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Old 01-21-2012, 11:46 AM
 
Location: Las Vegas
13,885 posts, read 25,311,688 times
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Just wanted to make sure everyone knows about this. I didn't till a few days ago.

If your spouse dies, you can collect 1/2 of their SS at age 60. Or earlier if you are disabled. Even if you were divorced or have remarried. You just need to have been married to the deceased for 10 years or more.

This is great news for me. It means I will be able to wait to collect my SS till I reach full retirement age.
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Old 01-21-2012, 12:20 PM
 
Location: East Coast
2,902 posts, read 4,580,910 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yellowsnow View Post
Just wanted to make sure everyone knows about this. I didn't till a few days ago.

If your spouse dies, you can collect 1/2 of their SS at age 60. Or earlier if you are disabled. Even if you were divorced or have remarried. You just need to have been married to the deceased for 10 years or more.

This is great news for me. It means I will be able to wait to collect my SS till I reach full retirement age.
No, I do not believe you collect half of your late spouse's benefit at 60...you would collect the same benefit he would if he were alive, reduced by 28.5% because you're taking it at age 60. In order to take your own benefit at full retirement age, I believe yours would have to be more than what you'd collect on your spouse's.

Before you decide to take benefits at 60, talk to someone at the Social Security Administration, because this benefit business can get complicated when you're working with two records. Be sure you TOTALLY understand the scenario...once you lock in, you may not be able to change it afterwards.

Widows, Widowers & Other Survivors: Benefit amounts for the surviving spouse by year of birth
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Old 01-21-2012, 12:33 PM
 
Location: Baltimore, MD
3,745 posts, read 4,215,210 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yellowsnow View Post
Just wanted to make sure everyone knows about this. I didn't till a few days ago.

If your spouse dies, you can collect 1/2 of their SS at age 60. Or earlier if you are disabled. Even if you were divorced or have remarried. You just need to have been married to the deceased for 10 years or more.

This is great news for me. It means I will be able to wait to collect my SS till I reach full retirement age.
The requirements for divorced survivor versus spousal survivor are a bit different, i.e. length of marriage.

That said, in general, survivors cannot collect benefits if they remarry before age 60. (However, I have heard of folks who remarried before age 60, divorced and then remarried the same "ex"spouse after age 60 to qualify for survivor's benefits). If a survivor elects survivor benefits before full retirement age, the benefit is reduced to about 70% of the benefit if the survivor chooses to apply for benefits at age 60.

Survivor benefits received before full retirement age are subject to the same earnings test as retirement benefits. IOW, working survivors will have a $1 deduction for every $2 earned after reaching the earnings threshold of $14,640.

I'm guessing you have already done the math and figured that the amount you will receive at full retirement age on your own earnings record will be more than you will receive if you postpone claiming the full survivor's benefits at your full retirement age.

I, OTOH, could NEVER earn enough to exceed my ex's full retirement benefit. So, if he were to die, I'd claim early benefits on my record at 62 and switch to survivor's benefits at 66.
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Old 01-21-2012, 12:47 PM
 
Location: Las Vegas
13,885 posts, read 25,311,688 times
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The SS people were very nice and informative. I had only contacted them to get my H's $255 death benefit.

My SS is higher than his because I worked longer and made more money. What works out best for me is to take his when I am 60 and then switch to my own at 66.
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Old 01-21-2012, 06:29 PM
 
Location: OH>IL>CO>CT
5,231 posts, read 8,392,545 times
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Smile Wait til age 70

Quote:
Originally Posted by yellowsnow View Post
The SS people were very nice and informative. I had only contacted them to get my H's $255 death benefit.

My SS is higher than his because I worked longer and made more money. What works out best for me is to take his when I am 60 and then switch to my own at 66.
I am currently in same situation OP is. I am collecting on spouse's record, waiting to collect on my own higher benefit. However I plan on switching at age 70 to take advantage of the maximum delayed benefit, which in my case is projected to be an additional $600/month vs age 66 amount.
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Old 01-21-2012, 07:40 PM
 
Location: Las Vegas
13,885 posts, read 25,311,688 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by reed303 View Post
I am currently in same situation OP is. I am collecting on spouse's record, waiting to collect on my own higher benefit. However I plan on switching at age 70 to take advantage of the maximum delayed benefit, which in my case is projected to be an additional $600/month vs age 66 amount.
That would be best for me too. I'll have to see if I can make it work but I'm not sure.
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Old 01-21-2012, 09:57 PM
 
Location: OH>IL>CO>CT
5,231 posts, read 8,392,545 times
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Exclamation Survivor claim "wrinkles"

Quote:
Originally Posted by yellowsnow View Post
That would be best for me too. I'll have to see if I can make it work but I'm not sure.
A couple of SSA oddities if you claim Survivor benefits, in my experience:
1. Your claim number will be your spouse's SS #, not your own.
2. At age 65, your Medicare card # will be spouse's.
3. SSA will not report spouse's death in ther SS Death Record listings. This what the 3 credit agencies use to close a person's credit record. So I kept getting junk mail in her name until I had to send all 3 a copy of death cert. (After 7 years I still get some but not near as much).
4. About 2 years in, SSA sent me a letter reminding me I could collect more $$ on my own record.
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Old 01-22-2012, 07:41 AM
 
Location: East Coast
2,902 posts, read 4,580,910 times
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Digesting the info at the link below is not for the faint of heart...but if you take a little time to read through it, and look at the tables, I think there's a lot of good info here. (I have a dog in this fight because I'm widowed and will have to decide on a strategy when I retire someday.)

Quote:
Widowed Before Retirement: Social Security Benefit Claiming Strategies

by Amy N. Shuart; David A. Weaver, Ph.D.; and Kevin Whitman


The economic well-being of widows in retirement is a longstanding concern among policymakers and academics. Widows exhibit higher rates of poverty than the general population, experience declines in economic well-being following the loss of a spouse, and have been the focus of several Social Security policy proposals. Concern over the well-being of widows continues to prompt new lines of research including recent efforts that examine the effects of early Social Security benefit claiming by married men on benefits that are ultimately paid to their widows (Munnell and Soto, 2007). In this paper, we expand on the work of Munnell and Soto by examining the claiming strategies available to individuals who, around the time of retirement age, are not part of an intact married couple.
Widowed Before Retirement: Social Security Benefit Claiming Strategies
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Old 01-22-2012, 03:56 PM
 
Location: Las Vegas
13,885 posts, read 25,311,688 times
Reputation: 26362
Quote:
Originally Posted by LibraGirl123 View Post
Digesting the info at the link below is not for the faint of heart...but if you take a little time to read through it, and look at the tables, I think there's a lot of good info here. (I have a dog in this fight because I'm widowed and will have to decide on a strategy when I retire someday.)

Widowed Before Retirement: Social Security Benefit Claiming Strategies
Great article!
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Old 01-22-2012, 04:02 PM
 
Location: Las Vegas
13,885 posts, read 25,311,688 times
Reputation: 26362
So now it also occurs to me there can be a substantial financial penalty for those who re-marry late in life. Looks like it's much better for the pocketbook to live together than marry.

I heard a little about this before but I'm learning a lot more now!
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