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Old 01-17-2014, 02:37 AM   #1
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Social Security

1/15/14 was my last work day. I am 65 so too old for early retirement. Applied for Medicare part B today.

I am divorced, I was married more than 10 years. I went to SS office twice now and got different answers. First one said I couldn't apply on my ex's record until I turned 66 in April. Today they said I can apply on my own record 3 months before 66 then convert to his.

So I have no income now and don't know what to do to apply. I have my marriage license and birth certificate, W2, final pay stub need to gather divorce degree.

I made pretty good money so mine might be/probably will be higher than his. If I take on his mine can grow to age 70.

I don't really need income I have money in the bank to last a few months and can sell investments but I would like some income.

What do I do now?
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Old 01-17-2014, 06:36 AM   #2
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If yours will be higher then it makes sense to apply for spousal at 66 and then switch to your own at 70 to maximize your lifetime benefit... assuming you have a long life expectancy.
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Old 01-17-2014, 06:37 AM   #3
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First of all I'm no expert on SS. However, I have a suggestion on the conflicting advice (assuming this came from 2 different people): arrange a meeting with both of them together.
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Old 01-17-2014, 07:49 AM   #4
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The more I learn about Social Security, the more I think it is the most tangled, complex thing I have ever come across.

I've repeatedly heard good things about this site, which customizes a plan for you to maximize your SS benefits:

Social Security Solutions

I believe they charge a bit, but it may be worth it.
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Old 01-17-2014, 08:33 AM   #5
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The more I learn about Social Security, the more I think it is the most tangled, complex thing I have ever come across.............
Yea, but these new programs always take a while to iron out the kinks.
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Old 01-17-2014, 08:36 AM   #6
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This is a great series of articles that have been running on PBS: On the QT: A Few More Social Security Secrets | PBS NewsHour

If you read Item number 36, you will see that what you do depends on the age of your ex-spouse. If you could afford it, waiting until your Full Retirement Age, whatever that is would be desirable.

The folks who are writing these articles say that the chance of getting accurate answers at a SS office is much less than 100%.
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Old 01-17-2014, 08:48 AM   #7
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This is a link to the SSA website and tells you what and how to apply for divorced spousal benefits:

Social Security Forms - Information You Need to Apply for Spouse's or Divorced Spouse's Benefits

My suggestion is that you collect the documents and make copies of them, because you have to send them in. Then call the 800 number. Ignore the yokels at your local office.
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Old 01-17-2014, 10:28 AM   #8
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The more I learn about Social Security, the more I think it is the most tangled, complex thing I have ever come across...
I still have a few years to even be able to claim early. Still, I have learned quite a bit from this forum and from the links that people posted.

I have scanned through the posted links that I came across, but have to bookmark them to come back to when I get to that age. If people here who can manage their own finance are having problems with SS, I wonder what the Joe and Jane Blows could do.

Additionally, private Web sites explain the intricacies far better than the SS dot gov site, which I often find not mentioning some of the obscure rules at all. Or perhaps they hide them so well in some nooks and crannies that a casual visitor to the site would have no chance of finding it.
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Old 01-17-2014, 10:53 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by old woman View Post
1/15/14 was my last work day. I am 65 so too old for early retirement. Applied for Medicare part B today.

.

So I have no income now and don't know what to do to apply. I have my marriage license and birth certificate, W2, final pay stub need to gather divorce degree.



What do I do now?
Make an appointment at local SS office .If he remarried you may need date of marriage and wife's name .You do not need the divorce decree just the date .Congratulations on retirement !
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Old 01-17-2014, 03:02 PM   #10
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I am not sure that you would want to apply now, since I think if you take spousal before your full retirement age, then if your benefits were higher you would get your benefits. If you are FRA, though, I think you can apply for spousal ONLY and get half of his and then let your own grow to age 70.
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Old 01-17-2014, 03:10 PM   #11
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I am not sure that you would want to apply now, since I think if you take spousal before your full retirement age, then if your benefits were higher you would get your benefits. If you are FRA, though, I think you can apply for spousal ONLY and get half of his and then let your own grow to age 70.
AFAIK, that is exactly right.
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Old 01-17-2014, 03:24 PM   #12
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I am not sure that you would want to apply now, since I think if you take spousal before your full retirement age, then if your benefits were higher you would get your benefits. If you are FRA, though, I think you can apply for spousal ONLY and get half of his and then let your own grow to age 70.
That is also my understanding. But, I have also heard that if the spouse applies for SS before FRA, then you can also apply for spousal benefits even if you are not FRA. But, I am not certain of this.
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Old 01-17-2014, 03:35 PM   #13
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That is also my understanding. But, I have also heard that if the spouse applies for SS before FRA, then you can also apply for spousal benefits even if you are not FRA. But, I am not certain of this.
I believe you are correct that you can apply for spousal even if not full retirement age. (I'm not sure either). However, that doesn't mean it is a good idea to do it. I believe that if you apply for spousal before your FRA you will receive the higher of the spousal benefit amount or your own benefit. That is, if you are not at FRA you can't get spousal while letting yours continue to grow. So, if you want to get spousal and let yours grow, I think you have to wait to your own FRA. Of course, if you need the benefit before FRA then you may not be able to wait.
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Old 01-17-2014, 05:16 PM   #14
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Yea, but these new programs always take a while to iron out the kinks.
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Old 01-17-2014, 06:46 PM   #15
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+1 and a with maybe some thrown in! In any case, good one.
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Old 01-17-2014, 07:43 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by old woman View Post
1/15/14 was my last work day. I am 65 so too old for early retirement. Applied for Medicare part B today.

I am divorced, I was married more than 10 years. I went to SS office twice now and got different answers. First one said I couldn't apply on my ex's record until I turned 66 in April. Today they said I can apply on my own record 3 months before 66 then convert to his.

So I have no income now and don't know what to do to apply. I have my marriage license and birth certificate, W2, final pay stub need to gather divorce degree.

I made pretty good money so mine might be/probably will be higher than his. If I take on his mine can grow to age 70.

I don't really need income I have money in the bank to last a few months and can sell investments but I would like some income.

What do I do now?
Based on what I have looked at and all the books I have read recently on Social Security, you should defer filing for Social Security until age 66 so you can continue to build on your own benefit to age 70. At Age 66 you will get the spousal benefit which will be 1/2 of your spouses normal Social Security. At age 70 you file for yours, this is very advantageous for you overall and I think as long as you can afford to wait to age 70 to claim yours you should.
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Old 01-17-2014, 11:26 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by SteveL View Post
The folks who are writing these articles say that the chance of getting accurate answers at a SS office is much less than 100%.
Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveL View Post
My suggestion is that you collect the documents and make copies of them, because you have to send them in. Then call the 800 number. Ignore the yokels at your local office.
I can't find the article right now, but as I remember calling the 800 number will get you a correct answer something like 65% of the time. And that's after they've worked to improve the process. I suspect the local yokels are probably equally as accurate.
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Old 01-18-2014, 10:00 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by old woman View Post
1/15/14 was my last work day. I am 65 so too old for early retirement. Applied for Medicare part B today.

I am divorced, I was married more than 10 years. I went to SS office twice now and got different answers. First one said I couldn't apply on my ex's record until I turned 66 in April. Today they said I can apply on my own record 3 months before 66 then convert to his.

So I have no income now and don't know what to do to apply. I have my marriage license and birth certificate, W2, final pay stub need to gather divorce degree.

I made pretty good money so mine might be/probably will be higher than his. If I take on his mine can grow to age 70.

I don't really need income I have money in the bank to last a few months and can sell investments but I would like some income.

What do I do now?
I found this information:
Quote:
1. If You Are Divorced – Your Social Security Benefits

If you are divorced, but your marriage lasted 10 years or longer, you can receive benefits on your ex-spouse's record (even if he or she has remarried).
You must also meet the following criteria:
  • You are currently unmarried.
  • You are at least age 62.
(There are exceptions to the criteria above if your ex-spouse is deceased.)
If you collect benefits based on your ex-spouse’s record, it will not reduce or affect their benefit in any way.

If your ex-spouse has not applied for retirement benefits, but can qualify for them, you may still apply as long as you meet the other criteria, and have been divorced for at least two years.
More details here:Social Security Benefits And Divorce
I would suggest looking at taking spousal benefits as above and delaying filing for your own benefits until 70.

I also recommend setting up an appointment to discuss this at your local SS office. I found that when you sit down with them face-to-face (not at the window with the bullet-proof glass), they are more helpful and knowledgeable.

I do not know how co-operative your ex has to be. If Congress has any brains (they write the laws, not SS), they do not require any.
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Old 01-18-2014, 10:10 PM   #19
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And this:
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5. When Are You Entitled To A Divorced Spouse’s Social Security Benefit?You must be age 62. (If your ex-spouse is deceased, you may be eligible at age 60.)
Your ex- spouse must be entitled to receive social security benefits, but if they have not applied for retirement benefits, but can qualify for them, you may still apply on their earnings record as long as you meet the other eligibility criteria, and have been divorced for at least two years.
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Old 01-19-2014, 04:48 PM   #20
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If you file for social security benefits before you reach full retirement age, your options will be limited. For example, if you file early, social security automatically gives you the larger of your own benefit, or a spousal (or ex-spousal) benefit. If you file early, you cannot take an ex-spouse benefit and then switch to your own benefit when you reach full retirement age.
Again do not file early unless you want to claim yours. It is almost certain that your full benefit will be larger than 1/2 your ex's benefit. By filing early you are claiming your social security and they give you 1/2 of your ex's only if it is larger. This is probably a very very very bad monetary decision in the long run.
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