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A Social Security Question...
Old 10-22-2023, 09:53 AM   #1
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A Social Security Question...

I have a question for those who have already filed for SS. In early September, my wife and I submitted our applications via mySSA.gov to start our Social Security benefit in December (so that 1st SS payments arrive in January). My wife does not qualify for SS on her own record thus she noted in her application that she was claiming a spousal benefit on my work record. She is 2 years younger than me and we waited until she reached FRA prior to submitting our applications.
3 days ago, my wife received a notice to check a message on her mySSA account. When looked at her account, there was a notice that her claim had been denied, and that she would receive an explanation for her denial in 10-15 days. My account showed my application still in process. Without an explanation, we can only speculate as to reason for denial. I'm wondering if this is a denial of a claim on her own work record, and there would a subsequent approval once my claim is processed. What has been the experience of others on this forum in regards to spousal benefit claims? If your spouse's claim was denied, what was the reason?



[I will note that my own work record exceeds 35 years. My wife and I have been married more than 40 years, and a copy of our marriage certificate is in the system as we had to provide that for her Medicare application 2 years ago. So I don't think the reason for denial is related to issues regarding my work record or our marriage.]
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Old 10-22-2023, 10:26 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Southern Geek View Post
I have a question for those who have already filed for SS. In early September, my wife and I submitted our applications via mySSA.gov to start our Social Security benefit in December (so that 1st SS payments arrive in January). My wife does not qualify for SS on her own record thus she noted in her application that she was claiming a spousal benefit on my work record. She is 2 years younger than me and we waited until she reached FRA prior to submitting our applications.
3 days ago, my wife received a notice to check a message on her mySSA account. When looked at her account, there was a notice that her claim had been denied, and that she would receive an explanation for her denial in 10-15 days. My account showed my application still in process. Without an explanation, we can only speculate as to reason for denial. I'm wondering if this is a denial of a claim on her own work record, and there would a subsequent approval once my claim is processed. What has been the experience of others on this forum in regards to spousal benefit claims? If your spouse's claim was denied, what was the reason?



[I will note that my own work record exceeds 35 years. My wife and I have been married more than 40 years, and a copy of our marriage certificate is in the system as we had to provide that for her Medicare application 2 years ago. So I don't think the reason for denial is related to issues regarding my work record or our marriage.]
Look carefully at the denial letter and see if there is her own social security number maybe up in the right hand area of the letter. If there is an "A" after it, it could be they were just showing she is denied on her own record. If it has your number with maybe a "B" after it, this could indicate a claim on your record and there could be some other reason for the denial.

Regardless, this can be handled with a phone call to your local office and they can direct you as to your next step. They also might be able to see online that reason for denial letter before you get it since mailings can take some time.
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Old 10-22-2023, 10:34 AM   #3
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Your wife canot be approved for spousal until you are approved. Once you are approved she will need to file again.
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Old 11-12-2023, 09:26 AM   #4
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A Follow-up to my original inquiry:
After more than 15 days, we had not received a letter of explanation regarding my wife's denial. We were planning to call SSA when I received an e-mail from SSA asking that my wife and I call a specific agent within 48 hours so that they complete our claim for benefits. We called next morning, and after verifying our identities, the agent explained that she was processing both my claim, and my wife's claim for spousal benefits. We told her that my wife had received a notification that her claim had been denied, but had not yet received the letter with explanation. The agent stated that my wife had received a denial because she did not qualify for benefits on her own work record. The system then determined that she qualified for spousal benefits on my work record and our claims were then linked for processing. The agent didn't know why my wife had not received letter yet, but it was moot as wife claim for spousal benefit would be approved. She then asked each of us some rote questions and then to verbally attest that the information on our applications was true and correct. After that, she said our claims were approved and the Benefit Letters would be posted to our mySSA accounts on 1DEC.
Since we have been making quarterly payments for Medicare and were currently paid thru end of year, I asked if I could ignore the Medicare bill for the next quarter since the premiums would be deducted from the January benefit payments. The agent said yes. She didn't think we would receive bill for next quarter, but "shred it" if we did.
Finally, I asked about process to file form to deduct FWT from benefit payments. Agent stated that because our applications were still open in her system, she could go ahead and include the FWT deduction from our benefits. She gave us a choice of marginal tax rates to choose from and entered our selection in the system. She stated that if our claim had been closed already, we would have had to file forms. [I was surprised that asking about FWT is not a standard part of this process, just to save time and paperwork all around.] She then gave us a summary of our first benefit payments for January, before and after deductions.

The entire phone call lasted less than 15 minutes.
I realized a day later that I should have asked her to verify my understanding of timing of payment adjustments for my Delayed Retirement Credits (DRC). As of 1DEC when I commence my benefit I would have accumulated 23 months DRC, but my understanding is the January benefit payment would only include DRC accumulated thru December of last year (and the benefit summary she provided for Jan payment is consistent with this understanding). Subsequent payments would be adjusted upwards to include the months of DRC accumulated in 2023, and the February payment would include a one-time retroactive adjustment for the additional DRC benefit not paid in January. I may give the agent a call next week unless someone on this forum confirms my understanding before then.
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Old 11-12-2023, 10:44 AM   #5
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You may be overly optimistic on the timing to receive payment for your additional DRC credits. I started SS in Nov of 2021 with first payment in Dec 2021. My FRA was at 66 years while my start of SS was at 68 years, 5 months. I assumed the DRC catchup would happen in Jan 2022 with first payment to include all DRCs in Feb 2022.

I did not receive the DRC credits for my 10 months of 2021 until Aug of 2023 at which time I received a direct deposit for all back payments due in a lump sum minus my Federal Tax deduction. I also received the normal letter detailing all payments made along with my new monthly payment with deductions. It all added up to the dollar what I had calculated my payments should be at each step along the way. I just hadn't counted on such a long delay before the start of payments for my last year of DRCs. Live and learn.
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Old 11-12-2023, 11:05 AM   #6
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Finally, I asked about process to file form to deduct FWT from benefit payments. Agent stated that because our applications were still open in her system, she could go ahead and include the FWT deduction from our benefits. She gave us a choice of marginal tax rates to choose from and entered our selection in the system. She stated that if our claim had been closed already, we would have had to file forms. [I was surprised that asking about FWT is not a standard part of this process, just to save time and paperwork all around.] She then gave us a summary of our first benefit payments for January, before and after deductions.
+1, thank you for sharing your experience as I will be applying soon as well and learned a few things from your posts.

I am still wondering about FWT as well, I would prefer to have maximum FWT (22%?) from my first SS payment, and was wondering how to make that happen. I was afraid FWT wasn't part of the application process, and you've confirmed for me. So I guess I need to send in a W-4V but not sure if there's a way to make it all happen with the first SS payment? Maybe apply online, and then take my W-4V to the Soc Sec brick-n-mortar office soon after, before it's been approved? Like you've said, it should be part of the initial application IMO.
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Old 11-12-2023, 11:26 AM   #7
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When I went through the application process online, I didn't find any way to make a FWT selection. I waited for my approval and then submitted the W-4V. My withholding selection was effective on my first payment.
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Old 11-12-2023, 04:21 PM   #8
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+1, thank you for sharing your experience as I will be applying soon as well and learned a few things from your posts.

I am still wondering about FWT as well, I would prefer to have maximum FWT (22%?) from my first SS payment, and was wondering how to make that happen. I was afraid FWT wasn't part of the application process, and you've confirmed for me. So I guess I need to send in a W-4V but not sure if there's a way to make it all happen with the first SS payment? Maybe apply online, and then take my W-4V to the Soc Sec brick-n-mortar office soon after, before it's been approved? Like you've said, it should be part of the initial application IMO.

If you have not yet submitted a claim, then you should be able to do same as I and request FWT be deducted from first payment when an agent contacts you to complete your claim. Basically, to complete our claim, the agent needed to record our verbal oath attesting that the information in the claim was true and correct, after asking us each a number of questions to verify our identity. I would assume that they have to obtain this oath for every claim submitted via mySSA. And, apparently, asking about FWT is not a part of the script, so they don't volunteer that they have the capability. The agent will ask you to select a withholding from 7%, 10%, 12%, 22%, or 24%.


[Addendum] Now I think about it, the agent may have called us to get our oath because we were applying for a spousal benefit (perhaps a required step due to the amount of fraud related to spousal benefit claims) and agents don't call individuals who are making a claim on their own record unless there is an issue with the claim.
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Old 11-12-2023, 04:38 PM   #9
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...

I did not receive the DRC credits for my 10 months of 2021 until Aug of 2023 at which time I received a direct deposit for all back payments due in a lump sum minus my Federal Tax deduction. I also received the normal letter detailing all payments made along with my new monthly payment with deductions. It all added up to the dollar what I had calculated my payments should be at each step along the way. I just hadn't counted on such a long delay before the start of payments for my last year of DRCs. Live and learn.

And yet, if one applies at age 70, the 1st payment would include all DRC regardless of the month that the benefit commenced. Or if one commences benefit prior to FRA, the 1st payment will be for the correct reduced amount regardless of month benefit commences. Only those who elect to commence their benefit between FRA and 70 have to put up with this arcane accounting.
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Old 11-13-2023, 10:50 AM   #10
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And yet, if one applies at age 70, the 1st payment would include all DRC regardless of the month that the benefit commenced. Or if one commences benefit prior to FRA, the 1st payment will be for the correct reduced amount regardless of month benefit commences. Only those who elect to commence their benefit between FRA and 70 have to put up with this arcane accounting.
Like I said, live and learn. After all, it's the government. I thought I had it all figured out only to learn yet another life lesson.
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Old 11-13-2023, 09:41 PM   #11
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Southern Geek, I just recently went through the same entire ordeal with my Medicare application. In my case I never paid into SS or Medicare because I was a government employee and when I was hired in 1981 my employer didn't belong to the SS system. (it joined later)

Luckily I knew I'd be covered by my wife's work history. It literally took me 3 months and hours of phone calls and office visits to finally get my Medicare card. Complete joke, you would have thought I was the very first person to apply for medicare coverage under a spouse.

SS is just as screwed up as the IRS and unfortunately there's no place to turn to when you have issues.
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Old 11-17-2023, 10:07 AM   #12
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Southern Geek, I just recently went through the same entire ordeal with my Medicare application. In my case I never paid into SS or Medicare because I was a government employee and when I was hired in 1981 my employer didn't belong to the SS system. (it joined later)

Luckily I knew I'd be covered by my wife's work history. It literally took me 3 months and hours of phone calls and office visits to finally get my Medicare card. Complete joke, you would have thought I was the very first person to apply for medicare coverage under a spouse.

SS is just as screwed up as the IRS and unfortunately there's no place to turn to when you have issues.

Here's a link to a tale of woe I posted last year that described my spouse's ordeal to get Medicare under my work history. Fortunately, we experienced none of the same obstacles when she applied for SS. She was able to complete SS application online, and was approved with no office visits required. I would postulate it was because she had already been approved for Medicare.
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Old 11-17-2023, 11:15 AM   #13
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On a related note. If you turn 70 on March 15, what month should you optimally submit your SS application? January, February, or before that? When would benefits start? April?
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Old 11-17-2023, 11:21 AM   #14
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IIRC, the MySS site says up to 4 months before claiming. SS is in arrears, so April. The deposit will hit depending on your birthday. March 1-10: second Wednesday, March 11-20: third Wednesday, March 21-31: fourth Wednesday.
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Old 11-17-2023, 12:12 PM   #15
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On a related note. If you turn 70 on March 15, what month should you optimally submit your SS application? January, February, or before that? When would benefits start? April?
When you apply, on the form, you can state when you want either the effective month or the month you want to receive a check. Sorry, I can't remember which, but one or the other are options.
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Old 11-17-2023, 02:45 PM   #16
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So in April you would get your first SS check, which would be the March amount.

And you can sign up 4 months ahead for March which would be November of the prior year?

Just have to make sure that the effective month is March so that you get the amount due for age 70, not 69?
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Old 11-18-2023, 08:52 AM   #17
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Lots of really good information here. Thanks everyone for contributing!
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Old 11-18-2023, 01:45 PM   #18
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Is there a benefit to having FWT withheld from your SS payment if you have to make quarterly payments for investment income?
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Old 11-18-2023, 02:28 PM   #19
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SS is just as screwed up as the IRS and unfortunately there's no place to turn to when you have issues.
The office of your member of the House of Representatives (or US Senator) is generally the place to turn when you have an issue with a Federal agency that you can't resolve yourself.
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Old 11-18-2023, 09:02 PM   #20
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Is there a benefit to having FWT withheld from your SS payment if you have to make quarterly payments for investment income?
We donít plan to. Just seems like another tracking complication.
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