Social Security Restricted Application

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xplorer
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Social Security Restricted Application

Post by xplorer »

I’m looking for Bogleheads who would like to share their experience when filing an online Restricted Application for Social Security (SS) since the new SS rules signed into law on Nov 2, 2015.

I am contemplating filing an online Restricted Application at Full Retirement Age (RTA) (in a couple months) that: 1) Suspends current and future Retirement Insurance Benefits (RIB) on my record in order to earn Delayed Retirement Credits (DRC) through age 70; and, 2) Claim a Spousal Insurance Benefit (SIB) on my wife’s record as I was born before January 1, 1954 which is consistent with the new Social Security law signed into effect on Nov. 2, 2015 (She is currently receiving SS as she began drawing SS at age 62)

I understand that verbage similar to the above paragraph must be filed in the Remarks section of the on-line application.

Has any Boglehead made the same or similar on-line filing and what experience did you have with the process? Was there anything you would have done differently?

Thanks - Mike
neilpilot
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Re: Social Security Restricted Application

Post by neilpilot »

I filed for spousal online in May 2016, under similar circumstances. I added a remark that was much simpler than your example and it did the trick. I did receive a follow up call from SS, which was to confirm that I was actually married. Not form submission or local office visit required beyond the initial online application, and no problems.

I filed 3 months before the start of spousal benefits, and added the following comment, This is from memory, so it might have been a bit different:

"This application is for spousal benefits only. I do not want to start my personal benefits against my work record at this time."
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BostonBoy
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Re: Social Security Restricted Application

Post by BostonBoy »

I filed a Restricted Application in September of 2016. After talking to a SS rep on the phone I was told that I could not apply online. I needed to get prove of my marriage and present this at my local SS office. I needed to send away for a copy of my marriage license. When I got to the SS office they never asked to see it. The rep did need to get a supervisor involved to make sure I was entitled to this type of application. It eventually ended well with no other issues.

I would not file online. Schedule an office visit just to be on the safe side and avoid any problems.
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xplorer
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Re: Social Security Restricted Application

Post by xplorer »

Thanks neilpilot and BostonBoy
dowse
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Re: Social Security Restricted Application

Post by dowse »

If you go ahead, I hope you will report back on how the process went. I will be submitting a restricted application myself in about a year. The stakes are too high to have it messed up. Right now, I'm not sure whether the online process or an in-person visit to the SSA office would be more reliable. Right now, I am leaning toward the in-person visit, but if so, I plan on asking for someone who has experience doing this.
theta
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Re: Social Security Restricted Application

Post by theta »

Here's an article by Kotlikoff that discusses this topic. He recommends online:
http://www.pbs.org/newshour/making-sens ... in-person/

And here's another PBS article that also recommends online. This particular article is useful in that it includes copies of the online questions:
http://www.pbs.org/newshour/making-sens ... ned-about/

The gist of both articles is that if you know what you're doing, the online option can get you what you want. If you have any uncertainty, you might get bad advice at the SSA office and inadvertently make a poor choice.
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heartwood
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Re: Social Security Restricted Application

Post by heartwood »

I'm currently on SS. My wife filed a restricted application in October 2016 for spousal benefits starting in December 2016. She did it all online. No statements or other information beyond what's asked in the filing template. It was quite clear.

The online follow-up process was poor. She had trouble checking filing status. It kept saying "no status information", check back later. Perhaps 3 weeks after filing she received a call from SS asking for marital details (where married, when, civil/religious, other details). I was asked to get on the call and verify the same information for me. Perhaps a 5 minute call overall with a very pleasant person. No documentation was submitted. A couple of days/weeks later she received a letter confirming spousal benefits. Her benefit started in December, payable in January.

YMMV, but she did it all online following the questions there.

There was no way to have withholding applied initially. In January she filed a tax WH form by mail. Within a week it had been taken care of and February benefits had WH applied.
neilpilot
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Re: Social Security Restricted Application

Post by neilpilot »

As I posted above, my online restricted application worked like a charm. One advantage of the online application is that you can save a copy of what you submit, so that if you make the appropriate application you have a record.

In the posting above, I included the remark I made based on my rather questionable memory. I just pulled up my application from 1/31/2016, and here is my actual remark:

"I wish to exclude Retirement benefits from the scope of this application. I wish for my restricted spousal benefit to begin in May, my birthday
month. I do not wish to begin my own retirement benefit."


My experience was also very similar to heartwood. A check of the application status online was useless, but I eventually received a followup call and then a confirming letter well before the start of my spousal benefits. There was no need to submit further documentation or visit the local SS office.
pizza8822
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Re: Social Security Restricted Application

Post by pizza8822 »

Can someone explain concisely what is the best thing for spouses about to be 66? I understand the rules change somewhat.

Husband- $1,800 at 66.
Wife - $950 at 66.

Both turn 66 within 4 months. For a spouse to receive a spousal benefit, one spouse needs to file and start drawing? I.e. both spouses can't max out their benefits anymore? Does the math make sense to draw spousal anymore assuming a long lifespan?
Penguin
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Re: Social Security Restricted Application

Post by Penguin »

pizza,
There is no certain best plan.
You may try this calculator: http://www.bedrockcapital.com/ssanalyze/
Depending on your inputs you may get a plan something like this:
Recommended Solution
Based on the data above, the following plan of action is recommended:
Wife will file for her own benefit to start on 7/1/2018, the month she turns 67 and receive 108% of her full retirement age benefit.
Husband will file and "restrict his application" to his spousal benefit to start on 7/1/2018 when he is 67 and receive 50% of Wife's full retirement age benefit.
Husband will file for his own benefit to start on 7/1/2021, the month he turns 70 and receive 132% of his full retirement age benefit.
After she is widowed Wife will receive her survivor's benefit which will be 132% of Husband's full retirement age benefit.
Jon
dowse
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Re: Social Security Restricted Application

Post by dowse »

neilpilot wrote:As I posted above, my online restricted application worked like a charm. One advantage of the online application is that you can save a copy of what you submit, so that if you make the appropriate application you have a record.

In the posting above, I included the remark I made based on my rather questionable memory. I just pulled up my application from 1/31/2016, and here is my actual remark:

"I wish to exclude Retirement benefits from the scope of this application. I wish for my restricted spousal benefit to begin in May, my birthday
month. I do not wish to begin my own retirement benefit."


My experience was also very similar to heartwood. A check of the application status online was useless, but I eventually received a followup call and then a confirming letter well before the start of my spousal benefits. There was no need to submit further documentation or visit the local SS office.
Your experience makes me feel a little better about online application, neilpilot. At least I would be able to make sure the online application is correct. I assume that since you were approved for spousal benefits, that should give you confidence that when you claim your own benefit at 70, it will go through smoothly. As I understand it, without asking for the restriction, SS would have automatically used the higher benefit, presumably your own.
neilpilot
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Re: Social Security Restricted Application

Post by neilpilot »

dowse wrote:
Your experience makes me feel a little better about online application, neilpilot. At least I would be able to make sure the online application is correct. I assume that since you were approved for spousal benefits, that should give you confidence that when you claim your own benefit at 70, it will go through smoothly. As I understand it, without asking for the restriction, SS would have automatically used the higher benefit, presumably your own.
Yes, you need to specify spousal only, not your own benefit. I've heard about SS personnel, some with questionable training, helping clients to benefits they actually didn't want. Personally, I'd avoid visiting the local office unless absolutely necessary (I did need an in-person visit to start my Medicare, but my DW did not).

Something else to watch out for is their tendency to include back payment of benefits for some months (IIRC 6 months) when, at age 70, you file to begin your own benefits. If you don't specifically state that you do not want back payments, then you'll end up with a slightly reduced monthly payment. Also, I'm sure the spousal you already received for those earlier months will be subtracted from the back payments. Here's one of many articles on this risk: http://time.com/money/4189633/social-se ... -sum-risk/
CWhea1775
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Re: Social Security Restricted Application

Post by CWhea1775 »

Always great to hear from people who have actually "been there, done that", and very helpful links as well. Thanks!
JW-Retired
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Re: Social Security Restricted Application

Post by JW-Retired »

neilpilot wrote: As I posted above, my online restricted application worked like a charm. One advantage of the online application is that you can save a copy of what you submit, so that if you make the appropriate application you have a record.

In the posting above, I included the remark I made based on my rather questionable memory. I just pulled up my application from 1/31/2016, and here is my actual remark:

"I wish to exclude Retirement benefits from the scope of this application. I wish for my restricted spousal benefit to begin in May, my birthday
month. I do not wish to begin my own retirement benefit."


My experience was also very similar to heartwood. A check of the application status online was useless, but I eventually received a followup call and then a confirming letter well before the start of my spousal benefits. There was no need to submit further documentation or visit the local SS office.
My experience was different. It was 6 years ago and the online application seemed crude, but I put in a "I want a spousal benefit not my own" remark similar to the above. It looked crystal clear to me, but they didn't appear to have read that part of the application. They just went ahead with giving me my own benefits at 66. I found out in time by a lucky accident and got it fixed, so no harm.

Later, after I reach age 70 and wife and I needed to do a double benefit switch, we did it via a phone appointment. That went perfectly, clearly left no chance for misunderstanding what we wanted. I would never again recommend any application process that doesn't give you immediate feedback confirming exactly what the SS person understood you wanted.

You make a phone appointment by calling your local SS office.
JW
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neilpilot
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Re: Social Security Restricted Application

Post by neilpilot »

JW-Retired wrote: My experience was different. It was 6 years ago and the online application seemed crude, but I put in a "I want a spousal benefit not my own" remark similar to the above. It looked crystal clear to me, but they didn't appear to have read that part of the application. They just went ahead with giving me my own benefits at 66. I found out in time by a lucky accident and got it fixed, so no harm........I would never again recommend any application process that doesn't give you immediate feedback confirming exactly what the SS person understood you wanted.

My online application did give me an immediate hard copy record of my application. As I posted, my online application was later backed up by a phone confirmation confirming the restricted nature of my application, and finally by a confirmation letter. All of this occurred over a month before the start of benefits. So I had two independent methods of confirmation.

If I had done a phone application, as you suggest, I could have thought I had "immediate feedback confirming exactly what the SS person understood", but later been surprised by a miscommunication. Based on accounts from others, misunderstandings have happened with the SS, both in person and on the phone.

My point is, it's obvious from our different experiences that any interaction with SS can sometimes go wrong. My choice of online was based on reading advice from several "experts" on the best filing method.
JW-Retired
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Re: Social Security Restricted Application

Post by JW-Retired »

neilpilot wrote:
My online application did give me an immediate hard copy record of my application. As I posted, my online application was later backed up by a phone confirmation confirming the restricted nature of my application, and finally by a confirmation letter. All of this occurred over a month before the start of benefits. So I had two independent methods of confirmation.
I had some sort of hard copy of my application (maybe just screen shots), but there was no back up phone call confirmation. Totally open loop. Perhaps the on-line process has been improved since my application 6 years ago.:wink:

The official letter came way later after we had learned of the problem and got a correction. I suppose it could have been turned around still later than that but it would probably not have been fun.
JW
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Prudence
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Re: Social Security Restricted Application

Post by Prudence »

xplorer wrote:I’m looking for Bogleheads who would like to share their experience when filing an online Restricted Application for Social Security (SS) since the new SS rules signed into law on Nov 2, 2015.

I am contemplating filing an online Restricted Application at Full Retirement Age (RTA) (in a couple months) that: 1) Suspends current and future Retirement Insurance Benefits (RIB) on my record in order to earn Delayed Retirement Credits (DRC) through age 70; and, 2) Claim a Spousal Insurance Benefit (SIB) on my wife’s record as I was born before January 1, 1954 which is consistent with the new Social Security law signed into effect on Nov. 2, 2015 (She is currently receiving SS as she began drawing SS at age 62)

I understand that verbage similar to the above paragraph must be filed in the Remarks section of the on-line application.

Has any Boglehead made the same or similar on-line filing and what experience did you have with the process? Was there anything you would have done differently?

Thanks - Mike
I recall that the rules on spousal benefits changed last year (April or May?). But, what is the current status? (I ask because I turned 70 in December and started SS in January; my wife turns 66 in July and she has been planning to file for spousal benefits shortly and continue them until she reaches 70).
JW-Retired
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Re: Social Security Restricted Application

Post by JW-Retired »

If she was born in or before 1954 she is grandmothered under the old law. She can still file a restricted application for spousal at her FRA and delay taking her own benefits until age 70.
JW
ps: The file and suspend to allow spouse to claim spousal benefits while you continue to get delay credits, doesn't work anymore. Suspension now applies to all persons receiving benefits from your account.
Last edited by JW-Retired on Sat Mar 04, 2017 11:39 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Prudence
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Re: Social Security Restricted Application

Post by Prudence »

JW-Retired wrote:If she was born in or before 1954 she is grandmothered under the old law. She can still file a restricted application for spousal at her FRA and delay taking her own benefits until age 70.
JW
Thanks!
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xplorer
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Re: Social Security Restricted Application

Post by xplorer »

Thanks to everyone for the comments and suggestions.

I filed on-line and added the following language to the Remarks section:
THIS IS A RESTRICTED APPLICATION AT MY FULL RETIREMENT AGE (FRA) FOR SPOUSAL INSURANCE BENEFITS (SIB) ONLY ON MY WIFES RECORD. I DO NOT WANT TO START MY RETIREMENT INSURANCE BENEFITS (RIB) AGAINST MY WORK RECORD AT THIS TIME NOR FRA SO THAT MY WORK RECORD CAN ACCRUE DELAYED RETIREMENT CREDITS (DRC) UNTIL AGE 70. THANK YOU.

Will update this thread as we progress through the approval process.

Thanks again,
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One Ping
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Re: Social Security Restricted Application

Post by One Ping »

I'm in a similar position. :)

Just to be abundantly clear, and trying to leave no room for doubt, how about using this language (dates chosen arbitrarily for this example):

“This is a Restricted Application to file for my Spousal Insurance Benefit (SIB) ONLY. I am allowed to file this Restricted Application because I was born before January 1st, 1954. I attain Full Retirement Age (FRA) in June 2017 (birthday June 15th, 1951). I wish to file for my SIB starting at my FRA, with the resulting first payment to be paid in July 2017.”

What say you guys? How would you change the language?

Look forward to hearing how OP's application process turns out.

One Ping
"Re-verify our range to target ... one ping only."
Jackson12
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Re: Social Security Restricted Application

Post by Jackson12 »

xplorer wrote:I’m looking for Bogleheads who would like to share their experience when filing an online Restricted Application for Social Security (SS) since the new SS rules signed into law on Nov 2, 2015.

I am contemplating filing an online Restricted Application at Full Retirement Age (RTA) (in a couple months) that: 1) Suspends current and future Retirement Insurance Benefits (RIB) on my record in order to earn Delayed Retirement Credits (DRC) through age 70; and, 2) Claim a Spousal Insurance Benefit (SIB) on my wife’s record as I was born before January 1, 1954 which is consistent with the new Social Security law signed into effect on Nov. 2, 2015 (She is currently receiving SS as she began drawing SS at age 62)

I understand that verbage similar to the above paragraph must be filed in the Remarks section of the on-line application.

Has any Boglehead made the same or similar on-line filing and what experience did you have with the process? Was there anything you would have done differently?

Thanks - Mike
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xplorer
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Re: Social Security Restricted Application

Post by xplorer »

I promised to update the board on the progress of my filing....I did not anticipate updating the status so soon!

You may recall that I filed on Friday, March 3rd. Today I received a call from a very nice lady at social security in Boston (apparently that is where the application landed) who confirmed that my request for spousal benefits would begin in June with the first payment in July. That she understood the Restricted Application I filed. Further, she confirmed my benefits (on my work record) would not begin in June. Rather, my work record will receive delayed retirement credits until such time as I decide to initiate them or until age 70. She further advised that I should file another application with Social Security a few months before I want to start taking my retirement benefits but warned me that I should be specific (in remarks section) as to when the benefits should actually start. She provided the example, that if I filed in April prior to my 70th birthday in June then Social Security would retroactively go back 6 months and start payments which means I loose 8 months of credit. She recommended using the remarks section to specifically state that I want benefits to begin consistent with my 70th birthday, but in no case before age 70, so that I accrue all delayed retirement benefits.

Lastly, she needed to speak with my wife and confirm when, where, type of marriage (clergy civil) and that we were still married.

To say I was impressed and surprised by the speed of this process and accuracy is an understatement. I'm not sure waiting at the local SS office would have produced a better outcome!

Thanks to all who commented and I hope everyone who files under similar situations has as good a response as did I.

Mike
Dantes
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Re: Social Security Restricted Application

Post by Dantes »

Like a few others above I recently (October ) filed for spousal benefits, a week after my wife filed, a few months before her 66th birthday, for her full benefits. We both filed online, received no phone calls, and we got our first checks the month after she turned 66. According to my notes there was an opportunity to check that I was filing for spousal benefits.

I'm not sure why some people get calls and others don't; perhaps they do sampling. The online process was straightforward.
Last edited by Dantes on Tue Mar 07, 2017 7:50 am, edited 1 time in total.
Carl53
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Re: Social Security Restricted Application

Post by Carl53 »

Dantes wrote:Like a few others above I recently (October ) filed for spousal benefits, a week after my wife filed, a few months before her 66th birthday, for her full benefits. We both filed online, received no phone calls, and we got our first checks the month after she turned 66th. According to my notes there was an opportunity to check that I was filing for spousal benefits.

I'm not sure why some people get calls and others don't; perhaps they do sampling. The online process was straightforward.
Your situation gives me more confidence that ours will go well. In the same month that my spouse will be 62, I will be 66 a week later. Plan is for spouse to file and then for me to follow with a restricted application. Since you usually do this a few months ahead, much like was done in your case, I was concerned about my filing for the spousal prior to my spouse actually receiving benefits.
dowse
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Re: Social Security Restricted Application

Post by dowse »

xplorer wrote:I promised to update the board on the progress of my filing....I did not anticipate updating the status so soon!

You may recall that I filed on Friday, March 3rd. Today I received a call from a very nice lady at social security in Boston (apparently that is where the application landed) who confirmed that my request for spousal benefits would begin in June with the first payment in July. That she understood the Restricted Application I filed. Further, she confirmed my benefits (on my work record) would not begin in June. Rather, my work record will receive delayed retirement credits until such time as I decide to initiate them or until age 70. She further advised that I should file another application with Social Security a few months before I want to start taking my retirement benefits but warned me that I should be specific (in remarks section) as to when the benefits should actually start. She provided the example, that if I filed in April prior to my 70th birthday in June then Social Security would retroactively go back 6 months and start payments which means I loose 8 months of credit. She recommended using the remarks section to specifically state that I want benefits to begin consistent with my 70th birthday, but in no case before age 70, so that I accrue all delayed retirement benefits.

Lastly, she needed to speak with my wife and confirm when, where, type of marriage (clergy civil) and that we were still married.

To say I was impressed and surprised by the speed of this process and accuracy is an understatement. I'm not sure waiting at the local SS office would have produced a better outcome!

Thanks to all who commented and I hope everyone who files under similar situations has as good a response as did I.

Mike
Thank you, Mike, aka xplorer, for your helpful report. After reading this, I am now leaning toward the online process when my time comes up next year.
Jackson12
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Re: Social Security Restricted Application

Post by Jackson12 »

Penguin wrote:pizza,
There is no certain best plan.
You may try this calculator: http://www.bedrockcapital.com/ssanalyze/
Depending on your inputs you may get a plan something like this:
Recommended Solution
Based on the data above, the following plan of action is recommended:
Wife will file for her own benefit to start on 7/1/2018, the month she turns 67 and receive 108% of her full retirement age benefit.
Husband will file and "restrict his application" to his spousal benefit to start on 7/1/2018 when he is 67 and receive 50% of Wife's full retirement age benefit.
Husband will file for his own benefit to start on 7/1/2021, the month he turns 70 and receive 132% of his full retirement age benefit.
After she is widowed Wife will receive her survivor's benefit which will be 132% of Husband's full retirement age benefit.
This whole thread has such such helpful information! Being in the Restricted Application category, I wondered how to make sure that everything goes smoothly.

Also, the free calculator noted above (Blackrock) came up with the same results as Maximize My Social Security, being sure to note that there was a Restricted Application.

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boomer
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Re: Social Security Restricted Application

Post by boomer »

This thread has been very helpful. We applied last week for restricted spousal benefits for my spouse. I started social security at 62; my husband is turning full retirement age, 66, in February and will collect spousal on my record until he switches to his own benefit at age 70.

We applied online and used verbiage similar to what others have mentioned, above. Social security contacted my husband two days afterward to ask some questions and verify the application and what he wanted to do. They then needed to talk to me and verify our marriage and that we are still married. If I had not been available to speak by phone, I would have needed to send something in, I believe.

As it was, we were able to get everything done very quickly online and over the phone! I guess we will know that for sure once he gets a deposit. :wink: Thanks to all who have participated in this thread.
JW-Retired
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Re: Social Security Restricted Application

Post by JW-Retired »

xplorer wrote: Thu Mar 02, 2017 10:17 am I’m looking for Bogleheads who would like to share their experience when filing an online Restricted Application for Social Security (SS) since the new SS rules signed into law on Nov 2, 2015.

I am contemplating filing an online Restricted Application at Full Retirement Age (RTA) (in a couple months) that: 1) Suspends current and future Retirement Insurance Benefits (RIB) on my record in order to earn Delayed Retirement Credits (DRC) through age 70; and, 2) Claim a Spousal Insurance Benefit (SIB) on my wife’s record as I was born before January 1, 1954 which is consistent with the new Social Security law signed into effect on Nov. 2, 2015 (She is currently receiving SS as she began drawing SS at age 62)

I understand that verbage similar to the above paragraph must be filed in the Remarks section of the on-line application.

Has any Boglehead made the same or similar on-line filing and what experience did you have with the process? Was there anything you would have done differently?
Yep, exactly the same plan & on-line filing but SSA botched it. They ignored the remarks sections and were planning on just giving me my own benefits. Had I not learned of their plan well ahead of time by a fluke, I believe it would have been troublesome to fix it.

When we made a change at age 70, where I went to my own benefit instead of spousal & wife went to a spousal benefit instead of her own smaller benefit, we obviously didn't trust online. We instead did a "phone appointment" and made all the age 70 changes for both of us in like 20 minutes. You can cross examine the phone person to make sure he/she knows what you want to do. I would avoid using SS jargon since you probably have some of that wrong. You make a phone appointment by calling your local SS office. They called me exactly at the appointed time. Make the appointment at least a couple of months ahead of time.

My SSA attempted botch was 6 or 7 years ago, so maybe they have a fool proof system now? :wink: However, your comment that you must put all your special druthers in the remarks section would scare me. That implies some human needs to read that section.

Good luck!
JW
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