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Seeking Help on Unusual Social Security Situation
Old 12-05-2016, 04:22 PM   #1
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Seeking Help on Unusual Social Security Situation

Yes, SS again. A thousand apologies; but I plan to seek an answer from the SSA folks in the new year and want to get a sense first of what the "correct" answer is. OK, here it is:

As you may know from my postings I am early retired and will be 62 in 2017 (my birthday is in July). I intend to take SS at the earliest possible date. That would mean getting my first check in September 2017, covering the month of August.

My wife is currently receiving an SS disability payment and will turn 65 early in 2017, so definitely before I turn 62. The current documentation online at SSA suggests she will automatically be converted from SSDI to retired status as of her birthday and states she needs to do nothing to initiate this. Her monthly payment will remain the same. It is small and based on a relatively short working career.

We would prefer that she wait until I turn 62 and then apply for the spousal benefit of 50% of my monthly payment. This will produce a larger overall combined payment for us.

Can this be done? How?

Many thanks for any help you can give me. I know that if I call SSA on this three times I will likely get three different answers. That can be fun, of course; but not particulary effective. :-)

- BB
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Old 12-05-2016, 04:34 PM   #2
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Would she be converted at age 65 birthday or her FRA (66 and x months)?

-gauss
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Old 12-05-2016, 04:43 PM   #3
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... ...We would prefer that she wait until I turn 62 and then apply for the spousal benefit of 50% of my monthly payment.

- BB
She should be eligible for 50% of your FRA benefits. I turned 62 and applied for SS earlier this year. DH is 69 and applied for spousal benefits under the restricted application (I think that's what it's called) and receives 50% of my FRA benefits. He turns 70 early next year and will migrate to SS under his record at that time. A nice extra $12K for us!
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Old 12-05-2016, 05:05 PM   #4
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Would she be converted at age 65 birthday or her FRA (66 and x months)?

-gauss
You're correct. She would collect at 66, not 65. How did I miss THAT?! Thanks, gauss.

-BB
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Old 12-05-2016, 05:21 PM   #5
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She should be eligible for 50% of your FRA benefits. I turned 62 and applied for SS earlier this year. DH is 69 and applied for spousal benefits under the restricted application (I think that's what it's called) and receives 50% of my FRA benefits. He turns 70 early next year and will migrate to SS under his record at that time. A nice extra $12K for us!
Thanks. Unfortunately, if you are on SSDI (disability benefits) you are prevented from using the restricted application. At least that is my reading of SSA docs and various explanatory articles on the web. We may have no wiggle room in this.

-BB
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Old 12-05-2016, 05:23 PM   #6
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almost the exact situation that we just went through. DW was on SS disability, I turned 62, filed for SS. Weeks later, SS notified my wife that she might be eligible for additional money by filing for spousal benefits. It took a LONG while to get the appointment after responding by phone, but they now send her 2 checks-one for her SSD, and one for her spousal SS. When she turns 65 in Jan, they will convert her from SSD to regular SS.
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Old 12-05-2016, 05:35 PM   #7
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Thanks, Ticker. When her SSD turns into regular SS at her full retirement age will it be the same amount? Not sure from your statement if in the end she is at a full 50% of your retirement benefit.

-BB
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Old 12-05-2016, 06:56 PM   #8
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For my wife, the amount of her regular SSD converted into SS will not change. However, her amount is offset for a public pension, so it may not be pertinent for this discussion. Applying against my benefit produces an additional monthly check for her for the offset. It's not a great amount of money, but it helps. The initial assessment that the SS rep made was wrong, they eventually increased the amount by $10/month.

Somewhere I learned that the conversion will take place at 65, but after reading other comments I am not sure if she will have the conversion until later. I'll know more in Jan. when she turns 65.
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