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Who do you all go to for SS filing advice-and COVID ?

Posted: Sat Nov 21, 2020 3:19 pm
by capran
Background: I know I messed up when I filed for SS early, at 63yrs 5 months. At the time, I was still almost 2 years away from getting my pension and had a 70 year old friend slip on the ice and die (which is why I took it early) My spouse, who is three years younger was getting her pension since she had 30 years with the company. During all our work years we had nearly identical pay except the last 10 years of my work I made an extra 10k a year when I added coaching to my regular pay, but it didn't change projected SS payments by that much overall between the two of us.

She is approaching her FRA (full retirement age of 66.2) and we are thinking she should apply for spousal benefits (getting half of my benefit if we are understanding correctly) when she reaches her FRA. From reading a number of prior questions, my understanding is by applying for spousal benefits, it will allow her own SS benefit to continue to grow where she would plan to take it at age 70.

With COVID, I don't even know if a face to face appointment with SS is even possible. Sounds like we may need an official marriage certificate issued by the county (from 42+ years ago).

So who do you all go to to confirm if the above are correct assumptions? Too bad there's not a SHIBA for Social Security like there is for Medicare! Your thoughts?

Re: Who do you all go to for SS filing advice-and COVID ?

Posted: Sat Nov 21, 2020 3:33 pm
by Big Dog
my go-to is Mike Piper's OpenSocialSecurity. Click the Additional Tab up top.

https://opensocialsecurity.com

Yes, for Spousal they may ask for a copy of the marriage license. (so might as well go track down a copy from the county in which you were married, assuming that you can't find it in your files.)

Re: Who do you all go to for SS filing advice-and COVID ?

Posted: Sat Nov 21, 2020 3:36 pm
by BluesH
capran wrote: Sat Nov 21, 2020 3:19 pm
She is approaching her FRA (full retirement age of 66.2) and we are thinking she should apply for spousal benefits (getting half of my benefit if we are understanding correctly) when she reaches her FRA. From reading a number of prior questions, my understanding is by applying for spousal benefits, it will allow her own SS benefit to continue to grow where she would plan to take it at age 70.
What you're describing is a restricted spousal application. That has been phased out, now available only to those born on or before 1/1/1954. If she's about to reach 66.2, then presumably she was born in 1956 or 1957. Sorry, not eligible.

The most often recommended online source for finding out an optimum social security strategy is http://opensocialsecurity.com/. Not sure about face-to-face source.

Re: Who do you all go to for SS filing advice-and COVID ?

Posted: Sat Nov 21, 2020 3:49 pm
by capran
BluesH wrote: Sat Nov 21, 2020 3:36 pm
capran wrote: Sat Nov 21, 2020 3:19 pm
She is approaching her FRA (full retirement age of 66.2) and we are thinking she should apply for spousal benefits (getting half of my benefit if we are understanding correctly) when she reaches her FRA. From reading a number of prior questions, my understanding is by applying for spousal benefits, it will allow her own SS benefit to continue to grow where she would plan to take it at age 70.
What you're describing is a restricted spousal application. That has been phased out, now available only to those born on or before 1/1/1954. If she's about to reach 66.2, then presumably she was born in 1956 or 1957. Sorry, not eligible.

The most often recommended online source for finding out an optimum social security strategy is http://opensocialsecurity.com/. Not sure about face-to-face source.
Wow, didn't see that coming. Kinda sucks. So you are saying she can not get a spousal benefit since she was born in 55. I guess that only leaves the decision will be if she takes her SS at FRA or at 70. We're leaning toward 70, as the difference is between 29,172 FRA or 38112 at 70. I tried several times to get a straight answer from SS on what would happen if she waits till 70, but passed later and if I would get her benefit since it is higher than my early benefit, but never got an understandable answer. Oh well, not the first bad decision I made.

Re: Who do you all go to for SS filing advice-and COVID ?

Posted: Sat Nov 21, 2020 3:54 pm
by Big Dog
^no, she can get spousal, but I believe it then caps the growth of her own benefits. Run Mike's calculator and it will solve for the best NPV of her claiming.

Re: Who do you all go to for SS filing advice-and COVID ?

Posted: Sat Nov 21, 2020 3:57 pm
by ResearchMed
capran wrote: Sat Nov 21, 2020 3:19 pm With COVID, I don't even know if a face to face appointment with SS is even possible. Sounds like we may need an official marriage certificate issued by the county (from 42+ years ago).
You should be able to handle this with phone calls to SSA folks.
When we did this (pre-COVID), we ended up arranging appointments for followup phone calls to complete the process. Those calls arrived just about exactly on time.

As far as getting things like marriage, birth, etc., documentation, that was all quite easy by phone and mail.
Just allow some extra time (perhaps a lot of extra time ?), given possible COVID staffing shortages and general work from home delays.

RM

Re: Who do you all go to for SS filing advice-and COVID ?

Posted: Sat Nov 21, 2020 3:57 pm
by oldcomputerguy
capran wrote: Sat Nov 21, 2020 3:49 pm Wow, didn't see that coming. Kinda sucks. So you are saying she can not get a spousal benefit since she was born in 55.
If she files now for a spousal benefit, she will have been "deemed" to have filed for her own benefit as well. Previously, filing for a spousal benefit prior to full retirement age would result in "deemed" filing, but filing after FRA would allow a "restricted" filing for just spousal benefits. However, the passage of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 closed that loophole, so now "deemed" filing applies even after full retirement age.

If you can find a copy somewhere of Mike Piper's "Social Security Made Simple", you can read all about deemed filing in Chapter 3, "Spousal Benefits".

Re: Who do you all go to for SS filing advice-and COVID ?

Posted: Sat Nov 21, 2020 4:49 pm
by capran
Big Dog wrote: Sat Nov 21, 2020 3:54 pm ^no, she can get spousal, but I believe it then caps the growth of her own benefits. Run Mike's calculator and it will solve for the best NPV of her claiming.
If I am getting all this correct, I certainly don't think it would be worth getting spousal, which would be 11,757.60 (which is half of mine) if it would cap her annual max of 29,172 FRA, or her age 70 benefit of 38,112.

I did use the link to "open Social security and plugged in the numbers. That was interesting, as it suggested ..
"Recommended Strategy
The strategy that maximizes the total dollars you can be expected to receive over your lifetimes is as follows:
Your spouse suspends his/her retirement benefit today.
Your spouse unsuspends his/her retirement benefit 2/2021, at age 68 and 7 months.
You file for your retirement benefit to begin 1/2025, at age 70 and 0 months.

Not sure why they think me suspending my current SS for less than 3 months does that much for the equation. Had I know about bogleheads back in 2012 I would have gotten info to make a better decision. One of the issues we've been struggling with is trying to drain down or IRA's. I would have greatly accelerated that before Medicare had I known about IRMAA, but that's water under the bridge. I guess not getting a SS spousal or FRA will at least allow us to get more out of that pile. And, of course, had I known then about what our anticipated income turned out to be, I would have deferred alot less in my working years. Oh well, live and learn.