Social Security start date with younger wife

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Social Security start date with younger wife

Postby brak » Tue Aug 14, 2012 7:28 am

I am 64, my wife is 52. How would this factor effect my decision as to when to start taking SS, assuming that I don't need the SS money prior to 70. And what happens if I decide to not take SS until 70 but then die before then. Does my wife get any SS prior to her turning 62? I am the major earner in the family - my wife's SS payment when she turns 62, based on her own earning history, would be quite small. Thanks
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Re: Social Security start date with younger wife

Postby Tim_in_GA » Tue Aug 14, 2012 7:37 am

If you don't need it until 70 then I would wait until 70. That way you maximize her survivor benefit. If you die before you start taking SS I am pretty sure she still gets your survivor benefit and the amount will be reduced if she takes it before her FRA. Age 62 would be the starting point for getting anything.
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Re: Social Security start date with younger wife

Postby englishgirl » Tue Aug 14, 2012 7:50 am

As far as I'm aware, if you die before you take SS, AND the date of your death occurs before full retirement age, then she gets the full benefit she would have got had you retired at full retirement age (presumably 66). If you die between 66 and 70, then she'd get the delayed benefits up to whatever age you were when you died. Like as if you retired on the day you died. But if you die, of course you are no longer earning, so any increase in the PIA based on the high earning years you were going to be putting into the system would not take effect.

I hope that makes sense. [And is correct - I am never quite sure with SS if I've got the whole picture!]
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Re: Social Security start date with younger wife

Postby ObliviousInvestor » Tue Aug 14, 2012 8:38 am

If you die before your full retirement age and before claiming Social Security, your wife, at her full retirement age, will be eligible for a widow's benefit equal to the amount you would have received had you claimed your retirement benefit at your full retirement age. (If she claims that widow's benefit prior to her full retirement age -- and she can claim as early as 60 -- the amount she receives will be reduced.)

If you die after your full retirement age, having not yet claimed your retirement benefit, your wife, at her full retirement age, will be eligible for a widow's benefit equal to the amount you would have received had you claimed your retirement benefit at your date of death. (And, again, if she claims that widow's benefit prior to her full retirement age, the amount she receives will be reduced.)

As the higher earner in the couple, delaying your own benefit increases the amount your family will receive as long as either of the two of you is alive (once you start receiving benefits, that is), because it increases your benefit while you're alive, and it increases your wife's widow's benefit if she outlives you. Given that she's 12 years younger than you, your combined life expectancy (or whatever the appropriate actuarial term is that means "expected period of time before you both die") is significantly longer than your own life expectancy. My understanding, then, is that delaying benefits is a relatively better deal for you than it would be for unmarried people or for people with a spouse the same age.
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Re: Social Security start date with younger wife

Postby Penguin » Tue Aug 14, 2012 8:44 am

You can find the benefits here: http://www.ssa.gov/survivorplan/onyourown2.htm
You probably know people who are receiving Social Security survivors benefits because they're a widow or widower. At present, there are about 5 million widows and widowers receiving monthly Social Security benefits based on their deceased spouse's earnings record. And, for many of those survivors, particularly aged women, those benefits are keeping them out of poverty.

Your widow or widower can receive:

reduced benefits as early as age 60 or full benefits at full retirement age or older.

benefits as early as age 50 if he or she is disabled AND their disability started before or within seven years of your death.

Note: If a widow or widower who is caring for your children receives Social Security benefits, he or she is still eligible if their disability starts before those payments end or within seven years after they end.
A widow, widower or surviving divorced spouse cannot apply online for survivors benefits. However, they can get the process started by completing an Adult Disability Report before they contact us.

We use the same definition of disability for widows and widowers as we do for workers.

If your widow or widower remarries after they reach age 60 (age 50 if disabled), the remarriage will not affect their eligibility for survivors benefits.

Your widow or widower who has not remarried can receive survivors benefits at any age if she or he takes care of your child who is under age 16 or is disabled and receives benefits on your record.
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Re: Social Security start date with younger wife

Postby orlandoman » Tue Aug 14, 2012 8:52 am

Here's a factor little considered, too much is unknown, you have to consider all the factors & make a decision on when to collect:
1. use $20,000 SS benefit as example
2. you decide to wait until 70 to collect
3. you would collect $20k at 65, 66, 67, 68, 69, 70, for example
4, if you die at 69, the approx. $100k you would have collected by starting SS at 64 is gone

These are really complex decisions, based on both spouses working history, other assets, age at death, etc.
"If You Are The Smartest Person In The Room ... You Are In The Wrong Room"
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Re: Social Security start date with younger wife

Postby bberris » Tue Aug 14, 2012 1:30 pm

orlandoman wrote:Here's a factor little considered, too much is unknown, you have to consider all the factors & make a decision on when to collect:
1. use $20,000 SS benefit as example
2. you decide to wait until 70 to collect
3. you would collect $20k at 65, 66, 67, 68, 69, 70, for example
4, if you die at 69, the approx. $100k you would have collected by starting SS at 64 is gone

These are really complex decisions, based on both spouses working history, other assets, age at death, etc.


So when you are dead you will rue all the money left on the table.
Social Security is longevity insurance; the reverse of life (more accurately, death) insurance.
Here I am surviving another year and I lost the bet again with my life insurance company. I could have had $300 k if I were dead!
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Re: Social Security start date with younger wife

Postby mptfan » Tue Aug 14, 2012 1:50 pm

brak wrote:I am 64, my wife is 52.

What is your secret? :wink:
I eat risk for breakfast. :)
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Re: Social Security start date with younger wife

Postby jjustice » Tue Aug 14, 2012 5:25 pm

brak, if you love your young wife, you'll wait until 70 to take social security. She is likely to receive the widow's benefit for many years.

A somewhat harder question is when does she start her own social security, which she will get until you die? I would say at 62, since you are not likely to live long enough for her to profit from delay.

John
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