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Social Security Labeling: "Restricted Application for Spousal Benefit", or Just "Spousal Benefit".

Posted: Fri Jul 13, 2018 2:46 pm
by Strider
I have been receiving Social Security retirement benefits for several years (first claimed at age 70). My wife's birth date allows her to apply for a Restricted Application for Spousal Benefits (an option not available to those with a later birth date).

In visiting the Social Security office, the claims rep told us that "Restricted Application" is not a term that is used on benefits applications, but instead that the application would be designated for a "Spousal Benefit". And that as such, my wife's initial benefit would be based entirely on my work record. And that her benefit based on her own work record will increase until age 70.

Is this labeling of the application correct? Should we insist on the designation "Restricted Application" on the paperwork?

Also, my understanding is that my wife's initial benefit will be half of what my Primary Insurance Amount (PIA) would have been had I collected at age 66. Is this correct?

Finally, we were told that whatever percentage-deduction for IRS purposes I have elected for my benefit would automatically apply to my wife's benefit. Is this correct.

Thank you.

Strider

Re: Social Security Labeling: "Restricted Application for Spousal Benefit", or Just "Spousal Benefit".

Posted: Fri Jul 13, 2018 2:54 pm
by JoeRetire
Strider wrote:
Fri Jul 13, 2018 2:46 pm
Is this labeling of the application correct? Should we insist on the designation "Restricted Application" on the paperwork?
There should be a comments section in the paperwork where you can make it clear that she is applying ONLY for her Spousal Benefit and not for her own benefit. That way they will not deem her to be filing for both.

And keep a copy of the paperwork in case they still make a mistake.
Also, my understanding is that my wife's initial benefit will be half of what my Primary Insurance Amount (PIA) would have been had I collected at age 66. Is this correct?
Only if she is filing on or after her FRA (probably 66 in her case). If she is filing before her FRA, her benefits will be less.

Re: Social Security Labeling: "Restricted Application for Spousal Benefit", or Just "Spousal Benefit".

Posted: Fri Jul 13, 2018 5:19 pm
by vested1
The SS reps do indeed try to avoid using the phrase restricted application, and want you to use "spousal only". I think this may be due to the phasing out of "restricted applications" for all those who were younger than 62 on 1/2/16. While most get the application done correctly on the first try, I didn't. You must be very clear in your comments, online, on the phone, and in person if necessary. Some agents, especially the new ones, are under the impression that restricted applications are no longer available for anyone.

I would use the search box to find multiple threads on this subject, which include the comments others have used. Here is one.

viewtopic.php?f=2&t=225624&p=3741750&hi ... n#p3741750

ChrisC had a good response:
The online application itself has the following question: "If eligible for both retirement and spouse's benefits, delay receipt of retirement benefit." If you answer "yes", which my wife did, one is filing a restricted application for spousal benefits.

In the remarks section, my wife did make the following statement: "I am submitting a restricted application for spousal benefits. I am not applying for retirement benefits under my own social security account."
Keep it as simple as possible while still getting your point across. The word "restricted" has gone missing from the application, but can be inserted in your comments at the end for clarity purposes. Your wife will get a confirming call from an agent as well as a confirmation letter. Make sure you know the expected gross and net amount going in as a good self defense.

Re: Social Security Labeling: "Restricted Application for Spousal Benefit", or Just "Spousal Benefit".

Posted: Fri Jul 13, 2018 11:46 pm
by One Ping
Strider wrote:
Fri Jul 13, 2018 2:46 pm
Also, my understanding is that my wife's initial benefit will be half of what my Primary Insurance Amount (PIA) would have been had I collected at age 66. Is this correct?
Yes, as long as she is FRA or older. Plus, I believe, also whatever COLAs have occurred since then.