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Rookie Social Security question
Old 09-25-2007, 09:51 AM   #1
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Rookie Social Security question

Question: As I start to figure out what our cash flow will be in retirement - how does spousal SS get calculated, if at all?

I have w@*ked in the "dreaded private sector" all of my adult life and so have paid Social Security taxes to the U.S. govenrment. DW, on the other hand, has been employed in a school system and has not been subject to SS taxes (as far as I can tell).

When retirement comes along, is she eligible to a portion of my benefit as well?

thanks, Cataman
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Old 09-25-2007, 10:12 AM   #2
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Question: What are the benefit amounts a husband or wife may be entitled to receive?

Answer: 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.

Year of BirthFull Retirement Age1937 or earlier65193865 and 2 months193965 and 4 months194065 and 6 months194165 and 8 months194265 and 10 months1943-195466195566 and 2 months195666 and 4 months195766 and 6 months195866 and 8 months195966 and 10 months1960 and later67Note: Persons born on January 1 of any year should refer to the full retirement age for the previous year. For example: If you were born January 1, 1939, we consider your year of birth to be 1938 and so will reach full retirement age at 65 and 2 months.
Even though the full retirement age has increased, the minimum age at which you can receive benefits remains age 62.
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Old 09-25-2007, 10:15 AM   #3
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Do a search for Social Security WEP (Windfall Elimination Provision).

If a person receives a goverment pension they cannot receive full SS even on their own SS account.

So I don't think she will be eligble to draw SS on your account if she receives a goverment pension.

Jim
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Old 09-25-2007, 10:29 AM   #4
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Actually, it is more likely that she will be affected by the GPO (govt pension offset) if she has a public school pension that is not coordinated with social security than the WEP. Although, if she does have earnings on which she has paid into social security and would qualify on her own, then the WEP applies. The social security website has plenty of info on both. But basically the GPO eliminates $ for $ any amount she qualifies under your benefits up to 2/3 of her pension amount. My wife is in the same boat and she will qualify for zippo under my bennies (which are subject to WEP reduction as well). Congress has been looking at both of these issues for years but as yet has not addressed them.
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Old 09-25-2007, 10:35 AM   #5
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I have a goverment pension (state). It would be sweet if I could also draw a spousal SS benefit from my wife's SS, but I don't think it's ever going to happen.

Jim
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Old 09-25-2007, 10:43 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by burch64 View Post
It would be sweet if I could also draw a spousal SS benefit from my wife's SS, but I don't think it's ever going to happen.
double ditto!!
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Old 09-25-2007, 01:05 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CATAMAN View Post
Question: As I start to figure out what our cash flow will be in retirement - how does spousal SS get calculated, if at all?

I have w@*ked in the "dreaded private sector" all of my adult life and so have paid Social Security taxes to the U.S. govenrment. DW, on the other hand, has been employed in a school system and has not been subject to SS taxes (as far as I can tell).

When retirement comes along, is she eligible to a portion of my benefit as well?

thanks, Cataman
Most government web sites make my eyeballs twirl in their sockets. But, the SS web site, particulary the portion that explains WEP and GPO, are actually very good and I suggest you go to the site and review them. Some of the information you have received in this thread is accurate, some isn't.

While reading the site, note that while your DW will likely not qualify for spousal benefits under your SS, she will likely qualify for Medicare benefits under your SS. A sweet deal since, until recently, most teachers did not pay Medicare taxes.

Despite the fact that my DW will not recieve a spousal benefit from my SS due to GPO, and the amount she receives from her own (very small) SS contributions will be calculated using a less generous formula due to WEP, it seems to be fair and is all explained in the SS web site.
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teacher pension
Old 09-25-2007, 04:55 PM   #8
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teacher pension

I am a retired TX teacher--took early retirement at 55 for a variety of reasons and rolled over my years/pension fund as a caseworker for another TX agency and bought 3 extra years with 403b money to make sure I qualified for 20 yrs of experience...big difference in monthly pension that paid off after 3 years...

I had to work the OFFSET DAY provision before I actually drew my first pension check at a district that paid into SS retirement--that loophole was closed just a few months after I retired. I worked half a day at the Dallas ISD admin office filing papers at a min-wage job--earned only about 60 dollars but the SS was deducted and monies were also paid into TRS...ther was enough of an additional payment that my monthly pension amount was increased just a few cents but that is all it took---
that small amount "covered" all the other payments into my TRS account (from my district and myself)...Of course the fact that I had used my state pension/time to bump my teaching years (and those funds were tagged by SS) did not seem to matter...

Did I do this to protect MY past SS earnings--no--the offset did not work for that --but I was able to protect my spousal portion of my husband's SS earnings--which to be honest are probably twice what mine would be.

Not sure exactly how much my spousal portion will be because I think my SS amount reduces it somewhat--but since my teacher's pension will go against my pension first, I should get more spousal than if I had only MY SS to offset it...at least I think that is right...
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