received at age 66 FRA(say it is 2000). Is my spousal benefit when I turn 66 1000 or if I wait until age 70 to collect the spousal benefit would I then get 1400

I know about the the apply and suspend. So if my max is only half of the FRA he would apply and suspend when he is 66 then I would claim at my FRA of 66. I have been reading up on it and am still confused. My conclusion is that I can only get the FRA benefit of 1000.

Thanks in advance for anyone that knows

Sherry
My understanding is that at 66 you get 50% of the benefit the spouse would collect at the FRA and that your benefit amount would not rise to the ago 70 amount.I have just started researching this myself. In our case, I plan to take a spousal check the minute I reach 62, since my spouse is FRA(but not collecting SS yet). So my check will be reduced from 1/2 of the FRA amount since I am collecting before my FRA. The minute one of us is gone the second check will stop and I can't get the double bang of increasing age..coupled with the additional rising of the benefit amount. I have no problem with the payout rules as I think the spousal benefit is a very generous option.

The thing I don't know, because I haven't researched it, is if the spousal benny goes up for age after the FRA because I don't care as it doesn't matter in our situation. I have enough trouble keeping the facts right in my our situation

I don't know how long it would take to make up 8 years of no spousal check with the increased payout you might get at 70...I bet the break even would be pretty long because both spouses would need to be alive to catch up.

As always, do your own fact checking, since this is just my opinion....
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Old 02-24-2015, 03:14 PM   #3
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If you wait until your FRA and your spouse has filed (or filed and suspended) for SS at his FRA or later, you can get a spousal benefit of 1/2 of his FRA amount, not 1/2 of his age 70 amount. But then your benefit can continue to grow until you are age 70. You can then switch from spousal to your own benefit when you are age 70. It doesn't matter which is higher as long as you wait until you are FRA to file for spousal. At that time you have a choice.
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Old 02-24-2015, 03:21 PM   #4
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If you wait until your FRA and your spouse has filed (or filed and suspended) for SS at his FRA or later, you can get a spousal benefit of 1/2 of his FRA amount, not 1/2 of his age 70 amount. But then your benefit can continue to grow until you are age 70. You can then switch from spousal to your own benefit when you are age 70. It doesn't matter which is higher as long as you wait until you are FRA to file for spousal. At that time you have a choice.
Yes, I should have made clear that I have a spousal benefit only and did not pay in for a benefit for myself. I guess I was a low cost family cow milker!
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Old 02-24-2015, 05:28 PM   #5
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As I understand it (I could be wrong)... The spousal benefit is based on half of your spouse's FRA benefit and then adjusted based on what age you are when you start taking it. So in the situation you outlined if you start receiving the spousal benefit at FRA you would get 1/2 of what his benefit would be at FRA ($1000 in your example). But if you delay receiving your benefit until age 70, your spousal benefit would be adjusted up ($1400 in your example). Likewise if you start collecting early, you benefit would be reduced.

It doesn't matter when spouse starts collecting (as long as they have filed), your spousal benefit is adjusted based on when you start collecting.
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Old 02-24-2015, 05:39 PM   #6
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Yes, I should have made clear that I have a spousal benefit only and did not pay in for a benefit for myself. I guess I was a low cost family cow milker!
I only get spousal as well. I have been researching and haven't really got a clear answer. Most put scenarios of collecting spousal and putting off collecting your own ss on your work record.

Mostly confused if I wait until I am 70 would I get more from spousal than just waiting until 66. My husband is almost 2 years older so he will wait until 70 to collect more than likely. But maybe I should start the spousal at 66 if I don't get more by waiting until I am 70. I have a few years to figure this out
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Old 02-24-2015, 08:03 PM   #7
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Here is a good article: Social Security Spousal Benefit at or After FRA | FiGuide

It appears the spousal benefit is reduced if you start before FRA, but not increased if you wait until after FRA.

The spousal benefit appears to be limited to 50% of spouses FRA benefit
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Old 02-25-2015, 12:08 AM   #8
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This is a complex thing, and easy to make a mistake which will cost thousands of dollars over retirement.

My plan, even though I think I know the answer is to pay one of those companies that runs computer programs to figure out the best solution, then I will compare it to my plan and run the "winner" past the SS folks to see that it is allowed.

I think everyone should do this as the cost of about $40 is a good hedge you have the correct answer.

I was reading an article on this and it has links to 2 companies that do this (but ask folks here, if anyone has used each, in this day and age fake scam sites exist)
Should you tap your Social Security benefits early and invest the money? - Feb. 24, 2015

I don't know if these sites are good, but a seach didn't really turn up anything better.
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Old 02-25-2015, 09:20 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by sherrywilliam View Post
If you only receive spousal benefits. I know you get half of spouses benefit. My confusion is about if spouse takes his ss at 70, do I get half of that amount (say it is 2800) or is it only half of what he would of received at age 66 FRA(say it is 2000). Is my spousal benefit when I turn 66 1000 or if I wait until age 70 to collect the spousal benefit would I then get 1400

I know about the the apply and suspend. So if my max is only half of the FRA he would apply and suspend when he is 66 then I would claim at my FRA of 66. I have been reading up on it and am still confused. My conclusion is that I can only get the FRA benefit of 1000.

Thanks in advance for anyone that knows

Sherry
My wife and I are in the same position. She just started benefits.

- If you start benefits at your FRA, you get half of your spouse's PIA ($2,000 in your example).
- There is no advantage in you deferring past your FRA. There are no "deferred retirements credits" for spousal benefits.
- Your spousal benefit does not depend on when your spouse starts. It only depends on when you start.
- Your survivor's benefit does depend on when your spouse starts. If your spouse dies before you, you "step into his shoes" and could get the $2,800 if your spouse defers to 70.

(note that the actual increase for deferring from 66 to 70 is 32%, so the numbers in your example would be $2,000 and $2,640)
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Old 02-25-2015, 09:32 AM   #10
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My wife and I are in the same position. She just started benefits.

- If you start benefits at your FRA, you get half of your spouse's PIA ($2,000 in your example).
- There is no advantage in you deferring past your FRA. There are no "deferred retirements credits" for spousal benefits.
- Your spousal benefit does not depend on when your spouse starts. It only depends on when you start.
- Your survivor's benefit does depend on when your spouse starts. If your spouse dies before you, you "step into his shoes" and could get the $2,800 if your spouse defers to 70.

(note that the actual increase for deferring from 66 to 70 is 32%, so the numbers in your example would be $2,000 and $2,640)
Independent - I thought in order to claim spousal benefits, the spouse would have to file first - not necessarily be taking, but at least file and suspend, is that not correct?
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Old 02-25-2015, 09:48 AM   #11
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Independent - I thought in order to claim spousal benefits, the spouse would have to file first - not necessarily be taking, but at least file and suspend, is that not correct?
Yes, I wasn't trying to address that issue, just the dollar amounts. (My experience is for a case where the worker is older than the spouse who is applying for spousal benefits.)

When we did this, I was worried that the SS worker we talked to was going to miss the "suspend" part. The paperwork I saw wasn't as clear as I would have liked. But, my benefits didn't start, and I got a letter in the mail that was a little more direct.
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Old 02-25-2015, 10:06 AM   #12
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Here is a good article: Social Security Spousal Benefit at or After FRA | FiGuide

It appears the spousal benefit is reduced if you start before FRA, but not increased if you wait until after FRA.

The spousal benefit appears to be limited to 50% of spouses FRA benefit
That was my understanding.... in our case 50% of my PIA exceeds DW's PIA so at my FRA I will file & suspend and she will apply for spousal benefit. No sense to waiting.
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Old 02-25-2015, 01:16 PM   #13
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My wife and I are in the same position. She just started benefits.

- If you start benefits at your FRA, you get half of your spouse's PIA ($2,000 in your example).
- There is no advantage in you deferring past your FRA. There are no "deferred retirements credits" for spousal benefits.
- Your spousal benefit does not depend on when your spouse starts. It only depends on when you start.
- Your survivor's benefit does depend on when your spouse starts. If your spouse dies before you, you "step into his shoes" and could get the $2,800 if your spouse defers to 70.

(note that the actual increase for deferring from 66 to 70 is 32%, so the numbers in your example would be $2,000 and $2,640)

Thanks! I had planned on taking spousal at 70 which makes no sense if the dollar amount is the same as if I took at it 66.

How many people lose benefits they are entitled too, I would think quite a lot!
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