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Early SS
Old 03-03-2006, 07:54 PM   #1
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Early SS

A non working wife would normally receive one half of the husbands social security award. If, for example, the husband got $1000, the wife would get $500. This is considering that the husband retired at 65 or 66 whatever his date works out to be.

If however the husband were to retire early, at 62, the amount his wife would get would not be one half of his award but only about 33 % of whatever he would get.

This is what I am learning from a new book called, "Retire Early, Make the Smart Choices"

Is this the way you understand it?

boont
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Re: Early SS
Old 03-03-2006, 08:00 PM   #2
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Re: Early SS

Quote:
Originally Posted by boont
Is this the way you understand it?
I don't know the numbers, but here's a similar Bud Hebeler article on Social Security widows who wish their spouses had waited longer to start their benefits.
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Re: Early SS
Old 03-03-2006, 08:37 PM   #3
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Re: Early SS

Quote:
Originally Posted by boont
A non working wife would normally receive one half of the husbands social security award.... This is considering that the husband retired at 65 or 66 whatever his date works out to be.

If however the husband were to retire early, at 62, the amount his wife would get would not be one half of his award but only about 33 % of whatever he would get.

Is this the way you understand it?
I'm not familiar with the book you mention, but the SS website doesn't mention any impact to the spouse (wife) based on the husband taking SS early. It does say the amount for the spouse could be as low as 32.5% if she starts drawing at 62:

A spouse who has not worked or who has low earnings can be entitled to as much as one-half of the retired worker’s full benefit. If you are eligible for both your own retirement benefits and for benefits as a spouse, we always pay your own benefits first. If your benefits as a spouse are higher than your retirement benefits, you will get a combination of benefits equaling the higher spouse benefit.

If spouses want to get Social Security retirement benefits before they reach full retirement age, the amount of the benefit is reduced permanently. The amount of reduction depends on when the person reaches full retirement age.

For example:

* If full retirement age is 65, a spouse can get 37.5 percent of the worker’s unreduced benefit at age 62;
* If full retirement age is 66, a spouse can get 35 percent of the worker’s unreduced benefit at age 62;
* If full retirement age is 67, a spouse can get 32.5 percent of the worker’s unreduced benefit at age 62.

The amount of the benefit increases at later ages up to the maximum of 50 percent at full retirement age. If full retirement age is other than those shown here the amount of the benefit will fall between 32.5 percent and 37 percent at age 62.

http://www.ssa.gov/pubs/10035.html#retirement

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Re: Early SS
Old 03-03-2006, 09:12 PM   #4
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Re: Early SS

I am almost sorry I asked. The wording is so open to interpretation. For instance, what does "unreduced benefit" mean?

It sounds like "unreduced" might mean your full benefit if you reached full retirement age. So it wouldn't mean 35% of the husbands "reduced" (early retirement) benefit, but 35% of the benefit he would receive if he waited until full retirement.

Does that sound right?

boont
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Re: Early SS
Old 03-03-2006, 09:18 PM   #5
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Re: Early SS

Quote:
Originally Posted by boont
It sounds like "unreduced" might mean your full benefit if you reached full retirement age. So it wouldn't mean 35% of the husbands "reduced" (early retirement) benefit, but 35% of the benefit he would receive if he waited until full retirement.

Does that sound right?
That's the way I interpret it, but you might want to talk to the folks at SS to be sure.

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Re: Early SS
Old 03-03-2006, 09:23 PM   #6
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Re: Early SS

Thanks, I will call them.

Anyone else want to chime in?

b.
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Re: Early SS
Old 03-03-2006, 09:52 PM   #7
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Re: Early SS

I'd like to know this answer also.
Our newspaper has a SS Q&A section and here is how the SS rep answered that question.
Here is one way to look at the situation.* You can get an idea of what your wife would receive on your record when she turns 62.* Her wife's benefit would be approximately one-third of your full retirement benefit.* This is regardless of whether you elect to start your own benefit early.
Seems clear there, but I still need to hear that face to face I think.
I also understand that when you die, she gets 100% of your full benefit. If all of this* is accurate, it would seem that a wife in this situation would be best off taking benefits ASAP.
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Re: Early SS
Old 03-04-2006, 11:18 AM   #8
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Re: Early SS

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Originally Posted by JPatrick
I also understand that when you die, she gets 100% of your full benefit. If all of this* is accurate, it would seem that a wife in this situation would be best off taking benefits ASAP.
How do we ensure that our spouses don't conclude that their "best off" situation would be our demise ASAP?
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Re: Early SS
Old 03-04-2006, 01:23 PM   #9
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Re: Early SS

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Originally Posted by Nords
How do we ensure that our spouses don't conclude that their "best off" situation would be our demise ASAP?
Well you could only surf 5 days per week and spend the other 2 days at home cleaning and doing the laundry* * That would sway the "best off" quotient in your favor.
Be sure to post a picture in your apron*
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Re: Early SS
Old 03-04-2006, 08:23 PM   #10
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Re: Early SS

Quote:
Originally Posted by JPatrick
Well you could only surf 5 days per week and spend the other 2 days at home cleaning and doing the laundry
Bummer, that's pretty much what I'm doing now. There's no room for improvement!
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Re: Early SS
Old 03-04-2006, 10:07 PM   #11
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Re: Early SS

Theres no way i'm posting the picture of me with the Baby Bjorn on, infant loaded, vacuuming the living room.

Only 2 days a week at home cleaning and doing the laundry? Man, would that be heavenly...
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Re: Early SS
Old 03-05-2006, 11:53 PM   #12
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Re: Early SS

Quote:
Originally Posted by JPatrick
...I also understand that when you die, she gets 100% of your full benefit. If all of this* is accurate, it would seem that a wife in this situation would be best off taking benefits ASAP.
On your death, your wife's benefit claimed against your SS account will indeed increase from ~50% of your benefit to 100%.* But I sure thought it is 100% of what you were getting*when you kicked the bucket.*

So if you took "early" retirement @ 62, rather than say full retirement @ 66, you are getting a reduced benefit.* If your spouse then turns 62 and applies against your account, she will get for herself another ~50% of what you are getting.* If you then rejoin the carbon chain, she will now get 100% of that.* NOT 100% of your "unreduced" benefit, that you weren't getting anyway because you took @62 retirement.

A spouse may have reason to keep the primary alive anyway, as if both are alive, the total benefit together is 150% of the reduced benefit.*
If either dies, the total benefit drops to 100%.
This drop in total benefits can hurt, in regards to fixed costs, such as property taxes, etc. where the number of people is a don't care.
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Re: Early SS
Old 03-06-2006, 07:12 AM   #13
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Re: Early SS

Quote:
A spouse may have reason to keep the primary alive anyway, as if both are alive, the total benefit together is 150% of the reduced benefit.
It is hoped that this is not the only reason.

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Re: Early SS
Old 03-06-2006, 08:06 AM   #14
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Re: Early SS

Quote:
Originally Posted by boont
Thanks, I will call them.

Anyone else want to chime in?

b.
Still too much gray in this area.* Hopefully the OP will follow through with a call to the SS and post the results.
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Re: Early SS
Old 03-06-2006, 08:12 AM   #15
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Re: Early SS

they make things so hard to find and when you do think you've found the answer it's to vague to understand.

When dh went to apply for his SS I went with him because I was sure (told by a friend and looking on the web) that he could get half of mine which is much more than his. I couldn't find anywhere that said my account had to be open for him to do that. I had to ask the question 3 times to get an answer from the woman processing his application and then it was like I asked her to kill her first born. It was a very unpleasant experience, so much so that dh didn't want to go back to give them the additional information about his military service which needed to be corrected. His exact words were on returning from that visit "She still looks like someone made her swollow a cup of %$#".
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Re: Early SS
Old 03-06-2006, 08:13 AM   #16
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Re: Early SS

Quote:
Originally Posted by Telly
A spouse may have reason to keep the primary alive anyway, as if both are alive, the total benefit together is 150% of the reduced benefit.
I just have to make sure that the cost of keeping me alive is a lower percentage of our total income than the cost of living without me...
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Re: Early SS
Old 03-06-2006, 09:55 AM   #17
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Re: Early SS

Quote:
Originally Posted by Outtahere
they make things so hard to find and when you do think you've found the answer it's to vague to understand.

When dh went to apply for his SS I went with him because I was sure (told by a friend and looking on the web) that he could get half of mine which is much more than his. I couldn't find anywhere that said my account had to be open for him to do that. I had to ask the question 3 times to get an answer from the woman processing his application and then it was like I asked her to kill her first born. It was a very unpleasant experience, so much so that dh didn't want to go back to give them the additional information about his military service which needed to be corrected. His exact words were on returning from that visit "She still looks like someone made her swollow a cup of %$#".
I think the SS website and FAQS leave much to be desired.

Your husband can't collect based on your record until you retire or die. He can get SS based on his own record now.
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Re: Early SS
Old 03-06-2006, 09:57 AM   #18
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Re: Early SS

Quote:
Originally Posted by boont
I am almost sorry I asked. The wording is so open to interpretation. For instance, what does "unreduced benefit" mean?

It sounds like "unreduced" might mean your full benefit if you reached full retirement age. So it wouldn't mean 35% of the husbands "reduced" (early retirement) benefit, but 35% of the benefit he would receive if he waited until full retirement.

Does that sound right?

boont
Unreduced benefit means what the benefit would be at full retirement age. Then apply the formulas noted in REW's link.
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Re: Early SS
Old 03-06-2006, 10:19 AM   #19
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Re: Early SS

Yes, Martha we found that out during the interview but getting her to answer the question was like getting teeth from a chicken. And she was very condescending to me during the whole interview, didn't want to acknowledge that I was even there, but I'm a "persistent" person when I want an answer and I enjoy making people perform their jobs.

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Re: Early SS
Old 03-06-2006, 10:23 AM   #20
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Re: Early SS

I bet talking to people in the SS office is a lot like talking to the IRS. I wonder is their reliability in providing correct information is as bad as the IRS's reliability.
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