MIL passed- question about her Social Security

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meens888
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MIL passed- question about her Social Security

Post by meens888 » Tue Jun 19, 2018 12:46 pm

Hi Bogleheads,

I just have a quick question, hoping someone could clarify this for me- because I have been told 2 different things now. My husbands mother recently passed at the age of 52. She hasn't worked at all the last few years years, but prior to this- she was making a pretty decent income. Do to her excess spending initially, then lack of a job, and then ailing health, her husband (my husbands step-dad) hasn't made much contribution to his retirement account even though he makes a good 6 figure income. My husband and I aren't really in the situation to financially help him out - but we are hoping to give him some advice to help (which he is receptive to). We realize he will be able to make better retirement contributions now, but he is not a super saver.

We were wondering if in 10 years (when she would be 62), if he could receive her SS survivor benefits and put off his own SS benefits until age 70- or if this is something that can not be done. Would it be better to get both later on at 70? Is this even possible?

Any suggestions or variations on this to help buffer his late start at retirement planning would be greatly appreciated.

Jack FFR1846
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Re: MIL passed- question about her Social Security

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Tue Jun 19, 2018 1:16 pm

Was the mother married to her first husband for 10 or more years?
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invst65
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Re: MIL passed- question about her Social Security

Post by invst65 » Tue Jun 19, 2018 1:17 pm

No, he can't collect both SS checks. Only one, unfortunately.

He should be eligible for widow benefits as early as age 60. I don't think her (would be) age has any relevance.

Not an expert on these things but somebody will surely correct me if I am wrong.

123
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Re: MIL passed- question about her Social Security

Post by 123 » Tue Jun 19, 2018 1:20 pm

A widow(er) can be eligible for a reduced survivor benefit at age 60. Any benefit a widow(er) receives before they attain their own full retirement age (FRA), which used to be 65 but now varies based on an individual's year of birth, will be reduced if they still have earned income, depending on how much it is. When an individual reaches their own FRA they can work all they want without earnings have any impact on social security benefits.

In the typical case a widow(er) could file for a widow(er) benefit somewhere between age 60 and their own FRA (dependng on if they are still working) and then receive the widow(er)'s benefit until they attain age 70 when their own benefit is maximized due to the "delayed retirement credits" of 8% a year. Exact results will vary depending on the relative amount of each benefit.

The age at whict the worker passed away is irrelavant to when a widow(er) can receive benefits as long as the worker has sufficient credits under social security. For all practical purposes an individual can receive only one benefit at a time, either their own retirement benefit or a benefit as a widow(er),
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ColoRetiredGirl
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Re: MIL passed- question about her Social Security

Post by ColoRetiredGirl » Tue Jun 19, 2018 3:59 pm

Jack FFR1846 wrote:
Tue Jun 19, 2018 1:16 pm
Was the mother married to her first husband for 10 or more years?
OP

Please answer this question. If she was married to the first husband for 10 or more years, the first may have dibs on some of her SS.

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ObliviousInvestor
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Re: MIL passed- question about her Social Security

Post by ObliviousInvestor » Wed Jun 20, 2018 3:35 pm

ColoRetiredGirl wrote:
Tue Jun 19, 2018 3:59 pm
Jack FFR1846 wrote:
Tue Jun 19, 2018 1:16 pm
Was the mother married to her first husband for 10 or more years?
OP

Please answer this question. If she was married to the first husband for 10 or more years, the first may have dibs on some of her SS.
It doesn't matter (to the second husband) whether she was married to her first husband for 10 or more years at this point. It won't have any impact on the second husband's benefit at all.

It could potentially matter to the first husband though, if he's still alive.
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JoeRetire
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Re: MIL passed- question about her Social Security

Post by JoeRetire » Wed Jun 20, 2018 3:40 pm

ColoRetiredGirl wrote:
Tue Jun 19, 2018 3:59 pm
If she was married to the first husband for 10 or more years, the first may have dibs on some of her SS.
Even if the first ex has dibs on some of her SS, that doesn't impact the benefit the second husband may receive.
Both may be able to claim a survivor's benefit without impacting each other.

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Re: MIL passed- question about her Social Security

Post by ColoRetiredGirl » Wed Jun 20, 2018 3:51 pm

JoeRetire wrote:
Wed Jun 20, 2018 3:40 pm
ColoRetiredGirl wrote:
Tue Jun 19, 2018 3:59 pm
If she was married to the first husband for 10 or more years, the first may have dibs on some of her SS.
Even if the first ex has dibs on some of her SS, that doesn't impact the benefit the second husband may receive.
Both may be able to claim a survivor's benefit without impacting each other.
Really! Both getting the same full SS amount! Really??? If so, no wonder the fund will be depleted. I plan to face check this. 🤔

JoeRetire
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Re: MIL passed- question about her Social Security

Post by JoeRetire » Wed Jun 20, 2018 3:54 pm

ColoRetiredGirl wrote:
Wed Jun 20, 2018 3:51 pm
Really! Both getting the same full SS amount! Really??? If so, no wonder the fund will be depleted. I plan to face check this. 🤔
Yes really. This aspect of social security has very little impact on the fund being depleted.

I don't know what "face check" means. Is that anything like a hip check?

ColoRetiredGirl
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Re: MIL passed- question about her Social Security

Post by ColoRetiredGirl » Wed Jun 20, 2018 4:08 pm

JoeRetire wrote:
Wed Jun 20, 2018 3:54 pm
ColoRetiredGirl wrote:
Wed Jun 20, 2018 3:51 pm
Really! Both getting the same full SS amount! Really??? If so, no wonder the fund will be depleted. I plan to face check this. 🤔
Yes really. This aspect of social security has very little impact on the fund being depleted.

I don't know what "fact check" means. Is that anything like a hip check?
Thanks I fix my typo. Yes I understand it may add a little to SS depletion but all the give-always add up. Let me know if I have any other typos.🙂

Rupert
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Re: MIL passed- question about her Social Security

Post by Rupert » Wed Jun 20, 2018 4:10 pm

ColoRetiredGirl wrote:
Wed Jun 20, 2018 3:51 pm
JoeRetire wrote:
Wed Jun 20, 2018 3:40 pm
ColoRetiredGirl wrote:
Tue Jun 19, 2018 3:59 pm
If she was married to the first husband for 10 or more years, the first may have dibs on some of her SS.
Even if the first ex has dibs on some of her SS, that doesn't impact the benefit the second husband may receive.
Both may be able to claim a survivor's benefit without impacting each other.
Really! Both getting the same full SS amount! Really??? If so, no wonder the fund will be depleted. I plan to face check this. 🤔
Here you go: https://www.ssa.gov/planners/survivors/ifyou.html

Scroll down to the section entitled "Surviving Divorced Spouse."

I think this affects so few people that it will hardly bankrupt the program. The surviving divorced spouse can't collect benefits if remarried. Also, if the surviving divorced spouse has paid into the system, I think they draw their own benefits first and only draw a portion of the deceased former spouse's benefit -- a portion equal to the difference between their own benefit and what the deceased divorced spouse's benefit would be. That is explained here: https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/divspouse.html

ColoRetiredGirl
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Re: MIL passed- question about her Social Security

Post by ColoRetiredGirl » Wed Jun 20, 2018 4:40 pm

Rupert wrote:
Wed Jun 20, 2018 4:10 pm
ColoRetiredGirl wrote:
Wed Jun 20, 2018 3:51 pm
JoeRetire wrote:
Wed Jun 20, 2018 3:40 pm
ColoRetiredGirl wrote:
Tue Jun 19, 2018 3:59 pm
If she was married to the first husband for 10 or more years, the first may have dibs on some of her SS.
Even if the first ex has dibs on some of her SS, that doesn't impact the benefit the second husband may receive.
Both may be able to claim a survivor's benefit without impacting each other.
Really! Both getting the same full SS amount! Really??? If so, no wonder the fund will be depleted. I plan to face check this. 🤔
Here you go: https://www.ssa.gov/planners/survivors/ifyou.html

Scroll down to the section entitled "Surviving Divorced Spouse."

I think this affects so few people that it will hardly bankrupt the program. The surviving divorced spouse can't collect benefits if remarried. Also, if the surviving divorced spouse has paid into the system, I think they draw their own benefits first and only draw a portion of the deceased former spouse's benefit -- a portion equal to the difference between their own benefit and what the deceased divorced spouse's benefit would be. That is explained here: https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/divspouse.html
Thanks! This makes more sense to me.

JoeRetire
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Re: MIL passed- question about her Social Security

Post by JoeRetire » Wed Jun 20, 2018 5:47 pm

ColoRetiredGirl wrote:
Wed Jun 20, 2018 4:08 pm
Thanks I fix my typo. Yes I understand it may add a little to SS depletion but all the give-always add up. Let me know if I have any other typos.🙂
Okay. :happy

You probably meant to write "giveaways".

ColoRetiredGirl
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Re: MIL passed- question about her Social Security

Post by ColoRetiredGirl » Wed Jun 20, 2018 6:45 pm

JoeRetire wrote:
Wed Jun 20, 2018 5:47 pm
ColoRetiredGirl wrote:
Wed Jun 20, 2018 4:08 pm
Thanks I fix my typo. Yes I understand it may add a little to SS depletion but all the give-always add up. Let me know if I have any other typos.🙂
Okay. :happy

You probably meant to write "giveaways".
Yes..giveaways. Sitting in Starbucks on my phone is the not serving me well today. 😖

meens888
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Re: MIL passed- question about her Social Security

Post by meens888 » Wed Jun 20, 2018 7:17 pm

Thank you to everyone who responded. Her first husband was a short marriage and he went on to re-marry another 5 times- so it wouldn’t apply to him anyways. I think I will sit and look into this more for him and see if we can get the survivor benefit for him at 60 so we can delay his own until a more reasonable retirement age.

Thank you all again!

Jablean
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Re: MIL passed- question about her Social Security

Post by Jablean » Wed Jun 20, 2018 8:03 pm

I don't know about ages but my dad, divorced from my mother for 40 years, neither remarried, (both in their 70s) was able to claim her higher SS benefits when she died last year. So his benefits stopped and he took over hers.

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jharkin
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Re: MIL passed- question about her Social Security

Post by jharkin » Thu Jun 21, 2018 7:31 am

Yep... My parents divorced in the 80s... Dad remarried right way but my mom never did and she still had hte option to claim against my Dad's SS ( I think her own was higher but she had the choice).

Agree with others that these rules have nothing to do with trust fund depletion, as its been this way forever. Trust fund depletion is a simple matter of demographics. The system was designed when life expectancies where lower than age 70. People living to 80+ regularly and slowing birth rates just don't work with the formulas developed 80 years ago.. its simple math, not abuse.... ;) It will probably happen at the last minute, but it will get fixed - just like it got fixed in the 80s (taxing benefits).

We will all get less, but short of a black swan we wont get nothing. Take a deep breath :beer

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HueyLD
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Re: MIL passed- question about her Social Security

Post by HueyLD » Thu Jun 21, 2018 9:58 am

meens888 wrote:
Wed Jun 20, 2018 7:17 pm
Thank you to everyone who responded. Her first husband was a short marriage and he went on to re-marry another 5 times- so it wouldn’t apply to him anyways. I think I will sit and look into this more for him and see if we can get the survivor benefit for him at 60 so we can delay his own until a more reasonable retirement age.
SF (the OP’s stepfather in law) should be able to claim survivors benefits on OP’s MIL’s records as early as age 60 provided that he doesn’t remarry before he turns 60.

If the SF remarries after 60, he will still be eligible for survivors benefits.

Even if the SF remarries before age 60, he can still claim survivors benefits on OP’s MIL records if he becomes unmarried again due to death or divorce.

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Re: MIL passed- question about her Social Security

Post by mouses » Thu Jun 21, 2018 10:09 am

jharkin wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 7:31 am
Yep... My parents divorced in the 80s... Dad remarried right way but my mom never did and she still had hte option to claim against my Dad's SS ( I think her own was higher but she had the choice).

Agree with others that these rules have nothing to do with trust fund depletion, as its been this way forever. Trust fund depletion is a simple matter of demographics. The system was designed when life expectancies where lower than age 70. People living to 80+ regularly and slowing birth rates just don't work with the formulas developed 80 years ago.. its simple math, not abuse.... ;) It will probably happen at the last minute, but it will get fixed - just like it got fixed in the 80s (taxing benefits).

We will all get less, but short of a black swan we wont get nothing. Take a deep breath :beer
My understanding is if they got rid of the salary cap, we would all be streaming ahead with no reduction.

JoeRetire
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Re: MIL passed- question about her Social Security

Post by JoeRetire » Thu Jun 21, 2018 12:34 pm

mouses wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 10:09 am
My understanding is if they got rid of the salary cap, we would all be streaming ahead with no reduction.
My understanding is that this would have been correct if they had removed the ceiling during the last reform back in the 80s. But now, eliminating the ceiling would only close the gap by 88%.

And the longer Congress waits, the more drastic the measures required to close the gap will be.

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Re: MIL passed- question about her Social Security

Post by celia » Thu Jun 21, 2018 1:05 pm

ColoRetiredGirl wrote:
Wed Jun 20, 2018 3:51 pm
Really! Both getting the same full SS amount! Really???
Theoretically it is possible to have more than 2 spouses claim on your work history:
You are married to your first spouse from age 20 to 30.
You are married to your second spouse from age 31 to 41.
You are married to your third spouse from age 42 to 52.
You are married to your fourth spouse from age 53 to 63. Etc
Each spouse would be able to take full spousal benefits on your work record while you are living. They can each also get your full SS after you die.

But in reality you probably don't have much of a work record if you are focused on getting married and divorced this often. :D


OP, Does the MIL have any minor children? They could be eligible for benefits too.

meens888
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Re: MIL passed- question about her Social Security

Post by meens888 » Thu Jun 21, 2018 1:14 pm

She only had one child, and he is a fully grown adult (even though he acts like a teenager sometimes)

:P :D :) :sharebeer

ColoRetiredGirl
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Re: MIL passed- question about her Social Security

Post by ColoRetiredGirl » Thu Jun 21, 2018 6:06 pm

celia wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 1:05 pm
ColoRetiredGirl wrote:
Wed Jun 20, 2018 3:51 pm
Really! Both getting the same full SS amount! Really???
Theoretically it is possible to have more than 2 spouses claim on your work history:
You are married to your first spouse from age 20 to 30.
You are married to your second spouse from age 31 to 41.
You are married to your third spouse from age 42 to 52.
You are married to your fourth spouse from age 53 to 63. Etc
Each spouse would be able to take full spousal benefits on your work record while you are living. They can each also get your full SS after you die.

But in reality you probably don't have much of a work record if you are focused on getting married and divorced this often. :D


OP, Does the MIL have any minor children? They could be eligible for benefits too.
:shock: The system needs revamping IMHO.

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