Join Early Retirement Today
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Social Security for Widows question
Old 05-30-2007, 07:40 PM   #1
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 291
Social Security for Widows question

A good friend has asked me this question, and after looking at the SSA website, I'm not satisfied that I have a clear understanding. She is a widow in her late 50's, and is about to remarry. She has always worked, but never made very much money. She believes that her wages are not important as regards social security because she thinks she will receive the same benefit her deceased husband was receiving before his death. I see reference on the website to remarriage before age 60 causes one not to receive widow's benefits. Does this mean that she is giving up rights to the deceased spouse's benefit if she remarries before age 60? Also, even if you have your own earning record, do you automatically receive 100% of the deceased spouse's SS benefit, or the larger of your own or 50% of the deceased spouse's benefit? As she and her new husband will turn 65 before they have been married 10 years, would she be entitled to a benefit on his earnings (don't know how much money he's made, but assume more than her). Appreciate any input on this.
__________________

__________________
bubba is offline   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!

Old 05-30-2007, 08:16 PM   #2
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
Moemg's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Sarasota,fl.
Posts: 10,035
If she marries before age 60 she is not eligible for her late husbands social security.
__________________

__________________
Moemg is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-31-2007, 10:06 AM   #3
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
FinanceDude's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 12,484
Quote:
Originally Posted by Moemg View Post
If she marries before age 60 she is not eligible for her late husbands social security.
That is my understanding also. She would be giving up a pretty substantial income stream.

As far as the 2nd husband goes, I would pose that to a CFP for clarification...........
__________________
Consult with your own advisor or representative. My thoughts should not be construed as investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results (love that one).......:)


This Thread is USELESS without pics.........:)
FinanceDude is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-31-2007, 10:21 AM   #4
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
OAG's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Central, Ohio, USA
Posts: 2,598
Why not look on the SSA web site. Also you may want to call the 1-800 number and talk to a person at SSA. I called them in the past 10 days and the person I got was very helpful and knowledgeable. It was a pleasant surprise. The wait was less than a minute.
__________________
Vietnam Veteran, CW4 USA, Retired 1979
OAG is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-31-2007, 10:24 AM   #5
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 1,183
I am a widow. As I understand SS I can draw 50% of my husbands SS till I am eligible on my own record by age. Then if mine is greater they convert me to mine. If mine is less, then I continue to draw 50% of husbands. If I re-marry before I reach age 60, I forfeit my widows benefit. She would NOT be eligible to draw on 2nd spouse until a substantial amount of time had passed (I believe 9 years). If she and 2nd spouse divorce or if he dies, she could revert to widow status and draw against 1st husband. She needs to get in touch with SSA before she ties the knot to know what happens!
__________________
crazy connie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-31-2007, 10:41 AM   #6
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
Moemg's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Sarasota,fl.
Posts: 10,035
I have just started collecting the widow benefit .I'm receiving 75% of my late husband's benefit .Be prepared ,when you go to social security to put in your claim they ask you everything but what color appliances did you have in your first house .Since this was a second marriage I had to come up with the birthdays for the ex spouses, the marriage dates for both couples and the divorce dates .
__________________
Moemg is offline   Reply With Quote
little more info
Old 06-02-2007, 11:47 PM   #7
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 1,152
little more info

One other thing to consider is that actuarily it can make more sense for a widow to take SS early than a regular SS recipient. This is because Congress mandates that a 60 year old widow gets 75% of their benefit. Then it is upped each year until retirement age. If you do the linear interpolation, you will see that this is a better deal than you get retiring early under the ordinary system (say, at age 62 on your own earnings).

I agree with the general premise that one should wait to take SS if they are in good health and especially if they are female (with a bunch of caveats and special considerations, of course). But for a widow this logic is weaker and does not have the same actuarial basis as the regular system.

I discovered this when I was evaluating this issue for my mother who is age 60 and a widow. She absolutely did not want to wait under any circumstances. When I discovered this difference in SS calculation, I didn't really disagree with her decision like I otherwise would have, preferring to fight more important battles. I have gotten her to wait until age 61.5 (Jan 2008) due to some 2006 and 2007 tax considerations related to my dad's death.

Kramer
__________________
kramer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-03-2007, 02:48 AM   #8
Full time employment: Posting here.
old woman's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 551
I was married 17 years and am now 59 and single and he married twice more then died. I have been working about 30 years and should get about 1,200 based on my earnings. I know I could collect based on his earnings but is it work trying? He was higher earning for more years than me but not all his working life.
__________________
old woman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-03-2007, 03:07 AM   #9
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 1,152
Quote:
Originally Posted by old woman View Post
I was married 17 years and am now 59 and single and he married twice more then died. I have been working about 30 years and should get about 1,200 based on my earnings. I know I could collect based on his earnings but is it work trying? He was higher earning for more years than me but not all his working life.
Yes, it is worth trying. It will only take you a few minutes to find out. Call up the social security service and have his social security number, birthdate, and full name handy (along with marriage and divorce dates). They will do the comparison for you. If it gives you even one dollar more, it is worth trying Even though he may have two ex-wives drawing on his earnings, that will not affect your ability to draw or the amount that you can draw off of his earnings. Also, you get his entire lifetime earnings record as a benefit, even the amounts earned after you were divorced, because you were married to him for more than 10 years.

This whole procedure will only take a few minutes over the phone.

Also, I believe that you qualify to receive widow's benefits via your former husbands record, which could be advantageous to you if you want to draw on SS early since widow's benefits are derated less for early retirement and you can collect them earlier than drawing on your own earning's record. I am not sure if you get that same advantage drawing on your own earning's record after your former husband has died. This is a subtle point, but the person at the SS office will be able to answer this.

Kramer
__________________
kramer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-03-2007, 11:05 AM   #10
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 283
We were at SS last Friday to sign DW up for SS benefits since she retired as of the last day of May! DW was widowed 10 years ago and we married one week after her 60th birthday.

We got the estimate for her own SS benefit and then asked about SS under my account and/or her late husband's acct. We were told that since we were currently married her late husband's account could not be considered for her spousal benefit until I also passed away; were I to pass away, then SS would consider her for spousal survivor benefits from either of us.

JohnP
__________________
Dad's Dream; to have enough money someday to live the kind of life my wife and kids do...
Life is what happens while you are making other plans... John Lennon...
the more you look, the more you see...
JohnP is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-04-2007, 01:25 PM   #11
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 130
I've looked this up in SSA website, since my wife died very young. My understanding is:

1) If you remarry before age 60 you forfeit.

2) As the surviving spouse you receive 100% of your deceased spouse's benefits. At your age of eligibility, you will receive the greater of yours OR your spouse's benefits but not both.

If I'm wrong, somebody correct me pls
__________________
Free_at_49 is offline   Reply With Quote
Keep in Mind
Old 06-04-2007, 07:53 PM   #12
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 150
Keep in Mind

I am doing this from home and don't have access to my reference material, but let me mention a few things from memory. Spouses/widows have a lot more control than it looks like. First, marrying prior to 60, does, I believe cancel out the widow's benefit. I think waiting until 60 to marry may often make sense. Then, IT MAY BE the higher of the survivor benefit of the deceased husband or the spousal benefit. Remember what I wrote about in earlier posts, one can be ELIGIBLE for a spousal benefit but not ENTITLED. Therefore, if the (new husband) waits to take his SS, he keeps the spouse from being ENTITLED. Thus a good strategy may be to take the survivor benefit at 60 and have the new husband wait to take his SS. Only when he files for SS, will the wife be ENTITLED to the spousal benefit. At this point the spousal benefit is not reduced by AS MUCH or not reduced at all. The higher SS benefit for the husband ALSO means a higher widow's benefit for the wife down the road..Therefore, there is some control here.

As for widow's who haven't remarried, a widow can take a survivor benefit at age 60 and delay her/his own worker benefit to age 70 and switch to the much higher benefit at that point (if that applies). Conversely, the spouse could choose to take her own worker benefit at 62 and switch to an unreduced widow's benefit at her Full Retirement Age..
__________________
New Thinking is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-04-2007, 08:26 PM   #13
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 1,152
Quote:
As for widow's who haven't remarried, a widow can take a survivor benefit at age 60 and delay her/his own worker benefit to age 70 and switch to the much higher benefit at that point (if that applies).
Are you sure about this? I have tried to pin this down. Especially if the deceased (but not the widow) had already started taking SS payments.

Kramer
__________________
kramer is offline   Reply With Quote
Yes
Old 06-06-2007, 07:50 PM   #14
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 150
Yes

Yes, I am sure
__________________
New Thinking is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-06-2007, 08:07 PM   #15
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 1,152
Can you do it the other way around? Take your own work record money at age 62, which is a much smaller amount than the widow benefit. And then let the widow benefit max out by not taking it right away and waiting until it maxes.

This is what would help my mom as her own worker benefit would not exceed her widow benefit, even if she waited until age 70 to take her own worker benefit. But her widow benefit goes up every year she waits (until her mid-60s). If she could take her own work record money before then, it would be a free lunch, so to speak. This is the question I was saving for the SS people.

Thanks for your help.

Kramer
__________________
kramer is offline   Reply With Quote
yes
Old 06-07-2007, 07:40 PM   #16
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 150
yes

She could wait until her Full Retirement Age..There are no Delayed Retirement Credits so waiting until 70 (or even 67) is not desirable.
__________________
New Thinking is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-07-2007, 08:01 PM   #17
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 1,152
Quote:
Originally Posted by New Thinking View Post
She could wait until her Full Retirement Age..There are no Delayed Retirement Credits so waiting until 70 (or even 67) is not desirable.
I'm sorry, but your answer is not clear to me.

My mom's widow benefit will rise as she waits to retire. At some point it stops going up since the payout cannot exceed my dad's (who was already on SS and retired early like around age 63.5). I am not sure exactly when my mom's widow benefit maxes, but it is later than 62. So you are saying that she can start getting SS at age 62 off her own work record, and her widow benefit will keep increasing until it is maxed out (whenever that is, SS office can tell us)?

What do you mean there are no Delayed Retirement Credits as applied to this situation? She could wait until her Full Retirement Age to do what? I really do not understand any part of your answer.

Thanks,
Kramer2
__________________
kramer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-07-2007, 11:06 PM   #18
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 2,555
JohnP,

Your wife is not excluded from filing as a widow on her deceased spouse's account if you were married after she turned age 60. I am assuming that she was a widow and not a surviving divorced widow. She does not have to wait until your death to file as a widow on her deceased spouse's account. She should contact the claims representative who took her claim and see if it would be advantageous for her to file as a widow at this time or if it would be more advantageous to file for retirement on her own account. I will check the POMS reference for you and post it.
__________________
Dreamer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-07-2007, 11:14 PM   #19
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 2,555
https://s044a90.ssa.gov/apps10/poms....1!opendocument, this section should explain it. If she meets the other requirements, then she would meet the exception for being unmarried, since she remarried after age 60. I hope that the section above opens to the right spot, if not, the POMS reference is RS00207.001B1c.
__________________
Dreamer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-08-2007, 12:12 PM   #20
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 283
Thanks Dreamer!

I read the POMS you linked to a couple times and still need to digest it - but it seems we may have gotten some incorrect info - DW was a widow and has never divorced so it looks like she could qualify for her late husbands SS. Our situation is complicated by each of us having pensions where we did not pay into SS during the majority of our working lives so any SS is limited by the WEP (Windfall Elimination Provision) AND any spousal survivor benefits are limited by GPO (Govt Pension Offset).

For now, we are pleased that she will be receiving her SS starting in mid July and we already have gotten retroactive SS payments dating from her first month of eligibility for full retirement. Service at SS was simply great; we signed into SS last friday (June 1) and the retroactive $$ was in our bank account on Monday morning!

Thanks again

JohnP
__________________

__________________
Dad's Dream; to have enough money someday to live the kind of life my wife and kids do...
Life is what happens while you are making other plans... John Lennon...
the more you look, the more you see...
JohnP is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
social security


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
couple social security perinova Young Dreamers 19 05-14-2006 05:13 PM
Switching Social Security bongo2 FIRE and Money 58 05-07-2006 06:21 PM
Social Security Trust Fund is now projected to run out earlier! Cut-Throat FIRE and Money 2 05-01-2006 06:06 PM
Social Security lauraf13 FIRE and Money 17 06-12-2003 07:58 PM
Social Security estimate now vs. actual Telly FIRE and Money 8 05-15-2003 03:56 PM

 

 
All times are GMT -6. The time now is 11:44 PM.
 
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.