Join Early Retirement Today
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Question About Friend's Expectation For His Widow's SS Benefit
Old 12-09-2006, 08:13 PM   #1
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
haha's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Hooverville
Posts: 22,380
Question About Friend's Expectation For His Widow's SS Benefit

Hi,

I have a friend who is quite ill, and he is concerned about his wife should he not make it. He is 72 and has been receiving SS since he was 62. His wife is younger, not yet 62. (Not sure how old she is.)

She apparently has little or no SS on her own account.

He is not financially sophisticated. He felt that if he were to die, his widow would only get 1/2 his benefit. I said that as long as she waited until age 66 (her FRA), she would get his entire benefit. He has no internet access. I suggested that he call the SS office, but also said I would check with the folks on this board.

From www.socialsecurity.gov I copied the following. It was information for someone who was SS qualified, and wanted to know about the benfits available to his/her survivors

"These are examples of benefit payments:

Widow or widower, full retirement age or older--100 percent of your [deceased spouses] basic amount;
Widow or widower, age 60 to full retirement age -- 71.5 to 99 percent. "

My question is what the heck is his "basic amount"? Is it the amount that he is now getting? Say she is now 60, and that his benefit is currently $1000. If she decides to wait until her FRA of 66, would she start getting whatever he would have been getting at that time, were he still alive?

It seems like a simple question, but when you get down to it, maybe not so simple!

Thanks for any info. I think he is pretty shook up, and may not find the energy to call the SS office, so an answer from me would help him.

Ha
__________________

__________________
"As a general rule, the more dangerous or inappropriate a conversation, the more interesting it is."-Scott Adams
haha is online now   Reply With Quote
Join the #1 Early Retirement and Financial Independence Forum Today - It's Totally Free!

Are you planning to be financially independent as early as possible so you can live life on your own terms? Discuss successful investing strategies, asset allocation models, tax strategies and other related topics in our online forum community. Our members range from young folks just starting their journey to financial independence, military retirees and even multimillionaires. No matter where you fit in you'll find that Early-Retirement.org is a great community to join. Best of all it's totally FREE!

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest so you have limited access to our community. Please take the time to register and you will gain a lot of great new features including; the ability to participate in discussions, network with our members, see fewer ads, upload photographs, create a retirement blog, send private messages and so much, much more!

Re: Question About Friend's Expectation For His Widow's SS Benefit
Old 12-09-2006, 08:24 PM   #2
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso) Give me a forum ...
REWahoo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Texas Hill Country
Posts: 42,068
Re: Question About Friend's Expectation For His Widow's SS Benefit

Ha, does this answer his question?

"A spouse receives one-half of the retired worker's full benefit unless the spouse begins collecting benefits before full retirement age. In that case, the amount of the spouse's benefit is permanently reduced by a percentage based on the number of months before he/she reaches full retirement age.
For example, based on the full retirement age of 65, if a spouse begins collecting benefits :

* At 64, the benefit amount would be about 46 percent of the retired worker's full benefit.
* At age 63, it would be about 42 percent, and
* At age 62, 37.5 percent.

However, if a spouse is taking care of a child who is either under age 16 or disabled and receiving Social Security benefits, a spouse gets full (one-half) benefits, regardless of age.

If you are eligible for both your own retirement benefit and for benefits as a spouse, we always pay your own benefit first. If your benefit as a spouse is higher than your retirement benefit, you'll receive a combination of benefits equaling the higher spouse's benefit.

What is Full Retirement Age?

Full-retirement age has been 65 for many years. However, beginning with people born in 1938 or later, that age will gradually increase until it reaches 67 for people born after 1959. The following chart shows the steps in which the age will increase.


Link to SS.gov chart

__________________

__________________
Numbers is hard

When I hit 70, it hit back

Retired in 2005 at age 58, no pension
REWahoo is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: Question About Friend's Expectation For His Widow's SS Benefit
Old 12-09-2006, 08:27 PM   #3
Moderator Emeritus
Martha's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: minnesota
Posts: 13,212
Re: Question About Friend's Expectation For His Widow's SS Benefit

Wahoo, you are thinking spouse benefits rather than survivor's benefits.

http://www.socialsecurity.gov/ww&os2.htm
http://tinyurl.com/ynyyq4



These links explains it pretty well.

Ha, the "basic" benefit is the benefit you would receive at full retirement age.
__________________
.


No more lawyer stuff, no more political stuff, so no more CYA

Martha is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: Question About Friend's Expectation For His Widow's SS Benefit
Old 12-09-2006, 08:46 PM   #4
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso) Give me a forum ...
REWahoo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Texas Hill Country
Posts: 42,068
Re: Question About Friend's Expectation For His Widow's SS Benefit

Quote:
Originally Posted by Martha
Wahoo, you are thinking spouse benefits rather than survivor's benefits.
Yep. My recent record of incorrect responses to SS questions remains unbroken.

__________________
Numbers is hard

When I hit 70, it hit back

Retired in 2005 at age 58, no pension
REWahoo is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: Question About Friend's Expectation For His Widow's SS Benefit
Old 12-09-2006, 08:51 PM   #5
Moderator Emeritus
Martha's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: minnesota
Posts: 13,212
Re: Question About Friend's Expectation For His Widow's SS Benefit

You know HaHa, I am not sure about how the age reductions are calculated. Is the reduction based the age of the spouse at the other spouses death? Or is it based on when the survivor starts taking benefits? Anotherwords, if the survivor is less than full retirement age will that survivor take a permanent cut in benefts?

So I guess you are right, not so simple. SSA can't write!

Maybe New Thinking will show up and give you a better answer.


Here is something I found just googling, so I have no idea if accurate: http://tinyurl.com/yf9fe2
http://tinyurl.com/yf9fe2


It says: at full retirement age or older, your spouse may receive a survivor's benefit equal to 100 percent of your basic Social Security benefit. However, if your spouse has not yet reached full retirement age at the time of your death, he or she will receive a reduced benefit, generally 71 to 94 percent of your basic benefit (75 percent if your spouse is caring for a child under age 16). Your dependent child may also receive 75 percent of your basic benefit.


Not sure what that means either. Can the spouse wait to get the full retirement benefits?


(edited to shrink url)
__________________
.


No more lawyer stuff, no more political stuff, so no more CYA

Martha is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: Question About Friend's Expectation For His Widow's SS Benefit
Old 12-09-2006, 09:10 PM   #6
Moderator Emeritus
Martha's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: minnesota
Posts: 13,212
Re: Question About Friend's Expectation For His Widow's SS Benefit

Man, I hate to resort to wikipedia, but this is what it says:

If a worker covered by Social Security dies, a surviving spouse or children can receive survivors' benefits. In some instances, survivors' benefits are available even to a divorced spouse. Survivor's benefits to nondisabled children end at age 18, or when the child graduates from high school, whichever is later. The earliest age for a nondisabled widow(er)'s benefit is age 60. The benefit is equal to the worker's full retirement benefit for spouses who are at, or older than, survivor's normal retirement age. If the worker dies when the survivor is younger, there is an actuarial reduction.



http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_Security_(United_States)

__________________
.


No more lawyer stuff, no more political stuff, so no more CYA

Martha is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: Question About Friend's Expectation For His Widow's SS Benefit
Old 12-09-2006, 09:17 PM   #7
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
haha's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Hooverville
Posts: 22,380
Re: Question About Friend's Expectation For His Widow's SS Benefit

Quote:
Originally Posted by Martha
So I guess you are right, not so simple. SSA can't write!
Martha, this is how I see it too. It just isn't clear. Then also I found on Harry Hebeler's AnalyzeNow page the statement that the higher earning spouse should if possible delay taking her/his benefit until age 70, and the lesser earner should wait until his/her FRA. This was to maximize monthly payment while both were alive, as well as to maximize the survivors benefit, should the higher earner die first. To me, this suggests that it might be the decedents actual benefit, not his Full Retirement Amount, and the age at which the survivor elects to receive benefits either as survivor or spouse that might be controlling.

Quote:
Maybe New Thinking will show up and give you a better answer.
He is a great resource in this very complicated area. I hope he is still around!


Quote:
Here is something I found just googling, so I have no idea if accurate:

http://www.360financialliteracy.org/...s+benefits.htm

It says: at full retirement age or older, your spouse may receive a survivor's benefit equal to 100 percent of your basic Social Security benefit. However, if your spouse has not yet reached full retirement age at the time of your death, he or she will receive a reduced benefit, generally 71 to 94 percent of your basic benefit (75 percent if your spouse is caring for a child under age 16). Your dependent child may also receive 75 percent of your basic benefit.


Not sure what that means either. Can the spouse wait to get the full retirement benefits?
I think the answer to that last question is yes, he/she can wait, and in fact must wait until at least age 60 if not disabled or caring for a child under 16.

Thanks for your thoughts and research.

Ha
__________________
"As a general rule, the more dangerous or inappropriate a conversation, the more interesting it is."-Scott Adams
haha is online now   Reply With Quote
Re: Question About Friend's Expectation For His Widow's SS Benefit
Old 12-09-2006, 09:26 PM   #8
Moderator Emeritus
Martha's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: minnesota
Posts: 13,212
Re: Question About Friend's Expectation For His Widow's SS Benefit

One more link FWIW then I am hanging it up for the day:

http://www.newyorklife.com/cda/0,3254,15620,00.html

In death cases where no young children are eligible for Social Security survivor benefits, the widow of a deceased insured worker can receive, at normal retirement age, a monthly benefit equal to 100 percent of the deceased worker's PIA. A reduced widow's benefit can be claimed as early as age 60 (or age 50 if the widow is disabled). The widow's benefit may also be reduced if the deceased worker had claimed retirement benefits before his normal retirement age and was receiving an actuarially reduced benefit at the time of death.
__________________
.


No more lawyer stuff, no more political stuff, so no more CYA

Martha is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: Question About Friend's Expectation For His Widow's SS Benefit
Old 12-10-2006, 02:49 AM   #9
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 1,152
Re: Question About Friend's Expectation For His Widow's SS Benefit

I am adding this to help the discussion. My dad started SS around age 63.5, I think. He died recently at age 67 and I am trying to figure out when my mom should start taking SS, my mom is just over 60 years old. Here are the numbers we got from SS office for her survivor's benefit -- these are all on my dad's earnings record:

Quote:
Age 60: 1335/month
Age 62: 1466/month
Age 66: 1778/month
I was surprised that the benefit at 60 is 75% of the benefit at age 66 (her full retirement age is 66, she is currently 60). I would have expected a larger actuarial reduction. In fact, I was wondering if a survivor benefit was more favored in this respect.

Also, my understanding was that the dollar value of SS of the deceased spouse is the max that can ever be had by the surviving spouse (as indicated in the previous post in this thread) -- so by retiring early my dad had put a permanent cap on my mom's survivors benefits. BUT that is not accounted for in the numbers above, my dad was not receiving as much as indicated in the figures above because of the actuarial deduction. I actually think the SS office made a mistake in this instance and forgot to cap the numbers to my dad's benefit. If I am right about that, then it would do my mom no good to retire after age 63.5, the age when my dad first started taking SS. Any more info is welcomed.

Kramer
__________________
kramer is online now   Reply With Quote
Re: Question About Friend's Expectation For His Widow's SS Benefit
Old 12-10-2006, 07:25 AM   #10
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 53
Re: Question About Friend's Expectation For His Widow's SS Benefit

I was surprised that benefits could start at 60 for a widow/widower but here it is from the SSA webpage
Social Security survivors benefits can be paid to:

* A widow or widower -- full benefits at full retirement age, or reduced benefits as early as age 60

Just to add to the confusion here is more from the webpage:

If you are collecting survivors benefits, you can switch to your own retirement benefits (assuming you are eligible and your retirement rate is higher than the widow/widower's rate) as early as age 62.

In many cases, you can begin receiving retirement benefits either on your own or your spouse's record at age 62 and then switch to the other benefit when you reach full retirement age, if that amount is higher.

I think a phone call is in order.

Also, you need a copy of the marriage certificate when you go to SS and try to collect on a deceased spouse benefit. It was fun finding a cert. for a family member married over 50 years recently amid the stacks of papers that had accumulated. the funeral home should take care of the death certificates, you will need certified copies of those for various reasons.

edited to correct it is the marriage certificate you need. Wedding certificate might have been misleading. First cup of coffee.
__________________
savedapile is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: Question About Friend's Expectation For His Widow's SS Benefit
Old 12-10-2006, 08:00 AM   #11
Moderator Emeritus
Martha's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: minnesota
Posts: 13,212
Re: Question About Friend's Expectation For His Widow's SS Benefit

One thing that slipped my mind last night is that the SSA handbook is online. Here is a link to the pages on survivor's benefits: http://www.ssa.gov/OP_Home/handbook/...ook-toc04.html

From the handbook:

407. Amount of Widow(er)'s Insurance Benefit

407.1 How is the widow(er)'s benefit rate computed?
The widow(er)'s insurance benefit rate equals 100 percent of the deceased worker's primary insurance amount plus any additional amount the deceased worker was entitled to because of delayed retirement credits. (See 720.)

407.2 When is the benefit rate less?
Your widow(er)'s insurance benefit payable may be less than what was computed above if any of the conditions below apply:

A reduction is necessary because the "family maximum" applies (this reduction is discussed in 731-732);

You are also entitled to a smaller retirement insurance or disability insurance benefit (only the difference between the larger widow(er)'s insurance benefit and the other benefit is payable as the widow(er)'s insurance benefit; however, this amount is payable in addition to the other benefit);

You are entitled for months before the month you reach retirement age. See 723-725 for an explanation of how the reduced rate is computed;

You choose to receive and are paid a reduced widow(er)'s benefit for months before you reach retirement age. A reduced benefit rate is payable for as long as you are entitled to widow(er)'s benefits. For a possible adjustment at age 62 and retirement age, see 728;

Note: Entitlement to this reduced rate may result in a reduction in any disability or retirement insurance benefit to which you may later become entitled.

You are caring for your deceased spouse's child and:

The child is under age 16 or disabled;

The child is entitled to child's insurance benefits; and

You have not reached retirement age. In this case, your widow(er)'s benefits are not reduced for those months below 75 percent of the deceased spouse's primary insurance amount; or

The deceased worker was entitled to a reduced retirement benefit for the month before the month he or she died.


http://www.ssa.gov/OP_Home/handbook/...book-0723.html

Your benefit rate is reduced if you become entitled to the following benefits at the ages shown:

Retirement insurance benefits at age 62 through the month before you reach Full Retirement Age (FRA);

Husband's or wife's insurance benefits at age 62 through the month before you reach FRA, provided that you do not have in care a child of the worker either under age 18 or disabled and entitled to benefits;

Widow(er)'s insurance benefits beginning at any time from age 50 through the month before you reach FRA;

Widow(er)'s insurance benefits after the deceased worker has received a retirement insurance benefit reduced for age;

Disability insurance benefits received after a reduced retirement insurance benefit; or

Retirement or disability insurance benefits received after a reduced widow(er)'s insurance benefit. This applies only to workers born before 1928.




So, it looks like if the deceased spouse took SS early, there would be a reduced benefits. There will be reductions as well if the surviving spouse takes survivors benefits before full retirement age. The next issue is the amount of the reduction.


Quote:
Originally Posted by savedapile
Also, you need a copy of the wedding certificate when you go to SS and try to collect on a deceased spouse benefit. It was fun finding a cert. for a family member married over 50 years recently amid the stacks of papers that had accumulated. the funeral home should take care of the death certificates, you will need certified copies of those for various reasons.
Ack!
__________________
.


No more lawyer stuff, no more political stuff, so no more CYA

Martha is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: Question About Friend's Expectation For His Widow's SS Benefit
Old 12-11-2006, 03:39 PM   #12
Moderator Emeritus
Martha's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: minnesota
Posts: 13,212
Re: Question About Friend's Expectation For His Widow's SS Benefit

New Thinking, I see you are online. Any thoughts on this issue?
__________________
.


No more lawyer stuff, no more political stuff, so no more CYA

Martha is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: Question About Friend's Expectation For His Widow's SS Benefit
Old 12-17-2006, 04:39 PM   #13
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 150
Re: Question About Friend's Expectation For His Widow's SS Benefit

First - Sorry for the delayed response for commenting on this. I have been busy and didn't see the post heading...And to be perfectly honest with you, I have the Personal Messages redirected to my home e-mail as I had some pretty obscene pictures pop up at work awhile back and had to make the change.

Mike - The bottom line is that the base survivor benefit is locked in for your firend based on what age he chooses to take SS. So he locks his piece in at 62 in this instance..It grows by COLAs each year and once he passes, will continue to grow by COLAs..The future widow is eligible for 100% of that amount (not 50%) if she waits until her FRA. If she goes early, such as age 60, she would get (from memory here) 75% of that amount.

This is why delaying SS makes so much sense for some. The survivor benefit is 100% of what the retiree was receiving plus all future COLAs. This amount is only reduced if the widow begins prior to her/hes FRA.
__________________
New Thinking is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: Question About Friend's Expectation For His Widow's SS Benefit
Old 12-17-2006, 05:08 PM   #14
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso) Give me a forum ...
REWahoo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Texas Hill Country
Posts: 42,068
Re: Question About Friend's Expectation For His Widow's SS Benefit

Quote:
Originally Posted by New Thinking
...And to be perfectly honest with you, I have the Personal Messages redirected to my home e-mail as I had some pretty obscene pictures pop up at work awhile back and had to make the change.
We submitted your email address to a gay porn site. Guess you got a reply, eh? ...Just kidding.

Unfortunately, almost the entire member base got the same porn spam PM back in August. Dory did some things to put a stop to it short term, then installed a permanent fix via a software upgrade. We're not aware of anyone having a problem since that one incident (although many people didn't open the offending PM until weeks afterward ).

__________________
Numbers is hard

When I hit 70, it hit back

Retired in 2005 at age 58, no pension
REWahoo is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: Question About Friend's Expectation For His Widow's SS Benefit
Old 12-17-2006, 10:35 PM   #15
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
haha's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Hooverville
Posts: 22,380
Re: Question About Friend's Expectation For His Widow's SS Benefit

Thanks New Thinking for responding to this. I think my friend will be quite relieved, as he thought his survivor could only get 50%. I will try to stress to her if we get there, that she has some choice as to when she begins.

He was single when he started his SS early, and as a heavy equipment operator in the logging industry he was getting a little tired. No future survivor for him to consider back then.

Ha
__________________

__________________
"As a general rule, the more dangerous or inappropriate a conversation, the more interesting it is."-Scott Adams
haha is online now   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Quick Tax Question -- SEP Without Deduction Benefit TromboneAl FIRE and Money 5 01-24-2007 02:43 PM
Widow's question re Social security jsbindex Hi, I am... 3 10-15-2006 10:41 PM
Social Security Spousal Benefit Elderdude FIRE and Money 52 06-30-2006 08:55 AM
FRIENDS LIPhotoMan Life after FIRE 23 03-20-2006 07:02 PM

 

 
All times are GMT -6. The time now is 10:08 PM.
 
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.