Changes to Social Security

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etarini
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Re: Changes to Social Security

Post by etarini » Tue Nov 03, 2015 4:02 pm

ObliviousInvestor wrote:I do admit that I'm looking forward to taking some time off to go climbing after finishing the project though.
Yes, I agree with the previous posts - the volume (and quality) of your responses has been nothing short of phenomenal. You have done SO much for SO many! I thought we'd lost $60,000, but you patiently helped me see that, after all, you only need ONE person to file-and-suspend - not both spouses. That was a "Well, duh!" moment afterward, but I wasn't seeing it until you stepped in.

If it's any consolation for all the time you spent on this, think of how much more work Kotlikoff and his crew will have to do to update his tome - and he'll have to dig up some new scary stories - that takes even more time!

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Eric

Norton750
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Re: Changes to Social Security

Post by Norton750 » Tue Nov 03, 2015 6:49 pm

My situation (just squeaking in before the door slams shut):

DW’s FRA is in 2/2019 (she is now 62), my FRA is in 3/2016 (I am now 65). We will both delay taking our own SS benefits until we turn 70.

As long as I file and suspend after reaching my FRA and before the end of the new law’s 180-day deadline to F&S, DW will be able to make a restricted application for her spousal benefits at her FRA and collect them for four years until she claims her own benefit at age 70.

Sound correct?

dollarsaver
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Re: Changes to Social Security

Post by dollarsaver » Tue Nov 03, 2015 7:05 pm

classicjazzfan wrote:
yorkpond wrote:I thought that when one collects SS Disability, the other spouse cannot file a restricted app. This law went into effect Dec 2014. Please advise. Thanks
Yorkpond:

My wife is older than I. Under my now moot original plan, by the time I submitted my restricted application at 66, she would have been 67 and thus transitioned from SSDI to regular SS retirement.
I am pretty sure if one received SSDI and even transitions into regular SS, they cannot do a restricted app. All SSDI would have to paid back. You can do a restricted app only. My wife and I have the same problem and the SS software company we hired confirmed this.

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Re: Changes to Social Security

Post by LadyGeek » Tue Nov 03, 2015 7:06 pm

As noted by tadamsmar in: Re: Consolidated 2016 Medicare Part B Increase thread

The bill has become law: H.R.1314 - Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015
11/02/2015 Became Public Law No: 114-74.
Wiki To some, the glass is half full. To others, the glass is half empty. To an engineer, it's twice the size it needs to be.

dollarsaver
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Re: Changes to Social Security

Post by dollarsaver » Tue Nov 03, 2015 7:13 pm

etarini wrote:
ObliviousInvestor wrote:I do admit that I'm looking forward to taking some time off to go climbing after finishing the project though.
Yes, I agree with the previous posts - the volume (and quality) of your responses has been nothing short of phenomenal. You have done SO much for SO many! I thought we'd lost $60,000, but you patiently helped me see that, after all, you only need ONE person to file-and-suspend - not both spouses. That was a "Well, duh!" moment afterward, but I wasn't seeing it until you stepped in.

If it's any consolation for all the time you spent on this, think of how much more work Kotlikoff and his crew will have to do to update his tome - and he'll have to dig up some new scary stories - that takes even more time!

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Eric
Eric, I was advised for both my wife and I to suspend. I'm 64 1/2, she is 62. Why in your case just one person is suspending? Thanks

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Re: Changes to Social Security

Post by ObliviousInvestor » Tue Nov 03, 2015 7:14 pm

Norton750 wrote:My situation (just squeaking in before the door slams shut):

DW’s FRA is in 2/2019 (she is now 62), my FRA is in 3/2016 (I am now 65). We will both delay taking our own SS benefits until we turn 70.

As long as I file and suspend after reaching my FRA and before the end of the new law’s 180-day deadline to F&S, DW will be able to make a restricted application for her spousal benefits at her FRA and collect them for four years until she claims her own benefit at age 70.

Sound correct?
Correct. :)
Mike Piper, author/blogger

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Nestegg_User
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Re: Changes to Social Security

Post by Nestegg_User » Tue Nov 03, 2015 7:36 pm

Thanks again to the Moderators for the difficult challenge of maintaining this thread...and for the information. I was aware of the F&S/spousal but was not aware of the then-pending legislation. Alas, too young...sigh...

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Re: Changes to Social Security

Post by classicjazzfan » Tue Nov 03, 2015 7:40 pm

yorkpond wrote:
classicjazzfan wrote:
yorkpond wrote:I thought that when one collects SS Disability, the other spouse cannot file a restricted app. This law went into effect Dec 2014. Please advise. Thanks
Yorkpond:

My wife is older than I. Under my now moot original plan, by the time I submitted my restricted application at 66, she would have been 67 and thus transitioned from SSDI to regular SS retirement.
I am pretty sure if one received SSDI and even transitions into regular SS, they cannot do a restricted app. All SSDI would have to paid back. You can do a restricted app only. My wife and I have the same problem and the SS software company we hired confirmed this.
Yorkpond:

Thanks. I'm aware of these SSDI rules. As I noted in my post above, it would not have been my SSDI-receiving wife who would have filed the restricted application under our original plan but rather me. In any case, it's now a moot issue since I'm no longer eligible to file.

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Re: Changes to Social Security

Post by ObliviousInvestor » Tue Nov 03, 2015 7:53 pm

yorkpond wrote:
etarini wrote:
ObliviousInvestor wrote:I do admit that I'm looking forward to taking some time off to go climbing after finishing the project though.
Yes, I agree with the previous posts - the volume (and quality) of your responses has been nothing short of phenomenal. You have done SO much for SO many! I thought we'd lost $60,000, but you patiently helped me see that, after all, you only need ONE person to file-and-suspend - not both spouses. That was a "Well, duh!" moment afterward, but I wasn't seeing it until you stepped in.

If it's any consolation for all the time you spent on this, think of how much more work Kotlikoff and his crew will have to do to update his tome - and he'll have to dig up some new scary stories - that takes even more time!

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Eric
Eric, I was advised for both my wife and I to suspend. I'm 64 1/2, she is 62. Why in your case just one person is suspending? Thanks
In Eric's situation, his wife is planning to file a restricted application at her FRA for spousal benefits. If she filed and suspended at her FRA, it would mess up that plan by either:
a) making her ineligible for a spousal benefit (if her PIA is at least 50% of his) or
b) reducing the amount that she collects per month between FRA and 70 by the amount of her retirement benefit.
Mike Piper, author/blogger

dollarsaver
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Re: Changes to Social Security

Post by dollarsaver » Tue Nov 03, 2015 8:01 pm

classicjazzfan wrote:
yorkpond wrote:
classicjazzfan wrote:
yorkpond wrote:I thought that when one collects SS Disability, the other spouse cannot file a restricted app. This law went into effect Dec 2014. Please advise. Thanks
Yorkpond:

My wife is older than I. Under my now moot original plan, by the time I submitted my restricted application at 66, she would have been 67 and thus transitioned from SSDI to regular SS retirement.
I am pretty sure if one received SSDI and even transitions into regular SS, they cannot do a restricted app. All SSDI would have to paid back. You can do a restricted app only. My wife and I have the same problem and the SS software company we hired confirmed this.
Yorkpond:

Thanks. I'm aware of these SSDI rules. As I noted in my post above, it would not have been my SSDI-receiving wife who would have filed the restricted application under our original plan but rather me. In any case, it's now a moot issue since I'm no longer eligible to file.
Yes, our original plans are moot also.

Willy
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Re: Changes to Social Security

Post by Willy » Tue Nov 03, 2015 8:21 pm

Thanks very much, Mike, and SS Critic!!

I will review the linked material and let you know if I agree.

I think I am dead in the water. 404.415(b) seems on point and clear. I believe that the term " beneficiary" in the last link refers to the insured worker (e.g., me), not to a spouse.

Thanks for being so careful, Mike, and being willing to acknowledge even a possible mistake. That is good and big of you, especially since it appears that ultimately your original answer is the correct answer.

john94549
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Re: Changes to Social Security

Post by john94549 » Tue Nov 03, 2015 8:50 pm

I suspect this change to the law may have many folks (especially those at or near 60 years of age) breaking out the calculator.

My wife did the math this afternoon. Without her spousal (which is un-taxed by the state of California and only at 85% by the Feds), we would have had to harvest from our IRAs. In addition, our MAGI (for Form 8582) would have been impacted. Would not be pleasant.

For those with un-COLA'd pensions (or no pension at all), collecting the spousal while accumulating DRCs until age 70 was about as good as it gets. Fortunately, my wife is "grandmothered-in".

duffer
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Re: Changes to Social Security

Post by duffer » Tue Nov 03, 2015 9:30 pm

My wife and I are fortunate in that she turned FRA (66) in August and I will turn 66 this month (November), so we are going to get in before the changes become effective. She is now filing and suspending and I will file a restricted application for spousal only on my birthday in two weeks. I am taking the spousal benefit even though my full earned benefits are higher than hers (and therefore her spousal benefit on my earning would be about $200 a month more than mine on hers) because there is a chance she will start full benefits at 68 or 69.

My questions are these: 1) there seems to be no place in the online form for her to "file and suspend." Did we miss something in looking at the form? Can one file and suspend online or does one simply have to file and then tell social security to suspend?
and 2) the online form asks my wife when she wants to start her benefits, giving chocies going back to her birthday in August and going forward to February 2016 (a six month window). Does her choice of when her benefits will "start" affect either her suspension of benefits or my ability to file for spousal benefits on her earnings record?

Thanks for any help with these questions.

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Re: Changes to Social Security

Post by YellowSaltbox » Wed Nov 04, 2015 7:58 am

Well, now I'm really frustrated, although I guess I have time. My situation, which I posted several pages back, is:

I turn 67 in about three weeks and have never filed for SS. My husband turns 65 in January 2016 and has never filed for SS.

The Old Plan: When my husband turns 66, in January 2017, I will file and suspend and he will get my spousal benefit while I wait until I turn 70 (November of 2018) to get my max benefit. Then, when my husband turns 70 in January 2021, he will file for his max benefit.

The advice from this site (and others) is that our Old Plan still works, as long as I file and suspend within the next six months.

I called SSA this AM to do just that. However, the woman I spoke with told me I can't file and suspend more than a few months in advance of when my husband wants to begin the spousal benefit. She said I couldn't file and suspend until next October 2016.

I explained the new deal to her and neither she nor her colleagues have yet heard about it. She acknowledged that things can take a while to get down to their level and suggested I call every other week or so. Which of course I will continue to do. This is quite important!!

duffer
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Re: Changes to Social Security

Post by duffer » Wed Nov 04, 2015 8:06 am

One more question:

My wife and I are both over 62. She was 66 in August; I will be 66 in 11 days.

My question is this: Can my wife "file and suspend" and then subsequently (within a few weeks) or months file a "restricted application for spousal benefits only based on my earnings record?

That is (assuming you are 62 or older in 2015), can one "file and suspend" and then afterward (within a few weeks or months) file a "restricted application for spousal benefits only" while continuing to suspend one's own benefits until age 70?

b4real
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Re: Changes to Social Security

Post by b4real » Wed Nov 04, 2015 8:17 am

duffer wrote: My questions are these: 1) there seems to be no place in the online form for her to "file and suspend." Did we miss something in looking at the form? Can one file and suspend online or does one simply have to file and then tell social security to suspend?
and 2) the online form asks my wife when she wants to start her benefits, giving chocies going back to her birthday in August and going forward to February 2016 (a six month window). Does her choice of when her benefits will "start" affect either her suspension of benefits or my ability to file for spousal benefits on her earnings record?
After Mike's kind clarification of the new rules, I started the online application the other day and when I realized there was no way to indicate I wanted to suspend, I called SS and they said the online form does not handle suspension. I could either go into my local office or set up a phone appointment for the local office to call me to file and suspend. I opted for a phone appointment. We also got in under the wire, having recently turned 66 and DW over 62.
Last edited by b4real on Wed Nov 04, 2015 8:41 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Changes to Social Security

Post by ObliviousInvestor » Wed Nov 04, 2015 8:20 am

YellowSaltbox wrote:Well, now I'm really frustrated, although I guess I have time. My situation, which I posted several pages back, is:

I turn 67 in about three weeks and have never filed for SS. My husband turns 65 in January 2016 and has never filed for SS.

The Old Plan: When my husband turns 66, in January 2017, I will file and suspend and he will get my spousal benefit while I wait until I turn 70 (November of 2018) to get my max benefit. Then, when my husband turns 70 in January 2021, he will file for his max benefit.

The advice from this site (and others) is that our Old Plan still works, as long as I file and suspend within the next six months.

I called SSA this AM to do just that. However, the woman I spoke with told me I can't file and suspend more than a few months in advance of when my husband wants to begin the spousal benefit. She said I couldn't file and suspend until next October 2016.

I explained the new deal to her and neither she nor her colleagues have yet heard about it. She acknowledged that things can take a while to get down to their level and suggested I call every other week or so. Which of course I will continue to do. This is quite important!!
The SSA employee is wrong in this case. She is thinking of the fact that your husband must have reached FRA in order to file a restricted application.

There is no requirement that you even be married though in order to suspend your own benefits. I think I would simply try again. I might not mention anything about the new law or anything about your husband, as neither of those is relevant to your request.
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Re: Changes to Social Security

Post by ObliviousInvestor » Wed Nov 04, 2015 8:22 am

duffer wrote:One more question:

My wife and I are both over 62. She was 66 in August; I will be 66 in 11 days.

My question is this: Can my wife "file and suspend" and then subsequently (within a few weeks) or months file a "restricted application for spousal benefits only based on my earnings record?

That is (assuming you are 62 or older in 2015), can one "file and suspend" and then afterward (within a few weeks or months) file a "restricted application for spousal benefits only" while continuing to suspend one's own benefits until age 70?
A restricted application is an application in which you apply for spousal only without applying for your own retirement benefit. By definition that cannot be done if you have already applied for your own retirement benefit.
Mike Piper, author/blogger

YellowSaltbox
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Re: Changes to Social Security

Post by YellowSaltbox » Wed Nov 04, 2015 8:39 am

Thank you, Mike.

I echo those who say how appreciative they are that you're taking so much time to reply to all of us!!

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Re: Changes to Social Security

Post by smileartist » Wed Nov 04, 2015 11:32 am

Mike: I believe that I too will be unable to file and suspend as originally planned under the new regulations. My wife will be 66 in 07/16 but wants to continue working until 01/17. Her PIA is about $500 less than mine. I will be 66 in 01/17 and am fully retired. Our new plan A is now for her to file for benefits at 66 in 07/16. I will then file a restricted application for spousal benefits 07/16 and file for my benefits at 70. Does that sound like how it should work under the new guidelines?
Again I can't tell you how much I appreciate you trying to educate us and keep us up to speed on this confusing topic.

Doug

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Re: Changes to Social Security

Post by ObliviousInvestor » Wed Nov 04, 2015 11:44 am

smileartist wrote:Mike: I believe that I too will be unable to file and suspend as originally planned under the new regulations. My wife will be 66 in 07/16 but wants to continue working until 01/17. Her PIA is about $500 less than mine. I will be 66 in 01/17 and am fully retired. Our new plan A is now for her to file for benefits at 66 in 07/16. I will then file a restricted application for spousal benefits 07/16 and file for my benefits at 70. Does that sound like how it should work under the new guidelines?
Close, but you need one change. Specifically, it's not possible to file a restricted application prior to reaching full retirement age. If you change your strategy so that you file the restricted application as of 01/17, it would work. (And, your wife doesn't necessarily have to start her retirement benefit in 07/16 either -- though she can if she wants to. She just has to start her benefit by 01/17 when you file for spousal benefits.)
Mike Piper, author/blogger

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Re: Changes to Social Security

Post by Boglegrappler » Wed Nov 04, 2015 11:55 am

A restricted application is an application in which you apply for spousal only without applying for your own retirement benefit. By definition that cannot be done if you have already applied for your own retirement benefit.
So, for the instance that I referenced earlier,

Spouse A is FRA in December 2015
Spouse B is FRA in July of 2016

Having Spouse A file and suspend, and then file a restricted spousal application 7 months later after Spouse B files to collect doesn't work, I guess. The only reason to do that would be the idea of maintaining the option of the retroactive claiming. So if you file and suspend before the deadline, its all undone if you subsequently file for spousal benefits only?

The workable option is for B to file in July 2016 and A to simply wait til then and file a restricted application for spousal benefits. (In this case, B's PIA is about 50% greater than A, so A's spousal benefit is about 75% of A's PIA.) This is what we may do. The other alternative is to simply file and collect for each at FRA, based on a judgement that benefits may be reduced in the future for high earners.

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Re: Changes to Social Security

Post by ObliviousInvestor » Wed Nov 04, 2015 12:05 pm

Boglegrappler wrote:
A restricted application is an application in which you apply for spousal only without applying for your own retirement benefit. By definition that cannot be done if you have already applied for your own retirement benefit.
So, for the instance that I referenced earlier,

Spouse A is FRA in December 2015
Spouse B is FRA in July of 2016

Having Spouse A file and suspend, and then file a restricted spousal application 7 months later after Spouse B files to collect doesn't work, I guess. The only reason to do that would be the idea of maintaining the option of the retroactive claiming. So if you file and suspend before the deadline, its all undone if you subsequently file for spousal benefits only?

The workable option is for B to file in July 2016 and A to simply wait til then and file a restricted application for spousal benefits. (In this case, B's PIA is about 50% greater than A, so A's spousal benefit is about 75% of A's PIA.) This is what we may do. The other alternative is to simply file and collect for each at FRA, based on a judgement that benefits may be reduced in the future for high earners.
The idea of filing and suspending pretty much never makes sense for a person who wants to receive spousal benefits between FRA and 70.

In some cases, it completely eliminates the ability to receive spousal benefits. That is, one requirement for spousal benefits is that you not be entitled to a retirement benefit based on a PIA that is greater than or equal to 50% of your spouse's PIA. If you haven't filed for your retirement benefit, you're not entitled to it, so this rule isn't a problem. If you have filed (even if you have suspended) you are entitled to it, so this rule can get in the way.

Even if your PIA is less than 50% of your spouse's PIA, filing and suspending will still reduce the amount you could receive as a spouse. (Specifically, you will receive only your excess spousal benefit rather than receiving the full spousal benefit.)

In the scenario you described, you are correct that if A wants to receive spousal benefits until 70, he/she should simply wait until Spouse B files for benefits.

For what it's worth, in that scenario, I would also consider strategies in which it is Spouse B who is filing the restricted application rather than Spouse A, so as to allow Spouse B's retirement benefit (i.e, the larger retirement benefit) grow until age 70.
Mike Piper, author/blogger

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Re: Changes to Social Security

Post by Boglegrappler » Wed Nov 04, 2015 12:21 pm

For what it's worth, in that scenario, I would also consider strategies in which it is Spouse B who is filing the restricted application rather than Spouse A, so as to allow Spouse B's retirement benefit (i.e, the larger retirement benefit) grow until age 70.
Thanks Mike,

I've laid everything out on an excel spread sheet year by year, and the strategy you note does look better in certain instances. For us the biggest uncertainty is whether future benefits will be reduced for people in our income cohort. If there is any kind of means testing, we'll be in the first wave, so it means that the "take less now, receive more later" strategies might have the rug pulled from under us and might not work out. So we may just both claim at FRA and be done with it. Total collections are materially higher in the first 5-7 years under that method.

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Re: Changes to Social Security

Post by RustyShackleford » Wed Nov 04, 2015 12:37 pm

I'm sorry, but having read through most of this thread and searched each page for "single" and "unmarried", I'm still confused about how the file & suspend strategy has changed for unmarried (and never married) people, specifically those who, like me, will be 62yo by year's end (but not 66yo). If one who understands the law changes could summarize, I'd be grateful.

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Re: Changes to Social Security

Post by ObliviousInvestor » Wed Nov 04, 2015 12:41 pm

RustyShackleford wrote:I'm sorry, but having read through most of this thread and searched each page for "single" and "unmarried", I'm still confused about how the file & suspend strategy has changed for unmarried (and never married) people, specifically those who, like me, will be 62yo by year's end (but not 66yo). If one who understands the law changes could summarize, I'd be grateful.
For people who will not reach full retirement age within the 180-day window, the file and suspend strategy as it has been known for several years is effectively eliminated. (And that's true for both married and unmarried people.)

Previously, the reasons for filing and suspending were:
1) To preserve the ability to "change your mind" via retroactive unsuspension, and
2) In married couples, to allow the other spouse to receive spousal benefits during the period of suspension.

But for suspension requests not received within the 180-day window, retroactive unsuspension will not be allowed, nor will a spouse be allowed to receive spousal benefits on the work record of the spouse whose benefits are suspended.
Mike Piper, author/blogger

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Re: Changes to Social Security

Post by HoopDiddyDiddy » Wed Nov 04, 2015 1:18 pm

As someone who initially came here to try and make sense of what I should do as regards SS (and has been an active lurker for a very long time), I have to echo others with my thanks and appreciation for all the knowledgeable folks who help out. Because of all the great advice and explanations here I think I know what my (now revised) plan is and should I have any additional questions I'll start my own thread.

I am only 61 (and husband/high earner is 55 which makes for non traditional scenarios) so still a ways out from doing anything. But filing and suspending at FRA was previously part of my plan and these changes do affect me, so again thanks to all who contribute.

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Re: Changes to Social Security

Post by mbres60 » Wed Nov 04, 2015 3:23 pm

Spouse 1 - 66 yrs old. Retired Fed. CSRS. Eligible for a small SS check. Planning on waiting til 70 to collect so it is larger. PIA - $278
Spouse 2 - turning 65 in a few weeks. Not yet collecting SS. Planning on waiting til 70 or close to it. Retired but not a Fed.

My mind is mush after reading all this.
1. Can spouse 1 file and suspend AFTER 180 days or does that person have to do it before?
2. Can spouse 2 collect 1/2 of spouse 1 PIA when turning 66 near end of 2016. (I know it is only $140 but it is something )
3. If spouse 1 files and suspends do they have to start their SS by the time Spouse 2 wants to collect 1/2 of their PIA?

Thanks.

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Re: Changes to Social Security

Post by ObliviousInvestor » Wed Nov 04, 2015 3:29 pm

mbres60 wrote:Spouse 1 - 66 yrs old. Retired Fed. CSRS. Eligible for a small SS check. Planning on waiting til 70 to collect so it is larger. PIA - $278
Spouse 2 - turning 65 in a few weeks. Not yet collecting SS. Planning on waiting til 70 or close to it. Retired but not a Fed.

My mind is mush after reading all this.
1. Can spouse 1 file and suspend AFTER 180 days or does that person have to do it before?
Spouse 1 can file and suspend after the 180-day window closes. But in order to be treated under the old rules, he/she would want to do it before the window closes.
mbres60 wrote:2. Can spouse 2 collect 1/2 of spouse 1 PIA when turning 66 near end of 2016. (I know it is only $140 but it is something )
Yes, as long as Spouse 1 suspended within the 180-day window. If they missed the window, Spouse 2 would have to wait until Spouse 1 actually starts receiving benefits. (I think this answers your third question also.)
Mike Piper, author/blogger

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Re: Changes to Social Security

Post by mbres60 » Wed Nov 04, 2015 3:44 pm

Thanks! This helps.

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Changes to Social Security 2: Fidelity article

Post by LeeMKE » Thu Nov 05, 2015 10:26 am

[Thread merged into here, see below. --admin LadyGeek]

https://www.fidelity.com/viewpoints/ret ... il_weekly/

What the changes mean: four key scenarios Image

I am sorry to see this change because we are a couple who could take advantage of file and suspend, but anything too good to be true, usually is. I'll have to find something else to noodle on instead. This takes all the fun out of claiming Social Security, and the entertainment value will be missed.
The mightiest Oak is just a nut who stayed the course.

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Re: Changes to Social Security

Post by dollarsaver » Thu Nov 05, 2015 3:04 pm

yorkpond wrote:
ObliviousInvestor wrote:
yorkpond wrote:
ObliviousInvestor wrote:
yorkpond wrote:
Sorry, PIA is $2400 for me and $1130 for wife. I am on SSDI until 66 so I believe I can do a file for a restricted app at 66 when I convert to SS. New rule in Dec 2014 that can't do a restricted app for spousal benefits if on disability. But can I do it at age 66? In your Strategy #2, can my wife file a restricted app at her age 66 or have to wait until I am 70 and she is 67.5? Thanks so much
Ah, this is important information (about you being on SSDI).

Unfortunately, it is (probably) not possible for you to do a restricted application in this case. One requirement for a restricted application is that you not be "entitled" to a retirement benefit. And, as somebody currently on SSDI, you will automatically (with no choice in the matter) become entitled to a retirement benefit as soon as you hit your FRA. The only way to become un-entitled is to file a withdrawal of application request and pay back all benefits (both disability and retirement) received to date, which is generally not practical.

(And, in case it matters to anybody, this is not a recent change.)

Regarding my strategy #2, in order for your wife to file a restricted application a) she has to have reached her FRA and b) you have to be collecting your retirement benefit. So, if you have suspended your retirement benefit in order to gain delayed retirement credits, your wife will have to wait until you unsuspend in order to file a restricted application.
So now the wife has to wait to over 67 years for her to file a restricted app for spousal benefits. So Strategy #1 is out, I assume for us? What should my wife do between 62 and 67.5? At her age 70 I don't know if her DRC will be more than 1/2 of mine at 67.5 since she can't take it at 66 anymore. If he takes it at 62, at 66 or 67.5 can she get excess spousal benefit? Thanks agina
Strategy #1 is out because you cannot file a restricted application (at least, not without first filing a withdrawal of application request and paying back all the disability benefits you received).

Strategy #2 still works, but instead of "you wait until age 70 to file for retirement benefits" it should now read "upon reaching FRA, you suspend retirement benefits until age 70."

In this strategy, your wife does nothing until you reach age 70. Then she files a restricted application for 50% of your PIA ($1,200). Then at her age 70 she file for her own retirement benefit, which would be 132% of her own PIA ($1,491) and her spousal benefit would go away at this point.
Thanks Mike:
This makes a lot of sense. My wife would be maximizing and so would I with the new law. Thanks so much for all your help with this
Mike - Just heard webinar from Marc Kiner of Premier SS and he said one can't restrict more than 4 years if you are over 62. My wife cannot file for 50% of PIA until she is 67 and 7 months if I suspend until 70. What does she do at 66? Thanks so much

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Re: Changes to Social Security

Post by dollarsaver » Thu Nov 05, 2015 3:09 pm

Hi everyone,

Wife is 62
I am 64 1/2.
With new law, planning on suspending when I am 66 to earn DRC until age 70.
Wife plans on filing a restricted app at 67.7 years old to get 1/2 of my benefit, then at 70 filing for her benefit.
New law is that I have to getting my benefit before she can restrict and get 1/2 of my PIA.
Can one restrict for more than 4 years between 62-66? If so what does wife do at 66?
Thanks so much

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Re: Changes to Social Security

Post by ObliviousInvestor » Thu Nov 05, 2015 3:18 pm

yorkpond wrote:Hi everyone,

Wife is 62
I am 64 1/2.
With new law, planning on suspending when I am 66 to earn DRC until age 70.
Wife plans on filing a restricted app at 67.7 years old to get 1/2 of my benefit, then at 70 filing for her benefit.
New law is that I have to getting my benefit before she can restrict and get 1/2 of my PIA.
Can one restrict for more than 4 years between 62-66? If so what does wife do at 66?
Thanks so much
No, it is not possible to file a restricted application prior to full retirement age. If you file for spousal benefits prior to FRA (and you're eligible for a retirement benefit at that time) you're automatically deemed to have filed for your retirement benefit as well.

This, by the way, is what the whole "deemed filing" discussion is about. For people younger than 62 on 1/1/2016, deemed filing will apply beyond FRA as well.
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Re: Changes to Social Security

Post by westcoast » Thu Nov 05, 2015 3:35 pm

My wife is 62 and on SSDI, I am 64 and plan on filling a restricted application for spousal benefits when I turn 66 and file for my own at 70. Is this still possible? Thanks for the help.

Ed

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Re: Changes to Social Security

Post by ObliviousInvestor » Thu Nov 05, 2015 3:47 pm

westcoast wrote:My wife is 62 and on SSDI, I am 64 and plan on filling a restricted application for spousal benefits when I turn 66 and file for my own at 70. Is this still possible?
Yes.
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Re: Changes to Social Security

Post by acr123 » Thu Nov 05, 2015 4:43 pm

After reviewing all the new rules and everyones good explanations I have a question. With the changes we need to make since wife is already 62 & I am 59, we need to also consider income earned while receiving SS benefits. Our best option for now, I will be need to file before FRA ( age 63) so wife can file for spousal benefits since at age 66 is FRA. Does anyhone know exactly how the reduction in family benefits works because of excess income?? What I mean is , my benefits at age 63 are 1,900 /mo ( 22,800 / yr) and wife full spousal is 1,200/mo ( 14,400) - what is the way the reduced family benefits occur. For example, if excess income removes 18,000 of SS benefits is it taken equal % from both , initially just from my benefits ( 22,800 - 18,00) or initially from spousal benefits ( all of 14,400 then rest from me ) or some other combination. This is very important so everyone can know this info - that the loss of spousal benefits is permanent and never added back later, whereas the reduction in my benefits would be added back in the future.
Depending on the exact answer may lead to change in strategy such that wife files for her own benefits at FRA initially since any benefits reduced would be added back later but this is less favorable from NPV calculation but may be much better from not having income permanently removed.
I hope this above description is clear

Thanks,

Al

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Re: Changes to Social Security

Post by ObliviousInvestor » Thu Nov 05, 2015 4:52 pm

acr123 wrote:After reviewing all the new rules and everyones good explanations I have a question. With the changes we need to make since wife is already 62 & I am 59, we need to also consider income earned while receiving SS benefits. Our best option for now, I will be need to file before FRA ( age 63) so wife can file for spousal benefits since at age 66 is FRA. Does anyhone know exactly how the reduction in family benefits works because of excess income?? What I mean is , my benefits at age 63 are 1,900 /mo ( 22,800 / yr) and wife full spousal is 1,200/mo ( 14,400) - what is the way the reduced family benefits occur. For example, if excess income removes 18,000 of SS benefits is it taken equal % from both , initially just from my benefits ( 22,800 - 18,00) or initially from spousal benefits ( all of 14,400 then rest from me ) or some other combination. This is very important so everyone can know this info - that the loss of spousal benefits is permanent and never added back later, whereas the reduction in my benefits would be added back in the future.
Depending on the exact answer may lead to change in strategy such that wife files for her own benefits at FRA initially since any benefits reduced would be added back later but this is less favorable from NPV calculation but may be much better from not having income permanently removed.
As a result of the earnings test, your excess earnings can cause withholding of:
1) Your retirement benefit,
2) Anybody else's benefit on your work record, and
3) Your benefit on anybody else's work record.

For example, if Husband has a $1,000 monthly benefit and Wife is receiving a spousal benefit of $500, and the earnings test says they need a reduction of $6,000 for the year (due to Husband's excess earnings prior to FRA), both benefits would be withheld completely for Jan-April.
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Re: Changes to Social Security

Post by acr123 » Thu Nov 05, 2015 7:02 pm

Mike

If I understood what you were saying, the SS amount not paid to our family because of excess earnings is taken equally from both primary and spouse monthly. I't's too bad there is not a choice as to what person the money comes from. Since I need to continue working to have enough money for retirement, this only leaves my wife filing at FRA for her own benefits and me filing in the future for my benefits when I am not making significant excess income or I reach FRA. I believe that it is still true, after the new rules, that after I reach FRA my wife will then be able to switch to spousal benefits which are more than her primary amount.

Thanks to Mike & everyone else who has taken the time & made the effort to educate,as well as, answer everyone's questions.

Al

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Re: Changes to Social Security

Post by kttpn » Thu Nov 05, 2015 7:53 pm

I went to the Social Security Office today to file and suspend yesterday. The agent told me that I was not allowed to file and suspend unless another person (such as a spouse) was going to file a claim under my benefits right then or within a month or so.
I reached FTA in Oct. 2015. My husband will reach FTA in Nov. 2016.

The agent had no knowledge of the upcoming changes to Social Security. He also strongly warned against my about trying to file and suspend either online or via telephone.

The original strategy was for my husband to start spousal benefits in Nov. 2016, then claim his own benefits when he reaches 70.

So now I do not know what to do. :confused

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Re: Changes to Social Security

Post by ObliviousInvestor » Thu Nov 05, 2015 7:58 pm

kttpn wrote:I went to the Social Security Office today to file and suspend yesterday. The agent told me that I was not allowed to file and suspend unless another person (such as a spouse) was going to file a claim under my benefits right then or within a month or so.
I reached FTA in Oct. 2015. My husband will reach FTA in Nov. 2016.

The agent had no knowledge of the upcoming changes to Social Security. He also strongly warned against my about trying to file and suspend either online or via telephone.
The agent is wrong in this case. I would try again, and I would not mention a spouse or the new law, because neither one is relevant to your request.

You may want to bring either (or both!) of the following references. I'm bolding the relevant parts.
GN 02409.110 Conditions for Voluntary Suspension

A. When voluntary suspension is possible

1. Requesting voluntary suspension

Any primary retirement insurance benefit (RIB) applicant or beneficiary, whether reduced or unreduced, who has reached full retirement age (FRA) may voluntarily ask that we suspend his or her benefits to earn voluntary delayed retirement credits (VOLDRC). This request may be either written or oral, and we do not need a signature. A representative payee can make the request on behalf of the beneficiary.
Note: The receipt of disability insurance benefits (DIB) prior to RIB has no effect on a beneficiary’s request to voluntarily suspend his or her RIB. However, the beneficiary cannot withdraw the RIB portion only of an automatic DIB-RIB conversion. For more information on withdrawal of automatic DIB-RIB conversion cases, see GN 00206.005.
https://secure.ssa.gov/apps10/poms.nsf/lnx/0202409110

And:
§ 404.313. What are delayed retirement credits and how do they increase my old-age benefit amount?

(a) What are delayed retirement credits and how do I earn them? Delayed retirement credits (DRCs) are credits we use to increase the amount of your old-age benefit amount. You may earn a credit for each month during the period beginning with the month you attain full retirement age (as defined in § 404.409) and ending with the month you attain age 70 (72 before 1984). You earn a credit for each month for which you are fully insured and eligible but do not receive an old-age benefit either because you do not apply for benefits or because you elect to voluntarily suspend your benefits to earn DRCs. Even if you were entitled to old-age benefits before full retirement age you may still earn DRCs for months during the period from full retirement age to age 70, if you voluntarily elect to suspend those benefits. If we have determined that you are entitled to benefits, you may voluntarily suspend benefits for any month beginning with the month after the month in which you voluntarily request that we suspend your benefits. If you apply for benefits, and we have not made a determination that you are entitled to benefits, you may voluntarily have your benefits suspended for any month for which you have not received a payment.
https://www.ssa.gov/OP_Home/cfr20/404/404-0313.htm

The key point is that neither of the above says anything about a spouse. You don't even have to be married to have your benefits suspended -- much less have a spouse of a particular age.
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Re: Changes to Social Security

Post by LadyGeek » Thu Nov 05, 2015 8:12 pm

I merged LeeMKE's thread into here.
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Re: Changes to Social Security

Post by Loon11 » Thu Nov 05, 2015 8:57 pm

I think I have it but would really appreciate a confirmation.
Wife will be age 66 in Mar 2016
Husband already FRA and receiving benefits on his record (low earner) age 66 now
Plan: wife will file and immediately suspend.
Husband then can file for the higher benefit (1/2 of wife's higher PIA)
Wife can suspend until age 70.

Is this plan doable? Also, is wife "file and suspending" or restricting?
Does wife need to actually receive one month of benefit before suspending? (thought I read this somewhere).

Thanks for all this great work!!

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Re: Changes to Social Security

Post by ObliviousInvestor » Thu Nov 05, 2015 9:12 pm

Loon11 wrote:I think I have it but would really appreciate a confirmation.
Wife will be age 66 in Mar 2016
Husband already FRA and receiving benefits on his record (low earner) age 66 now
Plan: wife will file and immediately suspend.
Husband then can file for the higher benefit (1/2 of wife's higher PIA)
Wife can suspend until age 70.

Is this plan doable? Also, is wife "file and suspending" or restricting?
Does wife need to actually receive one month of benefit before suspending? (thought I read this somewhere).
Yes, this plan is doable.

Wife would in fact be filing and suspending. (A restricted application is an application for spousal benefits only. She would not be applying for spousal benefits but rather for her own retirement benefit.)

And, Wife can ask to have payments suspended at the same time that she applies.
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Re: Changes to Social Security

Post by TravelforFun » Thu Nov 05, 2015 9:35 pm

Loon11 wrote:I think I have it but would really appreciate a confirmation.
Wife will be age 66 in Mar 2016
Husband already FRA and receiving benefits on his record (low earner) age 66 now
Plan: wife will file and immediately suspend.
Husband then can file for the higher benefit (1/2 of wife's higher PIA)
Wife can suspend until age 70.

Does wife need to actually receive one month of benefit before suspending? (thought I read this somewhere).

Thanks for all this great work!!
The husband may not get 1/2 of wife's higher PIA. Since the husband is at FRA and receiving benefit, that tells me he filed for his own benefit early. If that's the case his spousal benefit would not be 1/2 of wife's PIA.

Here is an example: Assuming wife and husband are at their FRA. Wife's PIA is $2,000, husband's PIA is $600. If wife files and suspends and husband files for spousal benefit, he would get $1,000 (his PIA of $600 plus 1/2 of wife's PIA of $2,000 minus his PIA of $600).

If he filed for his benefit at 62, he would get $450, when his wife files and suspends at her FRA and he files for spousal at his FRA, he would get $850 (his reduced benefit of $450 plus 1/2 of wife's PIA of $2,000 minus his PIA of $600).

Does wife need to actually receive one month of benefit before suspending? No. You can file and suspend immediately.

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Re: Changes to Social Security

Post by Loon11 » Thu Nov 05, 2015 10:01 pm

Thanks so much Mike.
Question for Travel for fun:
Help me here. I thought husband's SS payment would be increased to one-half of the higher earner's PIA. Let's say he is now receiving $500 on his benefit. Once she files at her FRA in March 2016, her FRA benefit is $2290. Won't he be eligible for $1145 total? His $500 plus 645 to total one half of hers?
That's how we have been reading it. Correct me if wrong.

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Re: Changes to Social Security

Post by ObliviousInvestor » Thu Nov 05, 2015 10:06 pm

Loon11 wrote:Thanks so much Mike.
Question for Travel for fun:
Help me here. I thought husband's SS payment would be increased to one-half of the higher earner's PIA. Let's say he is now receiving $500 on his benefit. Once she files at her FRA in March 2016, her FRA benefit is $2290. Won't he be eligible for $1145 total? His $500 plus 645 to total one half of hers?
That's how we have been reading it. Correct me if wrong.
TravelforFun is correct.

In this case (assuming the husband claimed his retirement benefit prior to FRA), after filing for a spousal benefit, he would:
1) Continue receiving his retirement benefit of $500, and
2) Receive a spousal benefit of (50% of $2,290), minus his own PIA.
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Re: Changes to Social Security

Post by Loon11 » Thu Nov 05, 2015 10:33 pm

sorry for the confusion - husband did not receive his benefit early - he filed at age 66 FRA in 2015. Has been receiving his for one year. His benefit is $500 and hers will be $2290.
We were thinking his would increase to $1145 which is one half of hers after she files and suspends in Mar 2016.
I thought the spousal benefit is the larger of one half of the higher earner's PIA or your own benefit. Since his is $500 and hers is 2290, won't his increase from $500 to 1145?
Or will it just go up to $1145 less $500, or a total of $645? that's not much of an increase.

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Re: Changes to Social Security

Post by ObliviousInvestor » Thu Nov 05, 2015 10:35 pm

Loon11 wrote:sorry for the confusion - husband did not receive his benefit early - he filed at age 66 FRA in 2015. Has been receiving his for one year. His benefit is $500 and hers will be $2290.
We were thinking his would increase to $1145 which is one half of hers after she files and suspends in Mar 2016.
I thought the spousal benefit is the larger of one half of the higher earner's PIA or your own benefit. Since his is $500 and hers is 2290, won't his increase from $500 to 1145?
Or will it just go up to $1145 less $500, or a total of $645? that's not much of an increase.
Ah, in that case, he will indeed receive a total of $1,145.
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Re: Changes to Social Security

Post by Loon11 » Thu Nov 05, 2015 10:45 pm

Thank you Thank you!! I was really worried there. We were counting on this and sighing relief that we should be fine since wife will be 66 in March.
I'm just imagining what chaos there will be at that time with millions trying to get this done before the deadline. Will definitely go there in person.
Thanks for all the pages of great examples and explanations. I can sleep tonight!

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