13 Replies Latest reply on Sep 10, 2010 11:24 AM by TomB

    Spousal benefit

    bbapp
      I'm married - about 65 and intend to keep working for a while. My husband retired at 62.  I read in AARP about collecting spousal benefits - but am not clear if I can collect the spousal benefits and keep working. Since my benefits will increase quite a bit if I wait until I'm 70 to collect.  I'd stop by a SSN office, but I work in Manhattan, where I don't imagine the wait is 0 minutes.   Has anyone done this? Our plan would be for me to collect the spousal benefits at 66 (they will be less than my benefits would be), I want to keep working until I'm almost 68 (I work at a University and the lowest impact is to retire at the end of a school year). I would bank the benefits to supplement the benefits for the two years and 2 months until I turn 70.  Then I would collect my benefits instead of the spousal benefits.
      Again, has anyone done this or have comments?  I have time to consider all the options, so all suggestions are welcome. Including why the heck would you keep working?
        • Re: Spousal benefit

          I am 67 and still work. My wife retired at age 62 and I filed for spousal benefit on my wifes earnings. My own SS benefits will keep growing until age 70.

          I am now filing for my own benefits to increase my wife's benefits but will then cancell my benefits so that it will continue to grow. My wife will get to keep the increased payment even after I cancell my benefit.

          Not sure if I can then continue to collect on wife's benefits after I cancell my benefit?

           

          • Re: Spousal benefit
            itinerant1
            I'm divorced, but since I was married long enough to qualify for spousal benefits, when I turned 66 I applied based on my former husband's earnings.  I still work and will continue working for as long as my health allows because I can't afford not to work.  My plan is to continue collecting on my former husband's earnings (I get half, which is only a few dollars less than my full benefit) until I turn 70, when I will change to collecting on my own earnings and maybe switch to working part-time.  It was really difficult digging out the information that collecting this way is possible, but it is worth the hassle.  I can live on my income as long as nothing drastic happens, so I bank all the money I receive from Social Security.  Of course, I have to pay taxes on that money, so I have them take the taxes out before they send me a check.  Hope this information helps.
              • Re: Spousal benefit
                My former husband is 3 years younger than me and I was thinking of doing what you're doing....collecting on his earnings when I turn 62, and then collect on my earnings later. But when I turn 62, he'll only be 59. Do you know if it's based on his age, not mine? Meaning I'll have to wait until I'm 65 to collect on his, because he'll be of retirement age then. SS wasn't clear on that when I called.
                • Re: Spousal benefit
                  anewme
                  This topic is facinating to me...my husband is 64 & retired collecting SS.  I am 60 & still working but wonder if I might be eligible for spousal benefits and just don't know it.  Would love to know more about this...can anyone out there point me in the right direction??  Thanks a bunch for sharing your wisdom :-)
                    • Re: Spousal benefit
                      anewme
                      Sorry guys for the redundant questions...I found the answers just by going to the SS.gov website cited in an earlier post.  Thanks anyway.
                        • Re: Spousal benefit
                          Perry
                          I am now 72 and have been taking social security since I reached full retirement age.  My wife is 4 years younger and decided to wait until age 70 to begin receiving payments.  She is still working and has her own social security account.  What we did not realize until a few days ago is that when she reached her full retirement age she could have begun taking the spousal benefit (1/2 of my payment) and then switched over at age 70 to her personal payment which is larger.  Now that we have discovered this, she has filed to receive the spousal benefit for the next two years.  But we lost out on 2 years of payments because we did not know about this benefit. 
                    • Re: Spousal benefit
                      bbapp said...



                      I read in AARP about collecting spousal benefits - but am not clear if I can collect the spousal benefits and keep working.

                      I had also read in AARP about this same option.  My husband is planning to sign up for SS at 66. He is currently receiving his pension.  I am 62 and retired but not collecting.  We are trying to determine what is possible for obtaining the best from the SS benefits. Is it possible to take spousal benefits and then canceling and taking ones own?  We have a couple months before we approach this decision. 

                      I would appreciate any assistance or comments.

                        • Re: Spousal benefit
                          LindaWoodstock
                          I too have read much conflicting information about the spousal benefit--Kiplinger's has had a lot of great articles over the past year, although some contradicting previous articles--I have challenged them to clarify the inconsistencies but all they say is they'll submit my questions to the editors.  Consumer Reports Money Advisor and Money Magazine have also had frequent articles, but I can't find the consistency.  I think that speaks to the complicated and little-known rules within SSA that help you legally skirt certain common conceptions.  If you have a CFP, start there, go the SSA office repeatedly talking to different customer service reps and see how many different stories you get & then get every publication they reference & try to sort it out yourself.  Also, get a CPA who may be knowledgeable--get a reference from someone who may represent your similar ages & circumstances, otherwise the referral might not lead you to the right CPA.  I hunger for one reliable source that knows the SSA rules & regs forwards & backwards.  Good luck.
                          • Re: Spousal benefit
                            TomB
                            Go to www.socialsecurity.gov and explore. There are many things to learn there, right from the horse's proverbial mouth (or website). Specifically, try http://www.socialsecurity.gov/retire2/yourspouse.htm

                            For individualized questions, you may try the toll-free number to ask your specific questions, but you may need to have your spouse with you to get the answers to your question(s).

                            If all else fails, you might try asking for an appointment with a claims representative at your local office.


                              • Re: Spousal benefit
                                JerryD
                                TomB said...

                                     
                                          Go to www.socialsecurity.gov and explore. There are many things to learn there, right from the horse's proverbial mouth (or website). Specifically, try http://www.socialsecurity.gov/retire2/yourspouse.htm

                                For individualized questions, you may try the toll-free number to ask your specific questions, but you may need to have your spouse with you to get the answers to your question(s).

                                If all else fails, you might try asking for an appointment with a claims representative at your local office.


                                     
                                                

                                I agree with all of this advice. But I would also make sure that I visit the SS office as many times as it takes to convince me that I understand the options and that I am making a decision that is right for me.

                                Investigating my own SS and through many discussions with friends in different situations, I believe that there is much about SS that is not well understood or explained. It seems like a new aspect always pops up that one never heard of before. The SS law is complex. Understand it before jumping.

                            • Re: Spousal benefit
                              TomB
                              Go to the website www.socialsecurity.gov and explore. There are 'break even" calculators that illustrate at what point waiting yields more than not. Keep in mind that you could invest what you don't spend up to that point and set that point further into the future.
                              Tom B.