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Social Security Question
Old 03-16-2019, 11:57 AM   #1
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Social Security Question

My understanding is, that for my wife to get a social security check equal to one half of my amount, it does not make a difference when I begin collecting, but, she must wait until her full retirement age for this to happen. Am I correct on this? Any clarification would be welcome.
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Old 03-16-2019, 02:21 PM   #2
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Not correct. If you want your wife to be able to collect half of your FRA amount, you cannot begin SS until you reach FRA. Then, she must ALSO wait until her FRA to begin spousal SS.
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Old 03-16-2019, 03:00 PM   #3
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That is correct. You can file later than FRA, which may raise your FRA PIA a small amount, but then she can not get an amount equal to 1/2 yours until you do file.
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Old 03-16-2019, 05:09 PM   #4
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Not correct. If you want your wife to be able to collect half of your FRA amount, you cannot begin SS until you reach FRA. Then, she must ALSO wait until her FRA to begin spousal SS.
I don't think that is correct. I understand that her (spousal) benefit is based on other's PIA, not the early, FRA, or late claim.
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Old 03-16-2019, 06:01 PM   #5
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Not correct. If you want your wife to be able to collect half of your FRA amount, you cannot begin SS until you reach FRA. Then, she must ALSO wait until her FRA to begin spousal SS.
Not true, I started at 62 and my wife started at her FRA and she collects exactly 50% of my FRA amount.
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Old 03-16-2019, 10:03 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by LXEX55 View Post
My understanding is, that for my wife to get a social security check equal to one half of my amount, it does not make a difference when I begin collecting, but, she must wait until her full retirement age for this to happen. Am I correct on this? Any clarification would be welcome.
Yes and no. If she waits until she is full retirement age and you have filed (regardless of when you filed) she will get 1/2 you full retirement age amount, not 1/2 of what you are collecting.
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Old 03-17-2019, 07:32 AM   #7
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Nobody has corrected this from another thread so...

I oversimplified spousal benefits into the following rules:
1. Spousal benefits (lower earner) are always a % of the higher earners PIA benefit amount, regardless of when the higher earner starts their benefit. (ex. spousal benefits do not go up if the higher earner delays their benefits until age 70.)
2. Spousal benefit can not start until the higher earner starts their benefits.
3. Spousal benefits max at 50% of the higher earners PIA benefit when the spouse delays collecting any benefits until spouse reaches their FRA. If the spouse starts their own benefits before the spouses FRA, the spousal benefit will be reduced.
see https://www.ssa.gov/OACT/quickcalc/spouse.html


Please correct me if this is wrong.

But if you play with the SSA spousal benefit calculator, the only numbers that are used are the higher earners PIA amount and lower earners benefit start age. The only thing the higher earner contributes to the calculation is their PIA and the higher earner has to start collecting their benefits for the spouse to collect spousal benefits.
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Old 03-17-2019, 07:52 AM   #8
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Nobody has corrected this from another thread so...

I oversimplified spousal benefits into the following rules:
1. Spousal benefits (lower earner) are always a % of the higher earners PIA benefit amount, regardless of when the higher earner starts their benefit. (ex. spousal benefits do not go up if the higher earner delays their benefits until age 70.)
2. Spousal benefit can not start until the higher earner starts their benefits.
3. Spousal benefits max at 50% of the higher earners PIA benefit when the spouse delays collecting any benefits until spouse reaches their FRA. If the spouse starts their own benefits before the spouses FRA, the spousal benefit will be reduced.
see https://www.ssa.gov/OACT/quickcalc/spouse.html


Please correct me if this is wrong.


It's not wrong but it's really confusing to read, as it's not very clear.



Spousal benefits or SB let's call it...
Cap out at 50% of the higher earning spouse's benefit at their own full retirement age.

Can not be collected until the higher earning spouse files for their own benefit.

If you file for either your own benefit or a spousal benefit before your own FRA your own payment will permanently reduced.
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Old 03-17-2019, 07:58 AM   #9
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What if it is an ex- spouse ?

My DH is fuming bec. his ex-spouse (yes, married >10 years) is claiming her spousal Soc Sec benefit. He was required by Social Security to provide proof of his birth certificate SO she could claim. (Just happened last week)

DH and I are delaying SS until at least FRA, but she is only 62.

(All of us born after Jan 1954)

NOt the whole story but enough.
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Old 03-17-2019, 08:48 AM   #10
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Nice summary, Spock. Thanks for including that calculator.

Octogirl, I wonder what would happen in a case where the person being asked to provide the birth certificate is less than cooperative, especially when they and their spouse are delaying. It must happen once in awhile. Anyway, I'd guess the answer is the same as if she wasn't an ex-spouse.
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Old 03-17-2019, 09:25 AM   #11
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What if it is an ex- spouse ?

My DH is fuming bec. his ex-spouse (yes, married >10 years) is claiming her spousal Soc Sec benefit. He was required by Social Security to provide proof of his birth certificate SO she could claim. (Just happened last week)

DH and I are delaying SS until at least FRA, but she is only 62.

(All of us born after Jan 1954)

NOt the whole story but enough.


Why is he fuming? Neither his benefits nor yours will affected by what the ex-spouse does.
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Old 03-17-2019, 11:13 AM   #12
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I'm curious as to what would happen if your DH refused to supply his Birth Cert? I mean, it's not really his problem or concern, right?
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Old 03-17-2019, 11:29 AM   #13
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I had it all wrong

Sorry, had to say this since Social Security is the title. There are so many SS threads.


I just (today) discovered on i-orp calculator that SS is not taxed (federal) if your income outside of SS is < $44K. I always thought, if your total income including SS is < $44K, SS does not get taxed.

SS = $34K + $43K (portfolio), no income tax on SS.

Then if total income including SS > $77K, 85% of SS is taxed. We spend way less than that.

Smack me down
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Old 03-17-2019, 11:38 AM   #14
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Yes, we know his benefits will not be affected by what the ex-spouse does.

(Why is he fuming ? He raised the kids, she never worked or helped, etc)

Now she needs a favor - even got the kids involved- "ask your Dad to do this"



Agree- but we wondered, what would happen if he refused until he was ready to claim.



In the end, he supplied birth cert.
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Old 03-17-2019, 12:02 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Rianne View Post
Sorry, had to say this since Social Security is the title. There are so many SS threads.


I just (today) discovered on i-orp calculator that SS is not taxed (federal) if your income outside of SS is < $44K. I always thought, if your total income including SS is < $44K, SS does not get taxed.

SS = $34K + $43K (portfolio), no income tax on SS.

Then if total income including SS > $77K, 85% of SS is taxed. We spend way less than that.

Smack me down
Im pretty sure you are incorrect.

https://www.ssa.gov/planners/taxes.html
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Old 03-17-2019, 12:17 PM   #16
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Im pretty sure you are incorrect.

https://www.ssa.gov/planners/taxes.html
  • file a joint return, and you and your spouse have a combined income* that is
    • between $32,000 and $44,000, you may have to pay income tax on up to 50 percent of your benefits.
    • more than $44,000, up to 85 percent of your benefits may be taxable.
    Combined income, not including SS. That is what I understand.

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Old 03-17-2019, 12:21 PM   #17
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From i-orp.com


"Taxing Social Security Benefits: 85% of Social Security benefits are taxable as personal income if non Social Security income exceeds $44,000 ($34,000 for a single person). A complex computation applies to income of lesser amounts. ORP assumes that the retiree will have non Social Security income in excess of $44,000 and that 85% of Social Security benefits are taxed. ORP will slightly over estimate your taxes if your non Social Security income is less than this amount"
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Old 03-17-2019, 12:25 PM   #18
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Im pretty sure you are incorrect.

https://www.ssa.gov/planners/taxes.html
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rianne View Post
  • file a joint return, and you and your spouse have a combined income* that is
    • between $32,000 and $44,000, you may have to pay income tax on up to 50 percent of your benefits.
    • more than $44,000, up to 85 percent of your benefits may be taxable.
    Combined income, not including SS. That is what I understand.

According to the link provided, combined income does include 1/2 of your Social Security benefits. It was almost immediately below the section you copied, Rianne.

"Your adjusted gross income
+ Nontaxable interest
+ of your Social Security benefits
= Your "combined income""
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Old 03-17-2019, 12:37 PM   #19
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According to the link provided, combined income does include 1/2 of your Social Security benefits. It was almost immediately below the section you copied, Rianne.

"Your adjusted gross income
+ Nontaxable interest
+ of your Social Security benefits
= Your "combined income""
Ah, OK. Still, I always thought 100% SS is income. That still puts us in a bracket of no SS taxes.
Savings: 32K * .85 = $27.2K
$27.2K * .12 = $3264 in taxes we don't have to pay.
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Old 03-17-2019, 12:38 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Rianne View Post
From i-orp.com


"Taxing Social Security Benefits: 85% of Social Security benefits are taxable as personal income if non Social Security income exceeds $44,000 ($34,000 for a single person). A complex computation applies to income of lesser amounts. ORP assumes that the retiree will have non Social Security income in excess of $44,000 and that 85% of Social Security benefits are taxed. ORP will slightly over estimate your taxes if your non Social Security income is less than this amount"
Do you have an exact link to this? I'm not going to hunt all over some 3rd party website to try and refute this. Bottom line. Believe what is on the Social Security website itself. Believe what is in the Social Security Benefits Worksheet in the instructions for Form 1040, lines 1 and 2.

Here's another official link:

https://taxmap.irs.gov/taxmap/pubs/p...blink100097889

"The total of one-half of your benefits and all your other income is more than $34,000 ($44,000 if you are married filing jointly)."
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