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Old 03-10-2015, 03:59 PM
71,790 posts, read 71,896,917 times
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I would agree but I am not sure how things work if subject to that windfall penalty , I know zero about that , never had to know.
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Old 03-15-2015, 08:31 AM
Location: Cape Elizabeth
425 posts, read 388,445 times
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Bailygirl, if I understand you correctly, you are not married to anyone right now. Correct? Your last husband died and it seems your first marriage, of 14 years might have ended in divorce. Is that right? We need to know your age now, and if over 62 are you still working? If yes, would need to know about how long you want to keep working and about how much you earn in a year. Now, a lot of these questions are personal, and really should only be discussed with an SSA claims representative, so mamasplace advice is good. As a retired SSA employee, SS is complicated and worker/widows have many options.
But, one general point I want to make is this: a person who is not currently married to someone is potentially eligible to collect on any prior spouse, not just their last spouse. This gets very important as we age. Let's say you were married very young at age 24 and your husband dies at a young age from cancer or maybe a car crash. You both were 28 when he died. At 42 you remarry and stay married at least 10 years, but it wasn't the right person so you divorce at age 55. Then at 57, you meet another lovely man and marry again. Unfortunately, he dies when he is 60.
Now, you have been working steadily all these years and at 63 you want to retire. In this instance, you have so many options- because you can collect as a widow on husband #1 or husband #3 which is a great option. It is great because husband #1, although he died in his 20's, his benefit was determined and frozen back when he died. But, his amount has increased all the years with the cost of living allowance's given to SSA beneficiaries- and his amount, because he died young, has many less years in the computation- sometimes as little as 2. Whereas, husband # 3, although you are a widow, his amount is determined with many more years in computation. Husband #2, who is still alive, is your divorced spouse. Now collecting on a living spouse (divorced or still married) is not as beneficial as collecting on a deceased spouse because in the former we use 50% of the full amount and widow's are based on 100% of the full amount. So, you probably would be taking benefits from husband #1 or husband #3, and then delaying your own SS benefit until 70 so you could collect "delayed retirement credits" which grow from your full retirement age to age 70 at 8% a year. But, lets add another wrinkle to this story. At age 78, you hear that husband #2 has died. You should again contact SSA to see if his benefit is greater than what you are currently receiving. Because now you are a divorced widow. And again, a survivor benefit is based on 100%, not 50% of his full.
Hope this helps.

Last edited by ilovemycat; 03-15-2015 at 08:33 AM.. Reason: typo
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Old 03-15-2015, 11:30 AM
Location: Cape Elizabeth
425 posts, read 388,445 times
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One other very important point I want to make regarding contacting Social Security and marriages. Let's say in the above scenario- marriage #1- married and spouse died, marriage #2-married over 10 years and divorced, marriage # 3 married again at age 57, but this time, instead of spouse # 3 dying at age 60, he is still alive when you go to SSA for benefits at age 63. Because you are married at the time, and remarried before age 60, and current hubby is still alive, you cannot claim benefits on husband #1. Because you are under full retirement age, if you file for benefits on husband #3, you are deemed to have filed for benefits on your own work record as well, so you cannot do the scenario about just applying on hubby #3 and waiting until later for your own benefits. So, most likely, at the time of the SSA interview or application, at age 63, you would be filing for your own SS retirement, based on your own work and earnings.
But, a few years later, hubby#3 dies. Then you are not married to anyone, and can recontact SSA and see if hubby#1 or hubby #3 are going to pay you a widow's benefit higher than your own reduced retirement.
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Old 03-15-2015, 06:29 PM
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Originally Posted by bailygirl View Post
Sorry ok My husband died two years ago will i get all his ss at 66 or if I wait until 70 will i get more tks
Bailey, with due respect: If you want your questions answered, you need to type using correct grammar and punctuation.

This is not a Twitter feed. It is tiresome trying to unravel your message.

See? Like that.
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Old 03-16-2015, 04:11 PM
Location: Cape Elizabeth
425 posts, read 388,445 times
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bailygirl- I think you want to know if you, as a widow would have delayed retirement credits added on to your widow's benefit if you wait to collect at age 70, instead of your full retirement age of 66. No, you would not. The only way you get delayed retirement credits as a widow/widower is if the now deceased worker had delayed his/her retirement, and he/she had delayed retirement credits on their record before they died. Even if the now deceased worker delayed and got the DRC's, the spouse, meaning live wife/husband does not the DRC's factored in their spousal benefit amount while the worker spouse is still alive.
An example: Bob and Mary are alive and well and Mary begins to collect on Bob's record while he is alive. Mary is 66 and is due1/2 of Bob's Primary Insurance Amount (PIA). Say his PIA was $1000 and now Mary gets $500.00. Now, Bob delays his benefits until age 70 and had 48 delayed retirement credits. His own amount with 4 years of DRC's eventually becomes $1320.00. Mary gets no bump in her benefit as his wife, as long as he is alive. She remains at 1/2 of his $1000.00 (plus COLA's). If at age 86, Bob dies, then Mary goes to $1320.00 (or whatever his latest amount is with his COLA's.
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Old 03-16-2015, 04:54 PM
Location: Cape Elizabeth
425 posts, read 388,445 times
Reputation: 745
bailygirl, you also asked about the windfall offset. Windfall offset affects the computations of people who worked both under the SS system- so they have some SS benefit, but basically the bulk of their work was under a non-SSA system, such as police, fireman, federal employees under the CSRS, state workers whose state's did not opt to be under SS, such as MA, ME, TX, workers in non-profits, etc. When those workers have their 40 credits, from their Covered Employment (meaning under SS) they are due a benefit. But, the amount of that benefit is computed under a different formula. Social Security benefits are intended to replace only a percentage of a worker’s pre-retirement earnings. The way Social Security benefit amounts are figured, lower-paid workers get a higher return than highly paid workers. For example, lower-paid workers could get a Social Security benefit that equals about 55 percent of their pre-retirement earnings. The average replacement rate for highly paid workers is about 25 percent. That is part of the "Social" part of Social Security. Before 1983, people who worked mainly in a job not covered by Social Security had their Social Security benefits calculated as if they were long-term, low-wage workers. They had the advantage of receiving a Social Security benefit representing a higher percentage of their earnings, plus a pension from a job where they did not pay Social Security taxes. Congress passed the Windfall Elimination Provision to remove that advantage. It does not apply to survivor benefits. However, the survivor benefit is based on the deceased worker's PIA, so if that worker was getting a small SS benefit due to windfall, the widow does too. So, most widow's/widower's who worked on their own work record, most often, collect their own SS benefit, because the one on their deceased spouse is less.
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