Social Security Claiming

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Ana-Maria57
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Social Security Claiming

Post by Ana-Maria57 » Sun Aug 11, 2019 9:09 am

Dear Friends,

I have been reading this forum for years! This is my first post. DH and I would like our SS benefits to begin in December 2019. He was born before 1954 :D. I am 9 months younger. We are planning to use the restricted application strategy. His benefit is higher. I know that I need to be receiving benefits before DH can claim the spousal. Can we accomplish this online at the same time? Should I file first and then have him file later? Do you recommend that we make an appointment at the Social Security office?

Thank you all for your informative posts!

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HueyLD
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Re: Social Security Claiming

Post by HueyLD » Sun Aug 11, 2019 9:21 am

Yes you can apply online, but it is easier to do it in person.

https://www.ssa.gov/forms/ssa-2.html

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aspirit
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Re: Social Security Claiming

Post by aspirit » Sun Aug 11, 2019 9:24 am

Time & tides wait for no one. A man has to know his limitations. | "Give me control of a nation's money and I care not who makes it's laws" | — Mayer Amschel Bauer Rothschild ~

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LadyGeek
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Re: Social Security Claiming

Post by LadyGeek » Sun Aug 11, 2019 11:36 am

I've recently attended a local Bogleheads chapter meeting which discussed how to claim Social Security benefits. In each case, it was much better to make an appointment in person.

First, they had nothing but praise for the quality of the discussions. The Social Security people answered all of their questions and were very, very helpful.

Additionally, making an appointment also gives you additional rights. I didn't understand the details, but in case there are unexpected issues with your benefits at a later time, the date of the appointment can be used as justification to resolve those issues.

Update: Revised where the discussion took place.
Wiki To some, the glass is half full. To others, the glass is half empty. To an engineer, it's twice the size it needs to be.

dbr
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Re: Social Security Claiming

Post by dbr » Sun Aug 11, 2019 11:56 am

We navigated the complexity of spousal and deferred benefits online, but I would not say it was a no-brainer. We got a call from the office to confirm exactly what was wanted. I was impressed with that and also the knowledgeability of the agent. They then proceeded to send us a letter asking us to go to the local office with certain documents. When we got there no one could understand why we were there as those documents were not needed for our application. After waiting for a specialist we got it all straightened out. They apologized and informed us that "This problem was caused by "Tom" in Chicago, who messes up every application he touches."

I guess the bottom line is that it doesn't hurt to go to a local office where you know they have completed the whole thing while you are there. Possibly the confusing thing is what documents they actually need. We were already signed up on Medicare and it turned out our actual document requirement was none (except photo ID); everything was already on file.

Murgatroyd
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Re: Social Security Claiming

Post by Murgatroyd » Sun Aug 11, 2019 12:23 pm

dbr wrote:
Sun Aug 11, 2019 11:56 am
We navigated the complexity of spousal and deferred benefits online, but I would not say it was a no-brainer. We got a call from the office to confirm exactly what was wanted. I was impressed with that and also the knowledgeability of the agent. They then proceeded to send us a letter asking us to go to the local office with certain documents. When we got there no one could understand why we were there as those documents were not needed for our application. After waiting for a specialist we got it all straightened out. They apologized and informed us that "This problem was caused by "Tom" in Chicago, who messes up every application he touches."

I guess the bottom line is that it doesn't hurt to go to a local office where you know they have completed the whole thing while you are there. Possibly the confusing thing is what documents they actually need. We were already signed up on Medicare and it turned out our actual document requirement was none (except photo ID); everything was already on file.
This is good to know. Question: is there a right vs wrong sequence to applying for Medicare and SS?

dbr
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Re: Social Security Claiming

Post by dbr » Sun Aug 11, 2019 1:32 pm

Murgatroyd wrote:
Sun Aug 11, 2019 12:23 pm


This is good to know. Question: is there a right vs wrong sequence to applying for Medicare and SS?
Medicare starts at age 65 and you do not want to miss enrollment periods for A, B, & D if those are the programs you want. A lot of people do not want to start SS until FRA of 66 (for most of us) so Medicare application would be done a year before SS for a lot of people. Things then get more complicated if one person wants to take spousal benefits at their age 66 while the spouse delays benefits to their age 70. If a person elects to start SS at age 62, then the SS application would come three years sooner than the Medicare application. SS survivor benefits can be started at age 60, or even earlier under some conditions. Most of the SS benefit situations can be changed as well. A person starting spousal at age 66 might claim own benefits at age 70, and so on. Generally SS grants the highest benefit qualified for.

Again, I would repeat, do not miss enrollment periods for Medicare as the neglect can be costly. Medicare applications can be started three months before turning age 65 and enrollment periods extend for awhile after age 65. If a person is still employed and has employer insurance at age 65 things are different.

Carl53
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Re: Social Security Claiming

Post by Carl53 » Sun Aug 11, 2019 2:07 pm

We successfully filed online for my spouse pre-65 with me as restricted spousal the same month earlier this year. Received an odd email or two as well as a confirmation phone call. In the end it all worked out. As I previously was paying Medicare quarterly by check, the first SS check had Medicare deducted. I received a refund for a month or two that I paid perhaps six weeks later. BTW, since Medicare numbers have become no longer associated with your SS number, mine did not change once I started spousal SS.

Big Dog
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Re: Social Security Claiming

Post by Big Dog » Sun Aug 11, 2019 2:17 pm

My wife and I are in the exact same time frame as the OP -- plan to file for Dec. (per opensocialsecurity)

Da' wife will file Oct 1 for her benefits. I plan to wait a week, and then file for spousal.

While I have great respect for Lady Geek, I see no reason to shlep down to the office. (Don't forget, while the SS folks are almost always cheery and helpful, they are not responsible for anything that they tell you that might be incorrect.)

The key is just to add a few clarifying comments in the Comments box at the end.

Wife: 'I wish my benefits to start Dec-19, with my first check arriving Jan-20. I do not wish to collect the 6 months in arrears.'

Me: 'I am filing for spousal to start Dec-19 (my FRA), with my first check to arrive in Jan-20. I will wait to file for my own benefits until I am 70'

I do expect a call and a request for documents (marriage cert?).

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LadyGeek
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Re: Social Security Claiming

Post by LadyGeek » Sun Aug 11, 2019 2:39 pm

Big Dog wrote:
Sun Aug 11, 2019 2:17 pm
While I have great respect for Lady Geek, I see no reason to shlep down to the office. (Don't forget, while the SS folks are almost always cheery and helpful, they are not responsible for anything that they tell you that might be incorrect.)
Feel free to disagree with anything I say. :)

To go into more detail, the in-person Social Security experiences were discussed during Saturday's local Bogleheads' chapter meeting. (I have revised my earlier post.)

You are correct about responsibility. In that same discussion, one member quoted a Social Security book which basically said the same thing - What they tell you may not be correct - and they're not responsible for giving you that advice.
Wiki To some, the glass is half full. To others, the glass is half empty. To an engineer, it's twice the size it needs to be.

dbr
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Re: Social Security Claiming

Post by dbr » Sun Aug 11, 2019 2:40 pm

Big Dog wrote:
Sun Aug 11, 2019 2:17 pm
My wife and I are in the exact same time frame as the OP -- plan to file for Dec. (per opensocialsecurity)

Da' wife will file Oct 1 for her benefits. I plan to wait a week, and then file for spousal.

While I have great respect for Lady Geek, I see no reason to shlep down to the office. (Don't forget, while the SS folks are almost always cheery and helpful, they are not responsible for anything that they tell you that might be incorrect.)

The key is just to add a few clarifying comments in the Comments box at the end.

Wife: 'I wish my benefits to start Dec-19, with my first check arriving Jan-20. I do not wish to collect the 6 months in arrears.'

Me: 'I am filing for spousal to start Dec-19 (my FRA), with my first check to arrive in Jan-20. I will wait to file for my own benefits until I am 70'

I do expect a call and a request for documents (marriage cert?).
That was basically what we did until "Tom" messed things up. By the way, a marriage certificate proves very little. It only shows that you two got married at a certain time but does not show you are married now or during what period of time you were married. Also, if the marriage is annulled it does not even prove that you were ever married. Also be careful that a courtesy "certificate" handed to you at the wedding is not necessarily the recorded original copy from the courthouse that you need as a document if you need it. When we were in person at SS they claimed that our signatures on the applications were a legal deposition that we were married at the time of filing the SS application, which a certificate of marriage from decades ago would not establish in any way. The significance of this is that so signing the application would put us in legal jeapardy for a fraudulent filing if it were not true so the government could recover damages if necessary.

neilpilot
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Re: Social Security Claiming

Post by neilpilot » Sun Aug 11, 2019 2:48 pm

dbr wrote:
Sun Aug 11, 2019 2:40 pm
Big Dog wrote:
Sun Aug 11, 2019 2:17 pm
My wife and I are in the exact same time frame as the OP -- plan to file for Dec. (per opensocialsecurity)

Da' wife will file Oct 1 for her benefits. I plan to wait a week, and then file for spousal.

While I have great respect for Lady Geek, I see no reason to shlep down to the office. (Don't forget, while the SS folks are almost always cheery and helpful, they are not responsible for anything that they tell you that might be incorrect.)

The key is just to add a few clarifying comments in the Comments box at the end.

Wife: 'I wish my benefits to start Dec-19, with my first check arriving Jan-20. I do not wish to collect the 6 months in arrears.'

Me: 'I am filing for spousal to start Dec-19 (my FRA), with my first check to arrive in Jan-20. I will wait to file for my own benefits until I am 70'

I do expect a call and a request for documents (marriage cert?).
That was basically what we did until "Tom" messed things up. By the way, a marriage certificate proves very little. It only shows that you two got married at a certain time but does not show you are married now or during what period of time you were married. Also, if the marriage is annulled it does not even prove that you were ever married. Also be careful that a courtesy "certificate" handed to you at the wedding is not necessarily the recorded original copy from the courthouse that you need as a document if you need it. When we were in person at SS they claimed that our signatures on the applications were a legal deposition that we were married at the time of filing the SS application, which a certificate of marriage from decades ago would not establish in any way. The significance of this is that so signing the application would put us in legal jeapardy for a fraudulent filing if it were not true so the government could recover damages if necessary.
My DW applied for benefits online. A few months later, I filed a restricted application for spousal benefits online. We did receive a phone call after my application; the caller wanted to confirm my intention to restrict my application to spousal only, and also asked to talk to my DW to confirm our marriage. We never needed to conduct an office visit. We were never asked to provide marriage documents.

Murgatroyd
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Re: Social Security Claiming

Post by Murgatroyd » Sun Aug 11, 2019 3:16 pm

dbr wrote:
Sun Aug 11, 2019 1:32 pm
Murgatroyd wrote:
Sun Aug 11, 2019 12:23 pm


This is good to know. Question: is there a right vs wrong sequence to applying for Medicare and SS?
Medicare starts at age 65 and you do not want to miss enrollment periods for A, B, & D if those are the programs you want. A lot of people do not want to start SS until FRA of 66 (for most of us) so Medicare application would be done a year before SS for a lot of people. Things then get more complicated if one person wants to take spousal benefits at their age 66 while the spouse delays benefits to their age 70. If a person elects to start SS at age 62, then the SS application would come three years sooner than the Medicare application. SS survivor benefits can be started at age 60, or even earlier under some conditions. Most of the SS benefit situations can be changed as well. A person starting spousal at age 66 might claim own benefits at age 70, and so on. Generally SS grants the highest benefit qualified for.

Again, I would repeat, do not miss enrollment periods for Medicare as the neglect can be costly. Medicare applications can be started three months before turning age 65 and enrollment periods extend for awhile after age 65. If a person is still employed and has employer insurance at age 65 things are different.
Thank you. I guess I’ve complicated it in my mind since we decided to file for both at 65.

TBillT
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Re: Social Security Claiming

Post by TBillT » Mon Aug 12, 2019 4:31 pm

Sounds like we almost exact same ages.
We went by OpenSocialSecurity.com
Said my wife should start I should take restricted.

We applied online. The restricted app took about 7 weeks for apporval, otherwise we have had almost instant (few days) approval for Medicare and wife SS appl. Seems like we had a slower agent for my SS restricted appl.

Topic Author
Ana-Maria57
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Re: Social Security Claiming

Post by Ana-Maria57 » Thu Oct 10, 2019 3:29 pm

I applied mid August. My application is still pending. DH will apply for the restricted benefit this week.
I have not received any correspondence from social security. DH will be 66 in December, so he can take advantage of the restricted application. Time is getting short so I think he should file soon.


Thanks to all of you for sharing your experiences.

90south
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Re: Social Security Claiming

Post by 90south » Fri Oct 18, 2019 7:57 pm

This week I submitted my online application for retirement benefits and my wife submitted her online application for spousal benefits only. On my wife's application, it asked if she wanted to file for spousal benefit and delay retirement benefits. I have not seen this prompt mentioned on this forum or in a cursory google search (except here). My application did not ask this question probably because I am not FRA and I was born after Jan 1, 1954. We answered yes to the question and also put a short sentence about applying for spousal benefit in the remarks section.

I did not get a screenshot but did capture the text:

Code: Select all

If you are eligible for both retirement benefits and spouse's benefit, do you want to delay receipt of
retirement benefit? <More Info>

If you are full retirement age and we determine that you are eligible to receive both a retirement benefit
and a spouse's benefit, you may choose to delay receiving your own retirement benefit and receive only
the spouse's benefit for now.

    Yes No 
The "more info" was informative stating that if you answer yes, credits would accrue month by month until age 70 and that they would call to confirm the application for spousal benefits.

smectym
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Re: Social Security Claiming

Post by smectym » Fri Oct 18, 2019 11:41 pm

With SSA, “On-line” vs. “office visit” is not necessarily either/or.

Spouse and I applied online at the same time; one of us was taking the spousal benefit. There was nothing wrong with our online applications, but nevertheless we were called and assigned a date for an office visit. No reason given.

We went in; the visit was relatively painless. The rep was friendly. He just sort of confirmed that what we were doing was what we were doing. Not sure why we needed the office visit but it happened at SSA’s initiative.

Based on experience, perhaps the best strategy is to apply online: subsequently, if SSA thinks an office visit is necessary or desirable, they’ll let you know.

neilpilot
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Re: Social Security Claiming

Post by neilpilot » Sat Oct 19, 2019 10:23 am

smectym wrote:
Fri Oct 18, 2019 11:41 pm
With SSA, “On-line” vs. “office visit” is not necessarily either/or.

Spouse and I applied online at the same time; one of us was taking the spousal benefit. There was nothing wrong with our online applications, but nevertheless we were called and assigned a date for an office visit. No reason given.

We went in; the visit was relatively painless. The rep was friendly. He just sort of confirmed that what we were doing was what we were doing. Not sure why we needed the office visit but it happened at SSA’s initiative.

Based on experience, perhaps the best strategy is to apply online: subsequently, if SSA thinks an office visit is necessary or desirable, they’ll let you know.
We also applied online, and SSA required a follow up to confirm our intent just as you described. Happily their follow up was via a phone call; no visit necessary.

dcare
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Re: Social Security Claiming

Post by dcare » Sat Oct 19, 2019 11:02 am

My wife and I just went thru this exact process.

I had read of many horror stories on the Social Security application process, especially for thse types of applications, so I double/triple checked all of this ahead of time. The result was exactly what we wanted.

I did have several phone conversations with Social Security to confirm all of this.
I did make an appointment and we went in to the local Social Security office and reviewed the application. Just wanted a face to face meeting and also to confirm a Part D Creditable Coverage process.
We did have driver's licenses, our passports, our marriage certificate with us just in case. We only had to show driver's licenses.
After the meeting I completed the application online for both of us at the same time (Our birth months are the same and I am a few days later).
We had no follow up questions nor had to provide any additional documents.
M wife's application was approved in about 6 weeks and mine was approved in about 9 weeks. Since I was filing a spousal application, my wife's application had to be processed and approved before mine could be fully processed.

I did put the following verbiage in the Comments section of both applications.

This is the current plan for My full name and Wife's full name . Our applications are meant to follow this SS claiming strategy.

My full name - SSN DOB 99/99/9999
Wife's full name - SSN DOB 99/99/9999

Wife's name files for retirement benefits in Month 2019, the year Wife's name turns 63
My name files for spousal benefits in Month 2019, the year My name turns 66
My name files for retirement benefits in Month 2023, the year My name turns 70
Wife's name files for spousal benefits in Month 2023, the year Wife's name turns 67

TBillT
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Re: Social Security Claiming

Post by TBillT » Sun Oct 20, 2019 9:19 am

LadyGeek wrote:
Sun Aug 11, 2019 11:36 am
I've recently attended a local Bogleheads chapter meeting which discussed how to claim Social Security benefits. In each case, it was much better to make an appointment in person.

First, they had nothing but praise for the quality of the discussions. The Social Security people answered all of their questions and were very, very helpful.

Additionally, making an appointment also gives you additional rights. I didn't understand the details, but in case there are unexpected issues with your benefits at a later time, the date of the appointment can be used as justification to resolve those issues.

Update: Revised where the discussion took place.
That's sounds like good advice.

We did the online approach, which worked well at first to start my spouse's SS.
But I had problems with the subsequent restricted application, the agent assigned in Boston seemed to fumble things up.
Long story short, made quite a mess of things and some delay.

Trying to recall why I did not listen to your advice, but my applic was finally approved a few weeks before your post above.

Once you realize the process is going south, you do not have much recourse. They give the offices 6-8 weeks or so to work on it, and you cannot really start over or anything. Eventually they push it through.

phornsby
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Re: Social Security Claiming

Post by phornsby » Tue Nov 05, 2019 2:36 pm

We intended to file both my application and my wife's restricted application online. In early August I filed online for my own benefits to start with my 70th birthday in October. October arrived, and I received a letter from the SSA stating that I had “attempted” to file online but they needed more information. There was a toll free number to call. I called, and after a long period on hold I was told they needed more information. But they couldn't tell me what they needed and couldn't get me an appointment at an SSA office. So I went to the office, took a number and waited about 4 hours… didn't seem like my number was getting close, so I left and went to a tiny rural SSA office about an hour away, where there was no wait. There they told me that because my physical address was different from my mailing address (the Post Office doesn't deliver to our house) that they had to have me sign an affidavit stating that I was who I claimed, and that then I should wait to hear more (which I haven't yet).

Two issues here. First, should we proceed anyway with my wife's restricted application? Second why do they permit an online application to be filed with a physical address and mailing address that don't match? As more or less it is not possible to file online under those conditions. Anyway, we are now waiting, and it's way past my 70th birthday… so much for filling early online…!

dbr
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Re: Social Security Claiming

Post by dbr » Thu Nov 07, 2019 11:22 am

It seems SS may be using the language "someone attempted to file an application using your personal information" for a number of online applications. They ask for "additional information." I think this must be some safeguarding regarding proof of identity whenever some of the information is inconsistent or does not meet requirements. Getting bounced to an office visit can be grueling, and it is true that one can sometimes find less busy offices not in the center of major urban areas.

TBillT
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Re: Social Security Claiming

Post by TBillT » Thu Nov 07, 2019 1:03 pm

It seems like appointment is better for restricted appl per Lady Geek advice above.
If you make appointment, you should be able to get in there.

Re: oniine applic, you may have missed an email from the SS office, becuase normally we got an email way before the letter.
Then you have to decide if the email from SS is real or fraud, turns out it is real, but a lot of people on the internet will tell you it is a fraud.

We sucked it in and cautiously called the rep. First thing he asks is your SS no, which why? They have the appiic no.

At first, agent wanted to confirm our marraige and also he said internally the SS had some warning messages attached to my earnings history. We never figured that out, but in hindsight, I think that must relate to some minor inconsequential imputed income I have for life insurance.

He said he would approve it, but some weeks later we got another email to call the SS agent back. This time he did not recall why he needed more info. We later got the letter from SS requesting more info, and it was about other peoples names to whom we have no connection...some kind of application mix-up. We called SS and they said, the letter was a mistake, get over it.

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