Advice on Filing for Social Security at Age 70

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Small Law Survivor
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Advice on Filing for Social Security at Age 70

Post by Small Law Survivor »

I am about to turn 70. I’ve read a fair amount on Bogleheads about people’s experiences in applying for social security, but I’d appreciate some advice on the “down and dirty” mechanics of this process.

FACTS
Husband (higher earner) - turns 70 [month, date] 2021. I have not filed for social security or Medicare Part A. I am still employed.
Wife - 18 months younger, so she will be 68 when I file. Wife filed on own earnings at age 66 and has been receiving around $500/month. Her spousal benefit will push her total up to around $1500/month. (I realize that technically she will be applying for a partial, or excess, spousal benefit to be paid in addition to her own benefit).

We have birth and marriage certificates, if needed. (originals)

GOALS
I want the full benefit that I’ve waited for by delaying until age 70. I will be careful to inform SSA that I wish to receive my maximum benefit, including all delayed retirement credits to age 70, and that I do not wish to receive any retroactive payments based on a retirement age earlier than 70.

I want my wife’s spousal benefit to “sync up” with my filing. In other words, if I start receiving social security in June (for May), she should start receiving her spousal benefit at the same time.

QUESTIONS

First, since I was born [personally identifiable information removed by admin LadyGeek] 1951 is May the month I should start benefits in order to max out delayed retirement benefits? Or, should I start benefits in June to accomplish this?

I’ve had a hard time finding the answer to this, but the question seems to be answered here: https://www.govexec.com/pay-benefits/20 ... ts/164494/

The author quotes SSA as follows:
“If you want to maximize your monthly payment—which means you want to collect the largest possible number of delayed retirement credits—then you want to specify in the application that benefits should begin in the month that you turn 70. For example, let’s say that you turn 70 on Aug. 15. You may request that your benefit begin in August with the first payment in September. By requesting that your benefit begin in your birthday month, you will receive the maximum possible monthly payment for the rest of your life.”
Is this accurate?

Second, I have an SSA office nearby, and I’ve been there several times for reasons not relevant here. I’ve had good experiences with service there. However, they are closed at present. Should I apply online or by phone? Which is preferable?

Third, what should my wife do to trigger her spousal benefit? Will this occur automatically? I assume not, since I’m not sure how social security would know that we are married, unless the IRS were to tell them. Will we need to mail our marriage certificate to SSA as proof of marriage? How does that affect our timing strategies? Should she file for her spousal benefit online or by telephone? When should she do this? - I assume sometime after I file, but how long after?

Fourth, when should I apply? I am in no particular hurry for payments to start. If we both applied in April and it took several months for payments to start that would be fine, so long as we are both paid retroactively for any months after May 2021.

What else should I know or am I missing? Is there a book that you recommend I read to delve into these details? Do I need to read Mike Piper or Kotlikoff’s book, or Social Security for Dummies?

Thanks in advance!
Last edited by Small Law Survivor on Wed Jan 27, 2021 12:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
69 yrs, semi-retired lawyer, 50/40/10 s/b/c, 70/30 dom/int'l. Plan: 4% WR until age 70, 3% after social security kicks in. Boglehead since day 1 (and M* Diehard before that) under various other names
Beehave
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Re: Advice on Filing for Social Security at Age 70

Post by Beehave »

I went through this with something like similar circumstances and questions. I started the application for benefits online and found the instructions confusing. I called Social Security, made an appointment, and received excellent help at the local office (this was pre-pandemic). Everything went smoothly. We were also able to discuss my spouse's Social Security situation as well.

I'd suggest getting a phone appointment if possible and working directly. Every interaction I've had with Social Security has been pleasant and helpful. It might seem strange, but it struck me that the personnel were so accustomed to people taking benefits at 62 or trying for disability, that when someone claims at 70 they become enthused and extra interested -- maybe they recognize that you recognize the true value of what they are providing.

Edited to add - - I did this about two and a half months before turning 70.

Best wishes!
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Re: Advice on Filing for Social Security at Age 70

Post by ObliviousInvestor »

Small Law Survivor wrote: Tue Jan 26, 2021 12:39 pm First, since I was born [personally identifiable information removed by admin LadyGeek] 1951 is May the month I should start benefits in order to max out delayed retirement benefits? Or, should I start benefits in June to accomplish this?
The last month for which you can receive a DRC is the month before attainment of age 70.
https://secure.ssa.gov/apps10/poms.nsf/lnx/0300615690

So if you want the maximum benefit, and you attain age 70 in May 2021, you want to receive a benefit for May but not for April.

Of note, we're talking about months for which you receive a benefit. May's benefit (which you do want to receive) is the one that would be paid in June. You don't want to receive a benefit in May, because that would be April's benefit.
Small Law Survivor wrote: Tue Jan 26, 2021 12:39 pm Second, I have an SSA office nearby, and I’ve been there several times for reasons not relevant here. I’ve had good experiences with service there. However, they are closed at present. Should I apply online or by phone? Which is preferable?
In my experience, online applications have a far lower error rate than in person or over the phone. In the time I've been dealing with Social Security topics, I've only encountered two people who have had online applications processed incorrectly. I have absolutely no idea how many times I've heard from people whose in-person or phone applications have gone wrong.

I would always encourage online applications (other than for widow(er) benefits, for which a person cannot file online). Not to say that online applications cannot go wrong, because they can and have. But it's a lot less common.

Edited to add: despite the above, I agree with Beehave's characterization of SSA employees as pleasant and helpful. That has been my experience as well. They're friendly people, working hard to implement a complicated, broad set of rules. Nonetheless, I think if the goal is to minimize errors (i.e., you already know what you want and you just want the application processed correctly) removing humans from the equation is beneficial, to the extent possible.
Small Law Survivor wrote: Tue Jan 26, 2021 12:39 pm Third, what should my wife do to trigger her spousal benefit? Will this occur automatically? I assume not, since I’m not sure how social security would know that we are married, unless the IRS were to tell them. Will we need to mail our marriage certificate to SSA as proof of marriage? How does that affect our timing strategies? Should she file for her spousal benefit online or by telephone? When should she do this? - I assume sometime after I file, but how long after?
I would encourage her to file for her spousal benefit at the same time that you file for your retirement benefit.
Small Law Survivor wrote: Tue Jan 26, 2021 12:39 pmFourth, when should I apply? I am in no particular hurry for payments to start. If we both applied in April and it took several months for payments to start that would be fine, so long as we are both paid retroactively for any months after May 2021.
You can apply up to four months before the "month of election." So you could file at any time now.
https://secure.ssa.gov/apps10/poms.nsf/lnx/0200204007
Small Law Survivor wrote: Tue Jan 26, 2021 12:39 pmWhat else should I know or am I missing? Is there a book that you recommend I read to delve into these details? Do I need to read Mike Piper or Kotlikoff’s book, or Social Security for Dummies?
Frankly, probably not, at this point. You've already settled on your filing ages. There's some tax planning stuff to think about, with regard to Social Security. But you can get that information here as well.
Mike Piper | Roth is a name, not an acronym.
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Re: Advice on Filing for Social Security at Age 70

Post by Small Law Survivor »

Hmmm ... Beehave suggests a phone call to SSA, ObliviousI recommends online application.

Would greatly appreciate more votes/comments on either side of this issue!
69 yrs, semi-retired lawyer, 50/40/10 s/b/c, 70/30 dom/int'l. Plan: 4% WR until age 70, 3% after social security kicks in. Boglehead since day 1 (and M* Diehard before that) under various other names
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Re: Advice on Filing for Social Security at Age 70

Post by ModifiedDuration »

Small Law Survivor wrote: Tue Jan 26, 2021 6:00 pm Hmmm ... Beehave suggests a phone call to SSA, ObliviousI recommends online application.

Would greatly appreciate more votes/comments on either side of this issue!
One of life’s rules:

You can bank on whatever ObliviousInvestor (Mike Piper) says. He wrote the book on the subject.
bac
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Re: Advice on Filing for Social Security at Age 70

Post by bac »

I filed online about just under four months in advance of my birth month (which is in the future). Easy-peasy. Despite putting a note in my application that I wanted my benefit to start when I turned 70, I did get a call from a cordial rep to confirm that I did not want six months of retroactive benefits; it seemed to be procedure. She also provided a rundown on gross payment, Medicare deduction and payment date, and she offered a choice of tax withholding percentage.
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Re: Advice on Filing for Social Security at Age 70

Post by One Ping »

Small Law Survivor wrote: Tue Jan 26, 2021 6:00 pm Hmmm ... Beehave suggests a phone call to SSA, ObliviousI recommends online application.

Would greatly appreciate more votes/comments on either side of this issue!
Not everything is about 'votes'. I would trust/believe what Mike Piper (ObliviousInvestor, the man who wrote the book) says regardless of how a 'vote' turns out. Jus saying, sometimes right is right, regardless of what a random group of folks happens to think. Sometimes the experts actually are right!!
"Re-verify our range to target ... one ping only."
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Re: Advice on Filing for Social Security at Age 70

Post by JoeRetire »

Small Law Survivor wrote: Tue Jan 26, 2021 6:00 pmWould greatly appreciate more votes/comments on either side of this issue!
The online form will always do exactly what you tell it to. You just need to tell it the correct thing. Some people get confused and don't tell it the right thing. If you may get confused, have someone help you enter the data.

In person or on the phone will try to do what you tell them to do. Sometimes they misunderstand. Sometimes they make mistakes.

You can always start online. That's what I would suggest. If you go through the process and still don't feel confident, just don't submit it. Then you can still call or go in person.
It's the end of the world as we know it. | It's the end of the world as we know it. | It's the end of the world as we know it. | And I feel fine.
rlchambers
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Re: Advice on Filing for Social Security at Age 70

Post by rlchambers »

Online or phone? I turned 68 in December and was ready to retire due to the Covid and other issues. On December 1st I called the SS office in our area and started the process. Part of the process is that they will set you up an appointment about a week later. So on December 8th they called me back and I told them all of the information and told them I was ready to retire. The following day they called me back and told me what my benefits would be. Part of the process that I sent them was a VOIDED check for direct deposit to my account. I actually gave them the routing number and account number on the 8th over the phone. on December 10th had a deposit for my back pay in the bank. On December 23rd I received my first check. I was surprised that I had accomplished this in such a short time.
I would recommend phone.
Last edited by rlchambers on Tue Jan 26, 2021 8:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Advice on Filing for Social Security at Age 70

Post by BolderBoy »

Do it online. I filled out the form online on Dec 8. Allow 20 minutes but there is nothing mysterious about doing it online. You can even stop anytime you want, tell it to save your work and return to the application later.

It will ask you to choose the month you want to start your benefit (the month relative to your birth month). Obviously, in your case, select May. You can delay applying for up to 6 months after your birth month (it actually turns out that you can delay for 8 months after your birth month) - they will pay you retroactive to your birth month if you wait and then start your regular payments thereafter.

Since the offices are closed "except for dire emergencies", be prepared to have to provide other documents. I was asked to provide a copy of my passport or drivers license.

Once they have the documentation, things move quickly after that.

A word of caution - do NOT get in a situation where you need to file a form SSA-521. That is a withdrawal of your application and doing so can cause no end of problems. Guess how I know.
"Never underestimate one's capacity to overestimate one's abilities" - The Dunning-Kruger Effect
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Re: Advice on Filing for Social Security at Age 70

Post by Small Law Survivor »

One Ping wrote: Tue Jan 26, 2021 6:35 pm
Small Law Survivor wrote: Tue Jan 26, 2021 6:00 pm Hmmm ... Beehave suggests a phone call to SSA, ObliviousI recommends online application.

Would greatly appreciate more votes/comments on either side of this issue!
Not everything is about 'votes'. I would trust/believe what Mike Piper (ObliviousInvestor, the man who wrote the book) says regardless of how a 'vote' turns out. Jus saying, sometimes right is right, regardless of what a random group of folks happens to think. Sometimes the experts actually are right!!
Did not know Mike Piper's Bogleheads pseudonym :)
69 yrs, semi-retired lawyer, 50/40/10 s/b/c, 70/30 dom/int'l. Plan: 4% WR until age 70, 3% after social security kicks in. Boglehead since day 1 (and M* Diehard before that) under various other names
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Re: Advice on Filing for Social Security at Age 70

Post by Small Law Survivor »

BolderBoy wrote: Tue Jan 26, 2021 7:17 pm A word of caution - do NOT get in a situation where you need to file a form SSA-521. That is a withdrawal of your application and doing so can cause no end of problems. Guess how I know.
Too late! I filed for Medicare Part A in spring 2016 shortly after I turned 65. I then discovered, purely by coincidence (or because I read a lot, but obviously not enough) that I couldn't contribute to my employer's HSA if I was enrolled in Medicare A. I filed the SSS-521 that Fall, and was unenrolled in Part A in Spring 2017.

The whole experience was quite painful, and I documented a lot of it here, including an SSA employee who insisted - insisted!! - that if I withdrew I would never be eligible for social security again my lifetime. Here is the post where I discussed this (for historical interest): viewtopic.php?f=2&t=204301

I trust that the 2017 un-enrollment will not be problematic now. Just hoping I don't get assigned to the same SSA employee that gave me this information in 2017. :)

What problems did this cause for you BolderBoy?
69 yrs, semi-retired lawyer, 50/40/10 s/b/c, 70/30 dom/int'l. Plan: 4% WR until age 70, 3% after social security kicks in. Boglehead since day 1 (and M* Diehard before that) under various other names
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Re: Advice on Filing for Social Security at Age 70

Post by Leif »

Small Law Survivor wrote: Tue Jan 26, 2021 6:00 pm Hmmm ... Beehave suggests a phone call to SSA, ObliviousI recommends online application.

Would greatly appreciate more votes/comments on either side of this issue!
I also recommend on-line. I went to the office first (2 hour wait). The representative gave me some information I knew was wrong concerning delayed retirement credits and spousal benefits. When I questioned that I guess he got mad, so he said I should make another appointment later. After that I decided to just do it on-line. I'm glad I did, since I lost confidence in the rep at that point.
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Re: Advice on Filing for Social Security at Age 70

Post by Beehave »

Interesting thread, and I'm happy to see the varied responses. I think by and large they come to the same thing.

If you are confident that you can answer all questions correctly, then it will be best to use the internet method because, as Oblivious Investor writes and which made a world of sense to me when I read it, this eliminates the possibility of miscommunication error and lowers the chance of data entry error.

If you are not confident of the answers, then you should get assistance. In my case I started on the Social Security website but was not confident of my answers. Since Social Security itself was the best source I would have access to (I was not yet a Boglehead), that's where I went and it worked fine. I went with my wife and the agent reviewed both of our situations, helped us tune (per our desires) our withholding, and made sure we were happy with what we were doing, and also gave me an up-to-date printout of my month-by-month benefit accrual table.

My case was complicated by:
(a) being on spousal benefit that I was concerned about messing up when specifying when and how I wanted to claim on my own and
(b) being on employer non-Medicare insurance past age 65, which my wife had previously had a problem with that we were lucky to get fixed by Medicare -- thus narrowly avoiding lifetime payment penalties for her.

The thing is, there are lifetime benefits and potential lifetime penalties associated with the applications for Social Security and Medicare. So whatever will give you the best chance of getting things right for you is what to do.

Best wishes.
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Re: Advice on Filing for Social Security at Age 70

Post by Prudence »

I delayed my SS benefit until age 70 (in 2016). I worked full time up to that time and received a lump sum buyout from my employer. The SSA looked at my recent tax returns and determined that I was subject to an IRMAA adjustment (surcharge). It caught me by surprise. I got them to stop it after the first year after I filed a request for an exception. The surcharge was significant. I would be aware of this, as you may want to insure your wages don't trigger the surcharge, if possible.
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Re: Advice on Filing for Social Security at Age 70

Post by montanagirl »

I did everything online, making liberal use of the Remarks field at the end, and everything went off without a hitch

Personally I wouldn't trust the local SSA workers because their experience is with more typical (early) claimants than bogleheads
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Re: Advice on Filing for Social Security at Age 70

Post by oldcomputerguy »

Small Law Survivor wrote: Tue Jan 26, 2021 6:00 pm Hmmm ... Beehave suggests a phone call to SSA, ObliviousI recommends online application.

Would greatly appreciate more votes/comments on either side of this issue!
Never having dealt with SSA either online or via phone, I would only note that ObliviousInvestor is Mike Piper, the author of "Social Security Made Simple". He's pretty knowledgeable.
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Re: Advice on Filing for Social Security at Age 70

Post by BolderBoy »

Small Law Survivor wrote: Tue Jan 26, 2021 8:22 pm What problems did this cause for you BolderBoy?
SSA-521 saga (ongoing) ...

Filed the SSA-521 in order to put off my December application until January. FAXed the form to them and they INSTANTLY withdrew my application (saw the change on mySSA) and sent me a letter saying that I could "cancel the withdrawal" in writing at anytime within 60 days. After 60 days I'd have to refile anew.

FAXed a letter explicitly requesting that they "cancel the withdrawal" following all instructions in their letter to me. Did that on Jan 4. Each week since then I've checked mySSA and there has been no change in my status - "Withdrawn". Each week I've called and talked with clueless SSA reps who have no idea why my letter isn't being honored. One suggested that perhaps I've been flagged for fraud. I've since reFAXed the letter to other SSA FAX numbers I have. Nothing is being done.

Plan to call the local Work Support Unit today and try to make a connection with the original handler I had in December (when they wanted additional documentation).

So far, my experience with the SSA can only be considered dismal at best.
"Never underestimate one's capacity to overestimate one's abilities" - The Dunning-Kruger Effect
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Re: Advice on Filing for Social Security at Age 70

Post by bob60014 »

BolderBoy wrote: Tue Jan 26, 2021 7:17 pm Allow 20 minutes but there is nothing mysterious about doing it online. You can even stop anytime you want, tell it to save your work and return to the application later.
Works well especially if one has questions with need for clarification.
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Re: Advice on Filing for Social Security at Age 70

Post by musicmom »

Online eliminates the possibility of miscommunication with a human being.

Having said that, Ive had long time in person interactions with SS staff pre pandemic handling benefits for our adult disabled daughter. Always found employees to be patient and knowledgeable and looking to apply the rules to the optimum benefit of the applicant.
One exception was regarding ABLE accounts. They were newly introduced at the time and I needed to educate the employee on their own SS rules concerning impact on daughters benefits.

We chose to file for my benefit in person in Jan 2020 only due to our complicated family situation. Otherwise I would have filed online.
Best of luck
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Re: Advice on Filing for Social Security at Age 70

Post by Small Law Survivor »

BolderBoy wrote: Wed Jan 27, 2021 9:08 am
Small Law Survivor wrote: Tue Jan 26, 2021 8:22 pm What problems did this cause for you BolderBoy?
SSA-521 saga (ongoing) ...

Filed the SSA-521 in order to put off my December application until January. FAXed the form to them and they INSTANTLY withdrew my application (saw the change on mySSA) and sent me a letter saying that I could "cancel the withdrawal" in writing at anytime within 60 days. After 60 days I'd have to refile anew.

FAXed a letter explicitly requesting that they "cancel the withdrawal" following all instructions in their letter to me. Did that on Jan 4. Each week since then I've checked mySSA and there has been no change in my status - "Withdrawn". Each week I've called and talked with clueless SSA reps who have no idea why my letter isn't being honored. One suggested that perhaps I've been flagged for fraud. I've since reFAXed the letter to other SSA FAX numbers I have. Nothing is being done.

Plan to call the local Work Support Unit today and try to make a connection with the original handler I had in December (when they wanted additional documentation).

So far, my experience with the SSA can only be considered dismal at best.
Wow, what a hassle - best of luck with this!
69 yrs, semi-retired lawyer, 50/40/10 s/b/c, 70/30 dom/int'l. Plan: 4% WR until age 70, 3% after social security kicks in. Boglehead since day 1 (and M* Diehard before that) under various other names
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Re: Advice on Filing for Social Security at Age 70

Post by Small Law Survivor »

ObliviousInvestor is Mike Piper - this has been very helpful, and I've started my application online.

Could you comment on the spousal benefit issue, please? Should my wife apply for that online, or by telephone? Any twists and turns in that process that I should be aware of?

Thanks,
Small Law Survivor (Lee)
69 yrs, semi-retired lawyer, 50/40/10 s/b/c, 70/30 dom/int'l. Plan: 4% WR until age 70, 3% after social security kicks in. Boglehead since day 1 (and M* Diehard before that) under various other names
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Re: Advice on Filing for Social Security at Age 70

Post by pshonore »

Small Law Survivor wrote: Wed Jan 27, 2021 12:30 pm ObliviousInvestor is Mike Piper - this has been very helpful, and I've started my application online.

Could you comment on the spousal benefit issue, please? Should my wife apply for that online, or by telephone? Any twists and turns in that process that I should be aware of?

Thanks,
Small Law Survivor (Lee)
You probably already know that DRCs do not figure into a spousal benefit, so her total benefit will be half your PIA adjusted by any COLAs as applicable.
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Re: Advice on Filing for Social Security at Age 70

Post by Small Law Survivor »

pshonore wrote: Wed Jan 27, 2021 12:39 pm
You probably already know that DRCs do not figure into a spousal benefit, so her total benefit will be half your PIA adjusted by any COLAs as applicable.
Yes, am aware of this, thanks.
69 yrs, semi-retired lawyer, 50/40/10 s/b/c, 70/30 dom/int'l. Plan: 4% WR until age 70, 3% after social security kicks in. Boglehead since day 1 (and M* Diehard before that) under various other names
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Re: Advice on Filing for Social Security at Age 70

Post by ObliviousInvestor »

Small Law Survivor wrote: Wed Jan 27, 2021 12:30 pm Could you comment on the spousal benefit issue, please? Should my wife apply for that online, or by telephone? Any twists and turns in that process that I should be aware of?
There really shouldn't be any twists or turns. This is just a regular, run-of-the-mill spousal benefit application. And because she has reached her FRA, there's nothing tricky as far as specifying precisely when the benefit should begin. (It should begin as soon as she is eligible, given your filing date.)

I would suggest filing online for this as well, for the same reasons. But even phone applications do usually get processed just fine. (And the likelihood of it being handled successfully is improved by the fact that you have researched the topic and can explain intentions clearly.) So if you or your wife prefer that for any reason, go for it.
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Re: Advice on Filing for Social Security at Age 70

Post by Small Law Survivor »

ObliviousInvestor wrote: Wed Jan 27, 2021 4:20 pm
Small Law Survivor wrote: Wed Jan 27, 2021 12:30 pm Could you comment on the spousal benefit issue, please? Should my wife apply for that online, or by telephone? Any twists and turns in that process that I should be aware of?
There really shouldn't be any twists or turns. This is just a regular, run-of-the-mill spousal benefit application. And because she has reached her FRA, there's nothing tricky as far as specifying precisely when the benefit should begin. (It should begin as soon as she is eligible, given your filing date.)

I would suggest filing online for this as well, for the same reasons. But even phone applications do usually get processed just fine. (And the likelihood of it being handled successfully is improved by the fact that you have researched the topic and can explain intentions clearly.) So if you or your wife prefer that for any reason, go for it.
Great, will try this online after I file my application. Thank you!
69 yrs, semi-retired lawyer, 50/40/10 s/b/c, 70/30 dom/int'l. Plan: 4% WR until age 70, 3% after social security kicks in. Boglehead since day 1 (and M* Diehard before that) under various other names
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Re: Advice on Filing for Social Security at Age 70

Post by niagara_guy »

Get what's yours, the secrets to maxing out your social security is a book I have. I also used their modelling tool (cost maybe $30) to model before I retired. Also had Fidelity run their model, they were very close.
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Re: Advice on Filing for Social Security at Age 70

Post by Barloso »

See if my experience is helpful or not. I filed in December by phone to start receiving benefits in March (age 70). Filing online was NOT an option for me because I have been receiving spousal benefits on my wife's SS. The "my Social Security" site doesn't allow the option and this was verified by my local office. In the "by phone" application process, there were several erroneous statements made by the gentleman working with me. He was working from home. Several times I encouraged him to call and check out his information with someone else. The end result is that my application is currently showing as "In Process" on the "my Social Security" site. My wife will be submitting FORM SSA-3 via fax to our local office in February to have her spousal benefit added to her current SS amount. I "retired " at 62 when my brother passed away and I was executor for his estate. I was eligible for a pension so it allowed me to delay SS til now. My wife retired at her FRA.
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Re: Advice on Filing for Social Security at Age 70

Post by Leif »

Barloso wrote: Thu Jan 28, 2021 9:36 pm Filing online was NOT an option for me because I have been receiving spousal benefits on my wife's SS. The "my Social Security" site doesn't allow the option and this was verified by my local office.
News to me. How about the "Apply for Benefits" page of ssa.gov?
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Re: Advice on Filing for Social Security at Age 70

Post by Barloso »

Requires you to sign in to your "my Social Security" account.
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Re: Advice on Filing for Social Security at Age 70

Post by Kingghoti »

Barloso, Thank for this info. I’m in the same boat. Turn 70 in Oct but drawing spousal benefits on restricted claim on wife’s benefit. As you know, another thing that we cannot do online at SSA account site is get a benefit estimate.

While various calculators do this, I have made it a practice to also call the SSA every year to have a record of them telling me my PIA and age 70 benefit.

Thanks for the tip about erroneous info from the phone rep. Do you care to share what type of errors? So I can look out for them.

Nice to hear the DWs should be able file more easily by faxing a SSA-3 form. Here’s hoping it goes smoothly in Feb. I gather your claim must be completed first. I was wondering about that.

Best.
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Re: Advice on Filing for Social Security at Age 70

Post by ChrisC »

Following this thread as well. I filed early for SS (WEP reduced) retirement benefits at 64 so my wife (two years older than me) could file a restricted application at 66 and get spousal benefits driven off my PIA. A few days after she filed her restricted application online, Social Security staff called her to make sure that's excatly what she wanted to do instead of filing for her own retirement benefits.

My wife is planning to file for her own SS retirement benefits this August, when she turns 70. We thought she could simply do this online. I don't have to worry about seeking spousal benefits (and filing out form SSA-3) from my wife as GPO takes me out of that.
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Re: Advice on Filing for Social Security at Age 70

Post by Small Law Survivor »

Kingghoti wrote: Sat Jan 30, 2021 8:01 am Nice to hear the DWs should be able file more easily by faxing a SSA-3 form. Here’s hoping it goes smoothly in Feb. I gather your claim must be completed first. I was wondering about that.
Still wondering about the timing on the spousal benefit - how far along does by claim have to progress before my wife can file for spousal? Does it have to be "completed" (whatever that exactly means), or is "in progress" sufficient? Thanks in advance.
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Re: Advice on Filing for Social Security at Age 70

Post by spencer99 »

Barloso wrote: Thu Jan 28, 2021 9:36 pm See if my experience is helpful or not. I filed in December by phone to start receiving benefits in March (age 70). Filing online was NOT an option for me because I have been receiving spousal benefits on my wife's SS. The "my Social Security" site doesn't allow the option and this was verified by my local office.
Are we sure this is true?

I am currently receiving a restricted spousal benefit (on ex-wife if that makes a difference) and recently filed an online application for my own age 70 benefit to begin later this spring. I was clear in the applications comments section that I was currently receiving a spousal benefit. Nothing in the application form cautioned me against filing and no error messages.

My application shows as in progress on the mySocialSecurity site and I received an acknowledgement email from SS.

S
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Re: Advice on Filing for Social Security at Age 70

Post by Leif »

^ I have the same issue in a few years. I'm hoping ObliviousInvestor will check-in at some point.
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Re: Advice on Filing for Social Security at Age 70

Post by You Know What I Mean »

Barloso wrote: Thu Jan 28, 2021 9:36 pm See if my experience is helpful or not. I filed in December by phone to start receiving benefits in March (age 70). Filing online was NOT an option for me because I have been receiving spousal benefits on my wife's SS. The "my Social Security" site doesn't allow the option and this was verified by my local office. In the "by phone" application process, there were several erroneous statements made by the gentleman working with me. He was working from home. Several times I encouraged him to call and check out his information with someone else. The end result is that my application is currently showing as "In Process" on the "my Social Security" site. My wife will be submitting FORM SSA-3 via fax to our local office in February to have her spousal benefit added to her current SS amount. I "retired " at 62 when my brother passed away and I was executor for his estate. I was eligible for a pension so it allowed me to delay SS til now. My wife retired at her FRA.
I had relevant experience this month, trying to apply to switch benefits for my wife and me. My wife is currently receiving her retirement benefit, and I am receiving spousal benefit after filing a restricted application at age 66 in 2017.

I didn’t see a way on the website to switch to my own retirement benefit at age 70 next month, so I called the 800 number for an appointment. After 38 minutes on the phone, I was ultimately told they couldn’t schedule us, but that I would get a call from the local office in 7 to 10 days. I was told I couldn’t do the applications on the website.

We then received letters from Social Security stating we didn’t qualify for SSI. No kidding. That isn’t why I called.

After 11 days without a call, I called the 800 number back and received an apology and assurance that I would be called within two days. I asked who I should call if that didn’t happen, the local office or the 800 number. I wasn’t given a local number. I was told to call 800 again.

After another 3 days without a call, I called the 800 number again. This time a representative said she usually tells people to call the local office, and she gave me an 866 number. I called that number. It was answered, but I heard some weird sounds before the call was abruptly disconnected. I immediately called back and got through to a live person, but she said they are way behind and we will receive letters in April scheduling us for an appointment.

At that point I was pretty upset about being repeatedly misled. I asked to speak to a supervisor and was transferred to the voice mail of a “Technical Expert.” After three business days without a call back, I left another voice mail. Within two hours, I received a call from the Technical Expert. She was helpful, though she confirmed we couldn’t do it on line. When I complained about the problems and also said it really should doable on line, she then clarified that I could in fact apply for my retirement benefit on line even though I was already receiving spousal. It’s just my wife’s switch from her retirement benefit to spousal that requires an appointment.

So, that evening I submitted my application on line for my retirement benefit effective at age 70, with appropriate comments about currently receiving spousal benefit, etc. That seemed to work. I immediately received an email saying the Philadelphia office (not local) would be processing the claim. And presumably in April my wife will receive a letter for an appointment to switch her benefit to spousal. We’ll see.

Perhaps I need to look into use of a Form SSA-3 for my wife’s switch?

While individual Social Security employees may be working hard and trying to do their best, the amount of confusion and bad information in the system is a problem.
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Re: Advice on Filing for Social Security at Age 70

Post by ObliviousInvestor »

Leif wrote: Sat Jan 30, 2021 8:18 pm ^ I have the same issue in a few years. I'm hoping ObliviousInvestor will check-in at some point.
Unfortunately the SSA doesn't publish walk-throughs of filing for various benefits (e.g., videos or screenshots of the various pages in the online form), so I am reliant upon people's reported experiences with filing.

I can say that I have heard from people who have successfully filed online for retirement benefits after having filed a restricted application for spousal benefits, as well as people who successfully filed online for spousal benefits after having collected a retirement benefit for a period.

The most recent time I heard from somebody about doing so was a few months ago. And I was told that both spouses did the online application the same day. That is, the spouse who would now be receiving spousal benefits filed for such immediately after the other spouse filed the application for retirement benefits.

So, to the best of my knowledge, such applications can be done online. But I don't have first-hand personal confirmation of that. And of course it's also possible that the system has changed very recently. (I wouldn't think that's especially likely, but it's possible.)
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Re: Advice on Filing for Social Security at Age 70

Post by Leif »

Thanks Mike.

Given my experience with both in person and calling I will try on-line. I'll apply as early as possible so if there is an issue I can address it before my birth month. It would be nice if they automatically switched from spousal to my benefit (which will be higher) at 70. Just as they now automatically give you the higher benefit of your own vs. spousal. But since they have done away with restricted applications I doubt this type of change is on their radar.
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Re: Advice on Filing for Social Security at Age 70

Post by LSLover »

ObliviousInvestor wrote: Tue Jan 26, 2021 4:05 pm
Small Law Survivor wrote: Tue Jan 26, 2021 12:39 pm First, since I was born [personally identifiable information removed by admin LadyGeek] 1951 is May the month I should start benefits in order to max out delayed retirement benefits? Or, should I start benefits in June to accomplish this?
The last month for which you can receive a DRC is the month before attainment of age 70.
https://secure.ssa.gov/apps10/poms.nsf/lnx/0300615690

So if you want the maximum benefit, and you attain age 70 in May 2021, you want to receive a benefit for May but not for April.

Of note, we're talking about months for which you receive a benefit. May's benefit (which you do want to receive) is the one that would be paid in June. You don't want to receive a benefit in May, because that would be April's benefit.
Small Law Survivor wrote: Tue Jan 26, 2021 12:39 pm Second, I have an SSA office nearby, and I’ve been there several times for reasons not relevant here. I’ve had good experiences with service there. However, they are closed at present. Should I apply online or by phone? Which is preferable?
In my experience, online applications have a far lower error rate than in person or over the phone. In the time I've been dealing with Social Security topics, I've only encountered two people who have had online applications processed incorrectly. I have absolutely no idea how many times I've heard from people whose in-person or phone applications have gone wrong.

I would always encourage online applications (other than for widow(er) benefits, for which a person cannot file online). Not to say that online applications cannot go wrong, because they can and have. But it's a lot less common.

Edited to add: despite the above, I agree with Beehave's characterization of SSA employees as pleasant and helpful. That has been my experience as well. They're friendly people, working hard to implement a complicated, broad set of rules. Nonetheless, I think if the goal is to minimize errors (i.e., you already know what you want and you just want the application processed correctly) removing humans from the equation is beneficial, to the extent possible.
Small Law Survivor wrote: Tue Jan 26, 2021 12:39 pm Third, what should my wife do to trigger her spousal benefit? Will this occur automatically? I assume not, since I’m not sure how social security would know that we are married, unless the IRS were to tell them. Will we need to mail our marriage certificate to SSA as proof of marriage? How does that affect our timing strategies? Should she file for her spousal benefit online or by telephone? When should she do this? - I assume sometime after I file, but how long after?
I would encourage her to file for her spousal benefit at the same time that you file for your retirement benefit.
Small Law Survivor wrote: Tue Jan 26, 2021 12:39 pmFourth, when should I apply? I am in no particular hurry for payments to start. If we both applied in April and it took several months for payments to start that would be fine, so long as we are both paid retroactively for any months after May 2021.
You can apply up to four months before the "month of election." So you could file at any time now.
https://secure.ssa.gov/apps10/poms.nsf/lnx/0200204007
Small Law Survivor wrote: Tue Jan 26, 2021 12:39 pmWhat else should I know or am I missing? Is there a book that you recommend I read to delve into these details? Do I need to read Mike Piper or Kotlikoff’s book, or Social Security for Dummies?
Frankly, probably not, at this point. You've already settled on your filing ages. There's some tax planning stuff to think about, with regard to Social Security. But you can get that information here as well.
Mike,

Can you speak to your experience with the Medicare applications (online v. SS Office in person or on the phone)? I was leaning towards applying in person (or by phone) for Medicare mainly because the online form doesn’t allow (to my knowledge) to attach the IRMAA request for reconsideration which I would need to apply for. I will also need to submit L564 as I am past 65yo and in the SEP (special enrollment period) PLUS a separation letter from the employer for IRMAA. Can all of this be accomplished online?
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Re: Advice on Filing for Social Security at Age 70

Post by ObliviousInvestor »

LSLover wrote: Sun Jan 31, 2021 11:58 am Can you speak to your experience with the Medicare applications (online v. SS Office in person or on the phone)? I was leaning towards applying in person (or by phone) for Medicare mainly because the online form doesn’t allow (to my knowledge) to attach the IRMAA request for reconsideration which I would need to apply for. I will also need to submit L564 as I am past 65yo and in the SEP (special enrollment period) PLUS a separation letter from the employer for IRMAA. Can all of this be accomplished online?
LSLover, I'm sorry, but my level of experience/knowledge with Medicare is nowhere near what it is with Social Security. So I am not really the best source of information here.

The request for reconsideration (if related to a life-changing event such as work stoppage) is done via Form SS-44. To the best of my knowledge, there is no online version of such. The SSA's forms page doesn't mention an online version (whereas, by contrast, there are links to online applications for various types of benefits). And HHS explicitly states here that, "A request for reconsideration can be done orally by calling the SSA 1-800 number (800.772.1213) as well as by writing to SSA." No mention of an online option.

But again, I'm not the best source here.
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Re: Advice on Filing for Social Security at Age 70

Post by You Know What I Mean »

You Know What I Mean wrote: Sat Jan 30, 2021 9:24 pm
Barloso wrote: Thu Jan 28, 2021 9:36 pm See if my experience is helpful or not. I filed in December by phone to start receiving benefits in March (age 70). Filing online was NOT an option for me because I have been receiving spousal benefits on my wife's SS. The "my Social Security" site doesn't allow the option and this was verified by my local office. In the "by phone" application process, there were several erroneous statements made by the gentleman working with me. He was working from home. Several times I encouraged him to call and check out his information with someone else. The end result is that my application is currently showing as "In Process" on the "my Social Security" site. My wife will be submitting FORM SSA-3 via fax to our local office in February to have her spousal benefit added to her current SS amount. I "retired " at 62 when my brother passed away and I was executor for his estate. I was eligible for a pension so it allowed me to delay SS til now. My wife retired at her FRA.
I had relevant experience this month, trying to apply to switch benefits for my wife and me. My wife is currently receiving her retirement benefit, and I am receiving spousal benefit after filing a restricted application at age 66 in 2017.

I didn’t see a way on the website to switch to my own retirement benefit at age 70 next month, so I called the 800 number for an appointment. After 38 minutes on the phone, I was ultimately told they couldn’t schedule us, but that I would get a call from the local office in 7 to 10 days. I was told I couldn’t do the applications on the website.

We then received letters from Social Security stating we didn’t qualify for SSI. No kidding. That isn’t why I called.

After 11 days without a call, I called the 800 number back and received an apology and assurance that I would be called within two days. I asked who I should call if that didn’t happen, the local office or the 800 number. I wasn’t given a local number. I was told to call 800 again.

After another 3 days without a call, I called the 800 number again. This time a representative said she usually tells people to call the local office, and she gave me an 866 number. I called that number. It was answered, but I heard some weird sounds before the call was abruptly disconnected. I immediately called back and got through to a live person, but she said they are way behind and we will receive letters in April scheduling us for an appointment.

At that point I was pretty upset about being repeatedly misled. I asked to speak to a supervisor and was transferred to the voice mail of a “Technical Expert.” After three business days without a call back, I left another voice mail. Within two hours, I received a call from the Technical Expert. She was helpful, though she confirmed we couldn’t do it on line. When I complained about the problems and also said it really should doable on line, she then clarified that I could in fact apply for my retirement benefit on line even though I was already receiving spousal. It’s just my wife’s switch from her retirement benefit to spousal that requires an appointment.

So, that evening I submitted my application on line for my retirement benefit effective at age 70, with appropriate comments about currently receiving spousal benefit, etc. That seemed to work. I immediately received an email saying the Philadelphia office (not local) would be processing the claim. And presumably in April my wife will receive a letter for an appointment to switch her benefit to spousal. We’ll see.

Perhaps I need to look into use of a Form SSA-3 for my wife’s switch?

While individual Social Security employees may be working hard and trying to do their best, the amount of confusion and bad information in the system is a problem.
Here’s an update on our situation, with another small bump in the road but ending in good news.

On 2/1/21 my wife received another nonsensical letter dated 1/15/21 from Social Security. It said that in response to our 1/8/21 phone call, she needed to file an application online (which we had been told we couldn’t do) or call the national number (800-772-1213) for an appointment (which we had done repeatedly).

More importantly, on 2/2/21 a rep from the Philadelphia office called me to confirm that my switch to my retirement benefit would be effective this month and paid in March as expected. She just needed to confirm that I wanted the same Federal Income Tax Withholding percentage, which I did. I took the opportunity to ask about my wife switching from her own benefit to spousal. The rep said she would take care of that for us by submitting that change one day after she processed mine.

She said we would receive confirmation letters in 7-10 days. We haven’t gotten those yet, but our My Social Security accounts show that both changes were processed promptly as promised. The new benefit amounts are about what I expected, a little more due to COLA’s. So, well done!

Based on my limited experience, it seems best to apply online and make good use of the Comments section. I imagine many folks have had good luck and good info from the staff at the national phone number, but if any help is needed I got better advice (though not perfect) from the local office.
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Re: Advice on Filing for Social Security at Age 70

Post by ObliviousInvestor »

You Know What I Mean, thank you for reporting back! While we can look at the law, Regulations, and POMS to get definitive information about benefit amounts, eligibility requirements, etc., we are primarily reliant upon people's reported experience with regard to the actual application process itself. So it's very helpful to get a report like this -- especially given that it's very recent so the details are fresh in your memory.

Happy to hear that your applications both (ultimately) appear to have been processed successfully. :beer
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Re: Advice on Filing for Social Security at Age 70

Post by You Know What I Mean »

Thanks, Mike. By the way, your opensocialsecurity.com tool is great! The Alternative Claiming Strategy option with the color-coded graphs is awesome. I wish it had been around ten years ago when I was starting to figure out our strategy. However, things worked out okay.

Back to the application processes: I think it is really unfortunate there is so much confusion (not just on this board) and bad information (from Social Security reps) on how to apply to switch strategies. I suspect that Mike is right: everything can be done, or at least started, online. In this day and age, I believe the website should make it crystal clear. It’s 2021, not 1999. It’s in everyone’s interest to have an easy, efficient process.
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Re: Advice on Filing for Social Security at Age 70

Post by Flobes »

ObliviousInvestor wrote: Sun Feb 07, 2021 1:48 pm we are primarily reliant upon people's reported experience with regard to the actual application process itself. So it's very helpful to get a report
As we're collecting current anecdotal tales, several weeks ago I applied online for SS to begin whence I turn 70 in several months.

This morning I got a phone call from SS, requesting additional documents (to officially confirm my state pension amount as I am subject to WEP).

Documents are acceptable by snail mail or fax only; there are no email or Secured Mail options.

She gave a warning that in these COVID times, snail mail is highly unlikely to get there by 2/20 deadline. All mail must now go to a PO Box address for central federal mail clearing center, and then gets moved to SS office, and they do not currently fetch mail daily, and then it gets forwarded to agent assigned to me who is working from home.

So I sent documents via FaxZero.com internet fax service at no cost. Agent promptly called to confirm receipt of fax.

I was told to expect a formal confirmation of benefits letter "sometime in April" because they are running behind.
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Re: Advice on Filing for Social Security at Age 70

Post by You Know What I Mean »

You Know What I Mean wrote: Sun Feb 07, 2021 11:18 am
You Know What I Mean wrote: Sat Jan 30, 2021 9:24 pm
Barloso wrote: Thu Jan 28, 2021 9:36 pm See if my experience is helpful or not. I filed in December by phone to start receiving benefits in March (age 70). Filing online was NOT an option for me because I have been receiving spousal benefits on my wife's SS. The "my Social Security" site doesn't allow the option and this was verified by my local office. In the "by phone" application process, there were several erroneous statements made by the gentleman working with me. He was working from home. Several times I encouraged him to call and check out his information with someone else. The end result is that my application is currently showing as "In Process" on the "my Social Security" site. My wife will be submitting FORM SSA-3 via fax to our local office in February to have her spousal benefit added to her current SS amount. I "retired " at 62 when my brother passed away and I was executor for his estate. I was eligible for a pension so it allowed me to delay SS til now. My wife retired at her FRA.
I had relevant experience this month, trying to apply to switch benefits for my wife and me. My wife is currently receiving her retirement benefit, and I am receiving spousal benefit after filing a restricted application at age 66 in 2017.

I didn’t see a way on the website to switch to my own retirement benefit at age 70 next month, so I called the 800 number for an appointment. After 38 minutes on the phone, I was ultimately told they couldn’t schedule us, but that I would get a call from the local office in 7 to 10 days. I was told I couldn’t do the applications on the website.

We then received letters from Social Security stating we didn’t qualify for SSI. No kidding. That isn’t why I called.

After 11 days without a call, I called the 800 number back and received an apology and assurance that I would be called within two days. I asked who I should call if that didn’t happen, the local office or the 800 number. I wasn’t given a local number. I was told to call 800 again.

After another 3 days without a call, I called the 800 number again. This time a representative said she usually tells people to call the local office, and she gave me an 866 number. I called that number. It was answered, but I heard some weird sounds before the call was abruptly disconnected. I immediately called back and got through to a live person, but she said they are way behind and we will receive letters in April scheduling us for an appointment.

At that point I was pretty upset about being repeatedly misled. I asked to speak to a supervisor and was transferred to the voice mail of a “Technical Expert.” After three business days without a call back, I left another voice mail. Within two hours, I received a call from the Technical Expert. She was helpful, though she confirmed we couldn’t do it on line. When I complained about the problems and also said it really should doable on line, she then clarified that I could in fact apply for my retirement benefit on line even though I was already receiving spousal. It’s just my wife’s switch from her retirement benefit to spousal that requires an appointment.

So, that evening I submitted my application on line for my retirement benefit effective at age 70, with appropriate comments about currently receiving spousal benefit, etc. That seemed to work. I immediately received an email saying the Philadelphia office (not local) would be processing the claim. And presumably in April my wife will receive a letter for an appointment to switch her benefit to spousal. We’ll see.

Perhaps I need to look into use of a Form SSA-3 for my wife’s switch?

While individual Social Security employees may be working hard and trying to do their best, the amount of confusion and bad information in the system is a problem.
Here’s an update on our situation, with another small bump in the road but ending in good news.

On 2/1/21 my wife received another nonsensical letter dated 1/15/21 from Social Security. It said that in response to our 1/8/21 phone call, she needed to file an application online (which we had been told we couldn’t do) or call the national number (800-772-1213) for an appointment (which we had done repeatedly).

More importantly, on 2/2/21 a rep from the Philadelphia office called me to confirm that my switch to my retirement benefit would be effective this month and paid in March as expected. She just needed to confirm that I wanted the same Federal Income Tax Withholding percentage, which I did. I took the opportunity to ask about my wife switching from her own benefit to spousal. The rep said she would take care of that for us by submitting that change one day after she processed mine.

She said we would receive confirmation letters in 7-10 days. We haven’t gotten those yet, but our My Social Security accounts show that both changes were processed promptly as promised. The new benefit amounts are about what I expected, a little more due to COLA’s. So, well done!

Based on my limited experience, it seems best to apply online and make good use of the Comments section. I imagine many folks have had good luck and good info from the staff at the national phone number, but if any help is needed I got better advice (though not perfect) from the local office.
Update: Our increased benefits were deposited into our accounts today as expected. Success!
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Re: Advice on Filing for Social Security at Age 70

Post by Prudence »

One Ping wrote: Tue Jan 26, 2021 6:35 pm
Small Law Survivor wrote: Tue Jan 26, 2021 6:00 pm Hmmm ... Beehave suggests a phone call to SSA, ObliviousI recommends online application.

Would greatly appreciate more votes/comments on either side of this issue!
Not everything is about 'votes'. I would trust/believe what Mike Piper (ObliviousInvestor, the man who wrote the book) says regardless of how a 'vote' turns out. Jus saying, sometimes right is right, regardless of what a random group of folks happens to think. Sometimes the experts actually are right!!
In this thread, several posters opined that it is better to apply for SS retirement benefits online rather than scheduling an appointment with a human being. My DW turns age 70 in July. She has been receiving a spousal benefit since she reached full retirement age (using file and suspend or whatever). She was born in 1951 BTW. Our plan was that she would convert from spousal to her own benefit at age 70. (In the past, we have visited our local SS office to complete the application process and the experience has been fine). On the SS website, I am unable to find any form or online menu item that will enable my DW to request the change from spousal to her own benefit (if it would result in an increase that is). Did I miss anything? What is the best way to do this: call SS and make the request over the telephone or schedule an interview/appointment?
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Re: Advice on Filing for Social Security at Age 70

Post by You Know What I Mean »

Prudence wrote: Sun Apr 25, 2021 8:47 am
One Ping wrote: Tue Jan 26, 2021 6:35 pm
Small Law Survivor wrote: Tue Jan 26, 2021 6:00 pm Hmmm ... Beehave suggests a phone call to SSA, ObliviousI recommends online application.

Would greatly appreciate more votes/comments on either side of this issue!
Not everything is about 'votes'. I would trust/believe what Mike Piper (ObliviousInvestor, the man who wrote the book) says regardless of how a 'vote' turns out. Jus saying, sometimes right is right, regardless of what a random group of folks happens to think. Sometimes the experts actually are right!!
In this thread, several posters opined that it is better to apply for SS retirement benefits online rather than scheduling an appointment with a human being. My DW turns age 70 in July. She has been receiving a spousal benefit since she reached full retirement age (using file and suspend or whatever). She was born in 1951 BTW. Our plan was that she would convert from spousal to her own benefit at age 70. (In the past, we have visited our local SS office to complete the application process and the experience has been fine). On the SS website, I am unable to find any form or online menu item that will enable my DW to request the change from spousal to her own benefit (if it would result in an increase that is). Did I miss anything? What is the best way to do this: call SS and make the request over the telephone or schedule an interview/appointment?
IMO, you can do this online. That’s what I ended up doing. (If your local office isn’t too busy, you might still prefer to schedule an appointment there, but it isn’t necessary.)

You said that on the SS website you were unable to find any form or online menu item that will enable your DW to request the change from spousal to her own benefit. That’s the same experience I had.

However, your DW can just submit the standard application for her retirement benefit with the desired start date (effective in July at age 70). There is a section in the online form asking if the applicant had previously applied for SS. That’s where DW would put in the spouse’s – that is your, Prudence’s – name and SS account number.

As I suggested in an earlier post, I think it is a good idea to make use of the Remarks/Comments section to clearly emphasize what you are trying to accomplish. FYI, here is the wording I used in my remarks:

“I am currently receiving spousal benefits and am applying to switch to my own retirement benefit effective at my age 70 in February 2021 with the maximum Delayed Retirement Credits. Thus, the new (higher) benefit amount should be paid in March 2021. Thank you.”

Good luck!
Prudence
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Joined: Fri Mar 09, 2012 4:55 pm

Re: Advice on Filing for Social Security at Age 70

Post by Prudence »

Thank you, I will do as you described.
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Leif
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Joined: Wed Sep 19, 2007 4:15 pm

Re: Advice on Filing for Social Security at Age 70

Post by Leif »

You Know What I Mean wrote: Sun Apr 25, 2021 7:26 pm IMO, you can do this online. That’s what I ended up doing. (If your local office isn’t too busy, you might still prefer to schedule an appointment there, but it isn’t necessary.)

You said that on the SS website you were unable to find any form or online menu item that will enable your DW to request the change from spousal to her own benefit. That’s the same experience I had.

However, your DW can just submit the standard application for her retirement benefit with the desired start date (effective in July at age 70). There is a section in the online form asking if the applicant had previously applied for SS. That’s where DW would put in the spouse’s – that is your, Prudence’s – name and SS account number.

As I suggested in an earlier post, I think it is a good idea to make use of the Remarks/Comments section to clearly emphasize what you are trying to accomplish. FYI, here is the wording I used in my remarks:

“I am currently receiving spousal benefits and am applying to switch to my own retirement benefit effective at my age 70 in February 2021 with the maximum Delayed Retirement Credits. Thus, the new (higher) benefit amount should be paid in March 2021. Thank you.”

Good luck!
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One Ping
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Re: Advice on Filing for Social Security at Age 70

Post by One Ping »

You Know What I Mean wrote: Sun Apr 25, 2021 7:26 pm IMO, you can do this online. That’s what I ended up doing. (If your local office isn’t too busy, you might still prefer to schedule an appointment there, but it isn’t necessary.)

You said that on the SS website you were unable to find any form or online menu item that will enable your DW to request the change from spousal to her own benefit. That’s the same experience I had.

However, your DW can just submit the standard application for her retirement benefit with the desired start date (effective in July at age 70). There is a section in the online form asking if the applicant had previously applied for SS. That’s where DW would put in the spouse’s – that is your, Prudence’s – name and SS account number.

As I suggested in an earlier post, I think it is a good idea to make use of the Remarks/Comments section to clearly emphasize what you are trying to accomplish. FYI, here is the wording I used in my remarks:

“I am currently receiving spousal benefits and am applying to switch to my own retirement benefit effective at my age 70 in February 2021 with the maximum Delayed Retirement Credits. Thus, the new (higher) benefit amount should be paid in March 2021. Thank you.”

Good luck!
So, if at the same time the other spouse is switching to their spousal benefit, they would just submit a new application for spousal benefits and would put their own information under the previous application section.

Then add in the remarks section something like this:

“I am currently receiving my own retirement benefit and am applying to switch to my spousal benefit effective in XXXXX 20ZZ. The new (higher) benefit amount should be paid starting in YYYYY 20ZZ. Thank you.”

Right?

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