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Situational Social Security Podcast


On todays show, Marc and Jim review a handful of situations married couples are encountering as they consider Social Security. 

3:50 - John is 66, and Joan is 45, and they are wondering if there are any benefits payable to their 10 year old son. They were worried about filing for benefits prior to age 70 and not maximizing widow benefits. The reason to file now would be so that their son would receive a benefit half of the full retirement age(FRA) benefit. Even if John decides to wait until age 70 to earn delayed retirement credits, the child’s benefit is still based on the FRA benefit amount. So the decision here is regarding filing at FRA to allow for a child benefit, child-in-care benefit(for the mother), and/or a future spousal benefit, versus waiting until age 70 to maximize survivor benefits. It is also important to consider that it is possible one of the benefits will be reduced if both child AND child-in-care benefits are claimed, AND the total benefits off of John’s work record exceed the family maximum.

8:31 - Jim talks about the challenges getting in contact with the Social Security offices this year and what the best options are to receive assistance.

10:45 - Jim explains the term PIA(primary insurance amount) for our listeners as it is helpful to understand when reviewing these situations

11:39 - Joe’s PIA is $2,500, and Jane’s PIA is $0, which means she does not have 40 credits and is not eligible for her own Social Security benefits. Both were born in 1954 and turned FRA in 2020. Should Joe take is his benefits now to allow Jane to take a spousal benefit? Or should Joe wait until age 70 to maximize delayed retirement credits, hence maximizing the survivor’s benefit? When you look at Joe’s benefits in a vacuum, there is about a 12 year breakeven point between filing at his FRA, or waiting until age 70, but when you add Jane into the equation, you will realize that she will be missing out on her spousal benefit of $1,250 per year(or $3,750 combined). If Joe takes the delayed retirement credits, the spousal benefit will NOT increase as it is calculated from the PIA.

15:45 - Sam was born in 1953, with a PIA of $2,500, and Joan was born in 1955, with a PIA of $1,500. Since Sam was born prior to 1/1/54, they heard they might be able to take advantage of the restricted application strategy, but were not sure how to do so. To benefit from the restricted application, Joan would apply for her benefits, allowing Sam to file for spousal benefits off of her work record. This way he receives a benefit while continuing to increase his benefit for the Delayed Retirement Credits.

17:56 - Sid and Chloe are both age 68, their PIAs are both $2,000 per month, and they are wondering how they can use the 6-month retroactive benefit alongside a restricted application. If you are past your full retirement age, you can file for retroactive benefits up to 6 months in the past, not to precede Full Retirement Age. So in this case, Sid or Chloe can file for their own benefit, 6 months in the past, and the other spouse can file the restricted application to receive spousal benefits from that time as well.

19:55 - Betty’s PIA is $1,500, she turned 62 in January, her husband Albert’s PIA is $2,500 and is 65 years old. They wondered if Betty should take her benefit early. If Betty decides to take her benefit early, it will be reduced about .5% per month, and her PIA is high enough that the spousal benefit is not helpful. If she is still working, she will need to consider how much she is making, because the Annual Earnings Test(AET) may reduce her benefit since she is not full retirement age.

Tune in to find out! 
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