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Social Security Spousal Benefits Question
Old 03-11-2019, 11:26 AM   #1
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Social Security Spousal Benefits Question

I thought I had a good handle on the calculation of spousal benefits, but ran across something today that left me with new questions. I hope I can word this in a way that makes sense.

I plan to apply for my social security benefits early at age 62, with reduced benefits around $600 per month.

Five years later, my wife will take her social security early at age 62, with reduced benefits around $1500 per month. Her full retirement age benefit is around $2000 per month.

I won't be eligible for spousal benefits until she applies for her own benefits, so I will be 67 when she applies for her benefits at 62.

Will my spousal benefit be around $650 (32.71% of her FRA) since I filed for my own benefits early at age 62, or will my spousal benefit be around $1000 (50% of her FRA) since I will be 67 when she files at 62?

Social Security says you are "deemed" for all benefits you are eligible for when you apply. So I assumed I would receive the former $650 spousal benefit when my wife applies since I applied for my own benefits early. Is that correct?
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Old 03-11-2019, 02:56 PM   #2
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Check this out with SS, but here is what we were told (and what happened to us.) You will receive the higher of your benefit at that time - (5 years hence) OR half your DW's benefit REDUCED because you took your benefit at 62. In our case, even though DW got much less than half my @70 benefit, her benefit (on her record) was MORE than half mine REDUCED because she started at 62. Hope this is accurate (it is for us - so I REALLY hope it's accurate). Again ask the experts at SS. Spend an hour with them. It's worth the time (and trouble) but YMMV.
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Old 03-11-2019, 05:12 PM   #3
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Koolau is correct. You will receive a reduced amount because when you first filed for SS you were less than full retirement age.
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Old 03-12-2019, 10:15 AM   #4
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I got spanked last time for suggesting this on this board, but the spanking did not include a correction for why it is wrong (thus I still think its right).
I oversimplified spousal benefits into the following rules:
1. Spousal benefits (lower earner) are always a % of the higher earners PIA/FRA benefit, 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/FRA 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.


Based on this, the OP "spousal benefit be around $650 (32.71% of her FRA) since I filed for my own benefits early at age 62".
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Old 08-13-2019, 06:09 PM   #5
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2. Spousal benefit can not start until the higher earner starts their benefits.
3. Spousal benefits max at 50% of the higher earners PIA/FRA benefit when the spouse delays collecting any benefits until spouse reaches their FRA.
So as I read this, if my spouse is eligible for 50% of my PIA/FRA (assume larger than her PIA) and this amount will not increase, she still cannot start collecting it at her FRA if I elect to defer and must wait until I start my benefit.

I realize that it is all probably actuarially equivalent but is my reading of this correct?
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Old 08-13-2019, 06:45 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by timbervest View Post
So as I read this, if my spouse is eligible for 50% of my PIA/FRA (assume larger than her PIA) and this amount will not increase, she still cannot start collecting it at her FRA if I elect to defer and must wait until I start my benefit.

I realize that it is all probably actuarially equivalent but is my reading of this correct?
That is correct. BUT, I believe she can file for her own at her own full retirement age and then when you file she will be able to switch over to spousal at that time since she will not be eligible until then - so deemed filing wouldn't come into play.
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Old 11-04-2020, 11:49 AM   #7
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Here's a recent column from Tom Margenau who give SS advice. It's titled SS and Women, but obviously the advices applies to men also. Folks new to SS might find some of this information interesting and even useful:

https://www.creators.com/read/your-s...=subscriptions

Here's an example:

Quote:
Q: I've always been told that a wife gets half of her husband's Social Security. But I'm getting nowhere near that. My husband gets $1,850, and I only get $740.



A: This is probably the most common question I get from women. The 50% spousal rate applies to a woman who waits until her full retirement age to start her benefits. But I will bet my next Social Security check that you started your benefits somewhere between age 62 and 63. And that's why you are getting a smaller amount. The rate for spousal benefits can be as low as about 33% if they are taken at age 62.
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Old 11-04-2020, 12:50 PM   #8
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My wife collected her SS at her FRA+1. I am going to collect mine at 70 yo, is she going to get half of what I collect at 70 or just half of what I would get at FRA?

Thanks.
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Old 11-04-2020, 01:23 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chuckanut View Post
Here's a recent column from Tom Margenau who give SS advice. It's titled SS and Women, but obviously the advices applies to men also. Folks new to SS might find some of this information interesting and even useful:

https://www.creators.com/read/your-s...=subscriptions

Here's an example:
This guys is an expert? That answer is incomplete..part answers just confuse people.
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Old 11-04-2020, 01:25 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by neihn View Post
My wife collected her SS at her FRA+1. I am going to collect mine at 70 yo, is she going to get half of what I collect at 70 or just half of what I would get at FRA?

Thanks.
You must have read that incomplete answer from the expert....it's the former if your spouse is at her FRA. She will get more money only if her spousal benefit is higher then her own benefit/
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Old 11-04-2020, 01:40 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by neihn View Post
My wife collected her SS at her FRA+1. I am going to collect mine at 70 yo, is she going to get half of what I collect at 70 or just half of what I would get at FRA?

Thanks.
That maximum spousal amount if she is at or beyond full retirement age (which you say she is) is 50% of your PIA, and only if that is more than her own benefit. For survivor, she would get 100% of what you get at age 70 (assuming you live to age 70).
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Old 11-04-2020, 03:55 PM   #12
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That maximum spousal amount if she is at or beyond full retirement age (which you say she is) is 50% of your PIA, and only if that is more than her own benefit. For survivor, she would get 100% of what you get at age 70 (assuming you live to age 70).
Thanks.
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Old 11-04-2020, 03:57 PM   #13
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You must have read that incomplete answer from the expert....it's the former if your spouse is at her FRA. She will get more money only if her spousal benefit is higher then her own benefit/
Thanks.
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Old 11-04-2020, 05:55 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by neihn View Post
My wife collected her SS at her FRA+1. I am going to collect mine at 70 yo, is she going to get half of what I collect at 70 or just half of what I would get at FRA?

Thanks.
Assuming that the benefit based on her own work record is less than half of yours she would get 1/2 of your PIA (FRA amount)... technically the benefit based on her own work record plus a spousal benefit for the difference between her PIA and 1/2 of your PIA.

When you say FRA+1 what do you mean? FRA + 1 year or FRA + 1 day?
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Old 11-04-2020, 08:58 PM   #15
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When you say FRA+1 what do you mean? FRA + 1 year or FRA + 1 day?
Thanks. That is plus 1 year.
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Old 11-04-2020, 09:18 PM   #16
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My spouse got 50% of what I got when I started to draw. And that was computed at the amount I was entitled to at FRA. BUT I didn't start taking mine until 6 months or so after my FRA. When the SS adm got around to computing what I really should be getting (FRA plus the increase for waiting an additional 6 months) and made the 'catch-up" adjustment my spouse's amount DID NOT increase. I called and asked about it.

They confirmed that he was only entitled to 50% of my amount at FRA, NOT 50% of what I was getting because I delayed taking it.
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Old 11-05-2020, 07:45 AM   #17
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You must have read that incomplete answer from the expert....it's the former if your spouse is at her FRA. She will get more money only if her spousal benefit is higher then her own benefit/
You are confusing it even more. Spousal Benefit is with both spouses living, so it is the latter, not former. It is the former if it is Spousal Survivor benefits. And while Spousal benefits depend on when each one files relative to their FRA, Survivor benefits does not. The Survivor will receive the larger of their own or what the deceased spouse was receiving.
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Old 11-05-2020, 08:53 AM   #18
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You are confusing it even more. Spousal Benefit is with both spouses living, so it is the latter, not former. It is the former if it is Spousal Survivor benefits. And while Spousal benefits depend on when each one files relative to their FRA, Survivor benefits does not. The Survivor will receive the larger of their own or what the deceased spouse was receiving.
I'm not confused this tread is about spousal, not survivor..but you do have a good grasp of how it works. Except for the fact that spousal amount has nothing to do with what age the primary spouse files for their own benefit. The primary spouse must file before a spousal benefit can be claimed. Your statement that the amount of spousal benefit is pegged to the age that the primary person CLAIMS their benefit isn't correct.
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