Advice on Filing for Social Security at Age 70

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You Know What I Mean
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Re: Advice on Filing for Social Security at Age 70

Post by You Know What I Mean »

One Ping wrote: Sun May 02, 2021 2:57 pm
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?

One Ping
Hello, One Ping.

Doing both “at the same time” might work. However, a person cannot apply for his/her spousal benefit until the spouse has filed for her/his own retirement benefit. That is, I believe the order matters. (In fact, that’s what I was told on the phone.)

Therefore, the person applying to switch from spousal to her/his own benefit should do it first. Then the other person should apply to switch to spousal, perhaps a day later.

As a practical matter, you might be able to do them at the same time (or perhaps on the same day?). You might get a phone call from Social Security if there is an issue. That’s my guess.
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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 May 02, 2021 7:33 pm Hello, One Ping.

Doing both “at the same time” might work. However, a person cannot apply for his/her spousal benefit until the spouse has filed for her/his own retirement benefit. That is, I believe the order matters. (In fact, that’s what I was told on the phone.)

Therefore, the person applying to switch from spousal to her/his own benefit should do it first. Then the other person should apply to switch to spousal, perhaps a day later.
Agree.

Sorry if I wasn't clear. I was thinking of waiting one month between the 1st application (spousal >> retirement) and the 2nd application (retirement >> spousal). Both applications would be effective in the same month --> 3 and 2 months later, respectively.
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ObliviousInvestor
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Re: Advice on Filing for Social Security at Age 70

Post by ObliviousInvestor »

One Ping wrote: Sun May 02, 2021 2:57 pm 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?
One point of note is that a person doesn't technically switch to a spousal benefit. Instead, they keep receiving their own retirement benefit, then get a spousal benefit added on. (Example: Spouse A has a PIA of $2,000. Spouse B has a PIA of $600. If Spouse B files for retirement benefits at FRA and then has a spousal benefit start later, they'd keep getting that $600 retirement benefit, and they would get a $400 spousal benefit added on.)

I know this sounds like a nitpick, but I've seen cases in which little phrasing things like this can ultimately lead to meaningful miscommunications. (For example, a person asks to switch to their spousal benefit, and the SSA rep says "after starting your retirement benefit, you can't switch to a spousal benefit." That's a true statement, but most people would completely misunderstand it -- and from there a "Who's on First" sort of discussion ensues.)

Problems like this are less common with online applications than with phone or in person, but nonetheless I might instead go with something along the lines of:
“I am currently receiving my own retirement benefit and am applying for my spousal benefit to begin effective in XXXXX 20ZZ. The new (higher) benefit amount should be paid starting in YYYYY 20ZZ. Thank you.”
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DebiT
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Re: Advice on Filing for Social Security at Age 70

Post by DebiT »

ObliviousInvestor wrote: Mon May 03, 2021 3:09 pm
I know this sounds like a nitpick, but I've seen cases in which little phrasing things like this can ultimately lead to meaningful miscommunications. (For example, a person asks to switch to their spousal benefit, and the SSA rep says "after starting your retirement benefit, you can't switch to a spousal benefit." That's a true statement, but most people would completely misunderstand it -- and from there a "Who's on First" sort of discussion ensues.)

Problems like this are less common with online applications than with phone or in person, but nonetheless I might instead go with something along the lines of:
“I am currently receiving my own retirement benefit and am applying for my spousal benefit to begin effective in XXXXX 20ZZ. The new (higher) benefit amount should be paid starting in YYYYY 20ZZ. Thank you.”
Not a nitpick, so important to be precise, and to make sure SS on the phone are being precise. You helped me so much the year before last when SS rep over the phone told me that I didn’t qualify for spousal benefits, only my own, on my late husband’s account. But what I was wanting was survivor’s benefits. She gave me a panic attack at the time, but you and others on this board helped me prepare for the in-person appt. That person was extremely competent. So glad I had this resource.
Age 63, life turned upside down 3/2/19, thanking God for what I've learned from this group
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One Ping
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Re: Advice on Filing for Social Security at Age 70

Post by One Ping »

ObliviousInvestor wrote: Mon May 03, 2021 3:09 pm
One Ping wrote: Sun May 02, 2021 2:57 pm 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?
One point of note is that a person doesn't technically switch to a spousal benefit. Instead, they keep receiving their own retirement benefit, then get a spousal benefit added on. (Example: Spouse A has a PIA of $2,000. Spouse B has a PIA of $600. If Spouse B files for retirement benefits at FRA and then has a spousal benefit start later, they'd keep getting that $600 retirement benefit, and they would get a $400 spousal benefit added on.)

I know this sounds like a nitpick, but I've seen cases in which little phrasing things like this can ultimately lead to meaningful miscommunications. (For example, a person asks to switch to their spousal benefit, and the SSA rep says "after starting your retirement benefit, you can't switch to a spousal benefit." That's a true statement, but most people would completely misunderstand it -- and from there a "Who's on First" sort of discussion ensues.)

Problems like this are less common with online applications than with phone or in person, but nonetheless I might instead go with something along the lines of:
“I am currently receiving my own retirement benefit and am applying for my spousal benefit to begin effective in XXXXX 20ZZ. The new (higher) benefit amount should be paid starting in YYYYY 20ZZ. Thank you.”
Right you are, Mike. :beer
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