Soc Sec: Does this benefit sound right?

Non-investing personal finance issues including insurance, credit, real estate, taxes, employment and legal issues such as trusts and wills

Soc Sec: Does this benefit sound right?

Postby Leesbro63 » Thu Mar 14, 2013 3:04 pm

Question regarding SS benefits for my elderly aunt, age 100 (with no kids...not relevant, but as background). Her husband, my uncle, age 96 died recently. They were married in 1954 but never had kids. Neither of them were ever married before. I am their representative, although their assets have long ago been depleted.

Uncle worked from 1936 to 1950, with a break to serve in WW2, in the private sector and, I assume, paid into SS. In 1950 he began working as a Civil Servant for the Federal Government and quit paying into SS. He retired in 1980 and has been receiving a nice pension, with an annual inflation adjustment, with a 50% survivor's benefit that Auntie will soon start getting. Auntie never worked outside the home, either before or after marriage. Until his death, he received $384 per month and she $242. I applied (on Auntie's behalf) for survivor's benefits. Today the letter she received said this: "We checked to see if you could receive any other Social Security benefit on <Uncle's first and last name> record. We found that the benefit we are paying you now is the only one you can receive" Then all the usual "yada yada yada" language about "if you think we are wrong" and how to appeal etc.

The truth of the matter is whatever she does or doesn't get goes to her Assisted Living Home anyway, so it really doesn't make much difference (although it does to the Home). She's been there 13 years and their "deal" is after 5 they keep you for whatever income you have. But I do want to be sure she gets whatever she is supposed to from SS. The Assisted Living Home has been very fair and the care has been excellent (hence making it to ages 96 and 100). So I do want them to have whatever she is entitled to. Auntie did receive the $255 death benefit for Uncle last week, confirming the letter received today that they did process his death claim and look at her survivor eligibility.

Does this appear to be right? I sort of assumed she's get the $384 that Uncle received.
User avatar
Leesbro63
 
Posts: 3656
Joined: Mon Nov 08, 2010 5:36 pm

Re: Soc Sec: Does this benefit sound right?

Postby Epsilon Delta » Thu Mar 14, 2013 3:19 pm

In this situation the "Government Pension Offset" would apply. I don't know enough about this to say if the results you mention are unreasonable or not. Is there somebody at the assisted living facility you could talk to? They have a vested interest in getting the maximum from SS and presumably have some sharp people who understand this on staff or retainer.

http://www.ssa.gov/pubs/10007.html
User avatar
Epsilon Delta
 
Posts: 3440
Joined: Thu Apr 28, 2011 8:00 pm

Re: Soc Sec: Does this benefit sound right?

Postby Leesbro63 » Thu Mar 14, 2013 3:25 pm

ED,

Thank you so much for that link. YUP! That explains it. I never had a clue about this law but it's exactly what's going on. Thanks again!
User avatar
Leesbro63
 
Posts: 3656
Joined: Mon Nov 08, 2010 5:36 pm

Re: Soc Sec: Does this benefit sound right?

Postby pac627 » Fri Mar 15, 2013 12:39 pm

I don’t believe the GPO applies in this case. It does not apply to the survivor annuitant unless she was also employed by the Federal government and earned a civil service pension. Otherwise she is entitled to all the benefits under SS and the CSRS annuity. OP said Auntie never worked outside the home. Therefore SHE never worked for the Federal Government. If you look at SSA Pub 05-10007, http://www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/10007.html#a0=3, and refer to the link that says “When won’t my Social Security benefits be reduced”, it says
“Generally, your Social Security benefits as a spouse, widow or widower will not be reduced if you:
· Are receiving a government pension that is not based on your earnings
The survivors government pension she receives is based on her husband’s earnings, not hers.
pac627
 
Posts: 9
Joined: Tue May 22, 2012 8:30 am

Re: Soc Sec: Does this benefit sound right?

Postby Leesbro63 » Fri Mar 15, 2013 2:25 pm

Thanks for that too. So I'm back to wondering if Auntie should get a little more? I sent a PM to SSCRITIC, but he has not responded and I haven't seen him around here lately.
User avatar
Leesbro63
 
Posts: 3656
Joined: Mon Nov 08, 2010 5:36 pm

Re: Soc Sec: Does this benefit sound right?

Postby sscritic » Fri Mar 15, 2013 2:55 pm

Leesbro63 wrote:Thanks for that too. So I'm back to wondering if Auntie should get a little more? I sent a PM to SSCRITIC, but he has not responded and I haven't seen him around here lately.

Disneyland with grandchild takes precedence.
sscritic
 
Posts: 21863
Joined: Thu Sep 06, 2007 9:36 am

Re: Soc Sec: Does this benefit sound right?

Postby Leesbro63 » Fri Mar 15, 2013 4:14 pm

Have a great time, SSCritic. And Criticjr!
User avatar
Leesbro63
 
Posts: 3656
Joined: Mon Nov 08, 2010 5:36 pm

Re: Soc Sec: Does this benefit sound right?

Postby Leesbro63 » Fri Mar 22, 2013 9:50 am

UPDATE: Thanks to you guys, I decided to appeal and won! And surprisingly SS received my appeal form and acted on it in just 3 days! SS now agrees that because Auntie is receiving a survivor's pension based on NOT HER OWN employment, they goofed and she's entitled to another $142 per month to bring her up to what Uncle used to get. Thank you SSCritic, PAC627 and Epsilon Delta. And my aunt's assisted living home thanks you too. Contrary to some common feelings about having to pay long-term care institutions, these guys have been great and I'm happy to be sure they are getting whatever they are supposed to get.
User avatar
Leesbro63
 
Posts: 3656
Joined: Mon Nov 08, 2010 5:36 pm

Re: Soc Sec: Does this benefit sound right?

Postby pac627 » Tue Apr 16, 2013 4:54 pm

Good to hear you were successful. Congratulations, your aunt is lucky to have you looking after her interests.
pac627
 
Posts: 9
Joined: Tue May 22, 2012 8:30 am

Re: Soc Sec: Does this benefit sound right?

Postby Leesbro63 » Tue Apr 16, 2013 5:25 pm

pac627 wrote:Good to hear you were successful. Congratulations, your aunt is lucky to have you looking after her interests.


Thanks.
User avatar
Leesbro63
 
Posts: 3656
Joined: Mon Nov 08, 2010 5:36 pm

Re: Soc Sec: Does this benefit sound right?

Postby robertalpert » Tue Apr 16, 2013 6:37 pm

Leesbro63 wrote: Auntie did receive the $255 death benefit for Uncle last week, confirming the letter received today that they did process his death claim and look at her survivor eligibility.

Does this appear to be right? I sort of assumed she's get the $384 that Uncle received.



Death benefit is one time pmt of the $255. Survivor's is not the same as death benefit. Her suvivor's benefit may well be the $384 going forward. She will probably receive a subsequent document from social security about her suvivor's benefit going forward.
robertalpert
 
Posts: 304
Joined: Wed Aug 22, 2007 11:09 pm

Re: Soc Sec: Does this benefit sound right?

Postby Leesbro63 » Tue Apr 16, 2013 7:19 pm

robertalpert, you are behind the curve on this thread. Read my (I am the original poster) update, 3 replies above.
User avatar
Leesbro63
 
Posts: 3656
Joined: Mon Nov 08, 2010 5:36 pm

Re: Soc Sec: Does this benefit sound right?

Postby robertalpert » Tue Apr 16, 2013 10:52 pm

Leesbro63 wrote:robertalpert, you are behind the curve on this thread. Read my (I am the original poster) update, 3 replies above.



Oops, my bad. Glad it turned out well.
robertalpert
 
Posts: 304
Joined: Wed Aug 22, 2007 11:09 pm


Return to Personal Finance (Not Investing)

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: d0gerz, Gill, health teacher, IlliniDave, imada84 and 18 guests