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Old 02-25-2008, 07:15 PM   #21
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I was considering this. Does my spouse also have to repay her benefits because I am electing this pay back option?
If the spouse is receiving spousal benefits on your work record, she has to repay those as well. That is why this is often sub-optimal.
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Old 02-26-2008, 05:40 AM   #22
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If the spouse is receiving spousal benefits on your work record, she has to repay those as well. That is why this is often sub-optimal.
See my response #16.
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Old 02-28-2008, 02:18 PM   #23
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If people begin gaming the system, it will be changed. When I read about this option, I thought that it had to be approved. If that is true, and it begins to happen too often, they could simply begin rejecting requests (tighten the bureaucratic rules).
I am beginning to change my mind on this. Now that everyone (financial writers, to be kind) has "discovered" this "secret" and are now shouting it from the roof tops. This kind of "buzz" can only end in misery. It may, very soon, become too politically untenable to be allowed to continue. Someone is bound to see this as the unwashed masses getting something for nothing and make a big stink.

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Old 02-28-2008, 02:49 PM   #24
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Now that everyone (financial writers, to be kind) has "discovered" this "secret" and are now shouting it from the roof tops.
I still wouldn't worry too much. If I stopped 200 people on the street, I'll bet that not one person will have heard about this.
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Old 02-28-2008, 03:15 PM   #25
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Someone is bound to see this as the unwashed masses getting something for nothing and make a big stink.
The Puritan's greatest fear was always that "out there somewhere, someone is having fun."
Well, hey, the rules are the same for everyone. If they want to play then they can buy a ticket too!

I'm surprised that enterprising financiers haven't figured out how to loan "Social Security payback" funds to people for a payment out of their larger SS checks. It's an interesting variation on viaticals.
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Old 02-28-2008, 03:21 PM   #26
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I still wouldn't worry too much. If I stopped 200 people on the street, I'll bet that not one person will have heard about this.
Actually, Al, it's one out of every 247.
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Old 02-28-2008, 04:25 PM   #27
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I must be missing something. If I return all the money, then die tomorrow, didn't my heirs just get screwed out of all that saved up money? How is this different than being annuitized?
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Old 02-28-2008, 04:47 PM   #28
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I must be missing something. If I return all the money, then die tomorrow, didn't my heirs just get screwed out of all that saved up money? How is this different than being annuitized?
But what if you don't die? Anyway, you are correct it is just (merely?) an "inflation-adjusted life annuity." However, it does start with a 9.5% payout on the "returned" money.

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Old 02-28-2008, 08:40 PM   #29
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At age 70 husband applies again under his record and gets benefits (1,600 per month). Her benefits are then kicked to 800 a month (1/2 of his full age 70 benefits).
I think her benefits can only go up to a maximum of 1/2 of his full retirement age (66) benefits.
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Old 02-29-2008, 05:07 AM   #30
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I think her benefits can only go up to a maximum of 1/2 of his full retirement age (66) benefits.
You may be right, but in my research on this which included the question to a SSA call center worker, indicates what I stated. Do you have a better reference? I would be interested to see it.
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Old 02-29-2008, 08:48 PM   #31
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You may be right, but in my research on this which included the question to a SSA call center worker, indicates what I stated. Do you have a better reference? I would be interested to see it.

Retirement benefits by year of birth


4. The maximum benefit for the spouse is 50% of the benefit the worker would receive at full retirement age.

Note full retirement age on this page is less that 70.
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Old 03-01-2008, 06:33 AM   #32
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Retirement benefits by year of birth


4. The maximum benefit for the spouse is 50% of the benefit the worker would receive at full retirement age.

Note full retirement age on this page is less that 70.
See the bottom of the page you provided: "Note: If you delay your benefits until after full retirement age, you also may be eligible for delayed retirement credits that would increase your monthly benefit."

Don't want to nit pick but seems in line with what I was told from the call center. Delay retirement, which withdrawal and repayment causes, since the original application is null and void, get additional credits. BTW what is the "spouse" drawing prior to your age 70 since there is no basis to determine because you are not drawing benefits. She gets benefits on her own record since that is the only one that applies, until you start drawing benefits at, or before, age 70.
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Old 03-01-2008, 09:02 AM   #33
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RWood wrote"
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Spouse (300 a month to husbands age 70 or 10 years at 300 per month = 36,000. Husband 10 years at 150 per month = 18,000. Total benefits 54,000.
RWood: Where do you get the husband at 10 years of $150/mo? I think the most the husband could do is four years from Full Retirement Age of 66 to age 70...You could also have some serious tax consequences if you are withdrawing money from an IRA to pay back a large amount..I think that this strategy is not going to be worth it for most people..IMO, it is encouraging individuals to try to get an interest free loan of a few thousand dollars and they could end up paying more than that in taxes due to the complexity of the tax rules..The worst part of the strategy is that it is encouraging higher earning husbands to start SS early..then few will ever write a check for $XX thousand at age 70..So the survivor benefit will not be passed on to the future widow..Just my opinion..
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Old 03-01-2008, 12:44 PM   #34
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See the bottom of the page you provided: "Note: If you delay your benefits until after full retirement age, you also may be eligible for delayed retirement credits that would increase your monthly benefit."

Don't want to nit pick but seems in line with what I was told from the call center. Delay retirement, which withdrawal and repayment causes, since the original application is null and void, get additional credits. BTW what is the "spouse" drawing prior to your age 70 since there is no basis to determine because you are not drawing benefits. She gets benefits on her own record since that is the only one that applies, until you start drawing benefits at, or before, age 70.
I agree your benefit benefit will increase if you delay until 70 but I don't think the spouse's benefit will increase past the maximum of 50% of your benefits at full retirement age. (~66) However i would love to be proved wrong on this.
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Old 03-01-2008, 12:44 PM   #35
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RWood wrote"

RWood: Where do you get the husband at 10 years of $150/mo? I think the most the husband could do is four years from Full Retirement Age of 66 to age 70...You could also have some serious tax consequences if you are withdrawing money from an IRA to pay back a large amount..I think that this strategy is not going to be worth it for most people..IMO, it is encouraging individuals to try to get an interest free loan of a few thousand dollars and they could end up paying more than that in taxes due to the complexity of the tax rules..The worst part of the strategy is that it is encouraging higher earning husbands to start SS early..then few will ever write a check for $XX thousand at age 70..So the survivor benefit will not be passed on to the future widow..Just my opinion..
Opps, should have said 7 years. Spouse is 3 years older, she draws $300 a month on her own record, and other he applies for benefits under HER record and gets 50%). She is 62 on day 1 of her benefits, husband is 59, and, at age 62, draws under her record until he is 70 (7 years) at which he applies under his record and hers is "kicked" to 50% of his over 70 rate. Why do you have to take money out of an IRA? Take it out of taxable money (CD's, MMA, etc.,) or maybe a HEL.

Kind of mute for me since I am 67 but I am waiting for a reply from SSA on my application to withdraw.
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Old 03-01-2008, 01:46 PM   #36
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Opps, should have said 7 years. Spouse is 3 years older, she draws $300 a month on her own record, and other he applies for benefits under HER record and gets 50%). She is 62 on day 1 of her benefits, husband is 59, and, at age 62, draws under her record until he is 70 (7 years) at which he applies under his record and hers is "kicked" to 50% of his over 70 rate. Why do you have to take money out of an IRA? Take it out of taxable money (CD's, MMA, etc.,) or maybe a HEL.

Kind of mute for me since I am 67 but I am waiting for a reply from SSA on my application to withdraw.
I would fear that the spouse would only be able to take 50% of the age 66 benefit, not 50% of the age 70 benefit. I am pretty sure that the rule for spousal benefit is a maximum of 50% of the spouses "full benefit." The definition of full benefit is the benefit at "full retirement age" as explained here: Financial Guide: SOCIAL SECURITY BENEFITS:* How To Get The Maximum Amount

It is also explained how the retirement benefit increases further with what is called "delayed retirement," but this language does not imply that the "full benefit" increases with delayed retirement, and it is the "full benefit" that the spousal benefit depends on.

I will grant that it is difficult to find clear, systematic explanations of these conditions, so if there is different information from the above, I will stand corrected.
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Old 03-01-2008, 01:58 PM   #37
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It is also explained how the retirement benefit increases further with what is called "delayed retirement," but this language does not imply that the "full benefit" increases with delayed retirement, and it is the "full benefit" that the spousal benefit depends on.
It looks as if there is no benefit increase for the spouse due to delayed retirement. Found this on SSA.gov: Benefits for your spouse

"Even if he or she has never worked under Social Security, your spouse
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