Reply
Periodic Contributor

Spousal benefit question

My wife has been receiving SSD since 2016. She is currently 57 years old and getting her FRA amount. I will be turning 62 in 2021. I was just wondering if I can receive a spousal benefit from her now when I turn 62 with her being 57 years old or does she have to be 62 or older before I can receive any spousal benefit?

 
Her current SSD around $2740 monthly. 
I'm eligible for $441 at age 62 
$620 at full FRA.
 
Any opinions on what would be my best option for maximizing when to claim SS benefits & Spousal support considering my situation? She also receives 2 pensions and we are currently doing ok.
 
Also if I collect SS at age 62 and I am "Deemed Filing" will this reduce my spousal support forever?
 
Thank you 🙂
2,723 Views
21
Report
Conversationalist

@AlbertG538072 

Have your social security benefits been reduced due to the Government Pension Offset and/or Windfall Elimination Provision? 

Periodic Contributor

I stopped working in 1993. Was a stay at home dad for 3 little ones. Then caregiver for parents on both sides.

Honored Social Butterfly

@Tonster521 

Good question since his benefit is much lower than the norm.

It's Always Something . . . . Roseanna Roseannadanna
Honored Social Butterfly

@AlbertG538072 

 

I am wondering WHY you even want to file for SS Spousal benefits OR even your own retirement amount when you can receive a SSDI Family Benefit !!!! 

 

This is really easier because of it is the (her) SSDI benefit that you will be filing against.  This is just the same as filing for spousal benefits with deemed filing attached - they will compare your SSOAI (Old Age Insurance Benefit) at 62 with the SSDI Family Benefit (Spouse at 62) - you get the higher.

 

Read over these - basically the same thing - one is html and the other is pdf in case you want to print it out.

SSA.gov: Social Security DISABILITY Benefits _ FAMILY BENEFITS 

 

SSA.gov - Social Security Disability Benefits pamphlet publication EN-05-10029 

(SEE PAGE 10 for Family Benefits)

 

From the links: (excerpts):

When you start receiving disability benefits, certain members of your family may qualify for benefits based on your work, including your:

  • Spouse.
  • Divorced spouse.
  • Children.
  • Adult child disabled before age 22.

Maximum Family Benefit

Each family member may be eligible for a monthly benefit of up to 50 percent of your disability benefit amount. However, there is a limit to the amount we can pay your family.

Benefits for Spouse

Benefits are payable to your spouse:

  • Age 62 or older, unless your spouse collects a higher Social Security benefit based on their earnings record. The benefit amount for your spouse is permanently reduced by a percentage, based on the number of months up to their full retirement age.

If Your Spouse Also Worked Under Social Security

If your spouse is eligible for retirement benefits on their own record, we will always pay that amount first. But, if the spouse’s benefit that is payable on your record is a higher amount, they will get a combination of the two benefits that equals the higher amount.

 

Read the whole link ~  I just think that this will be the benefit that SSA will understand the best since your SSDI spouse is only 57.  Either way, they are still gonna pay you the higher amount adjusted for "early" filing.

 

Either way - look into it with SSA.

 

 

It's Always Something . . . . Roseanna Roseannadanna
Periodic Contributor

I was not aware of SSDI Family Benefits. I will have to read into this a little later.

I can never get through the SSA here in NEPA. Is there anyone else I can go to (even for a fee) and sit down with them so they can assist me in choosing my best option? 

 

Thank you

Al

2,581 Views
12
Report
Honored Social Butterfly


@AlbertG538072 wrote:

I was not aware of SSDI Family Benefits. I will have to read into this a little later.

I can never get through the SSA here in NEPA. Is there anyone else I can go to (even for a fee) and sit down with them so they can assist me in choosing my best option? 

 

Thank you

Al


You really don't have any options or choices - when you file for benefits.  Deem filing means that when you file for benefits, you file for all of the ones to which you are entitled and you will get the higher amount.

In your case, filing when you are 62 will bring up (2) comparisons for SSA to evaluate:  (1) your own which you know is very low and (2) Disability Family (Spouse at at least 62 years old) benefit which you know will be the higher amount. 

You will have to give them supporting docs - like marriage license and maybe your wife's SS #.  Sometimes, once the benefit is clarified, they appointment with them might be just a switch off of the docs, they make a copy and return them to you as you wait in the parking lot. 

I am hoping that this will get better as Covid-19 cases go down - but who knows; gotta do what ya gotta do in the meantime to continue moving on.

 

It's Always Something . . . . Roseanna Roseannadanna
Periodic Contributor

Hi GaiL1, 

 So do I have to wait for my spouse to be 62 years old before I can increase my benefits through hers?

 

Thank you for your help.

Al 🙂

Honored Social Butterfly


@AlbertG538072 wrote:

Hi GaiL1, 

 So do I have to wait for my spouse to be 62 years old before I can increase my benefits through hers?

 

Thank you for your help.

Al 🙂


I am sorry that this is so confusing, Al -

 

Your wife is receiving her FULL Social Security benefit just as if she waited until her full retirement age to begin because she is on and has been on SSDI. 

When she reaches her full retirement age, the name of the program that is dispersing her benefit will change from SSDI (Social Security Disability) TO Social Security Old Age Retirement (they have separate ledger sheets) BUT the Amount of her benefit will not change.  She does NOTHING at 62 - she is already getting her full benefit amount.

 

Your benefit, whether your own retirement based on your work record OR SSDI Family Benefit for a spouse, is computed on YOUR age when you decide to file for one of the other.

At 62, either of them is gonna be reduced because you are filing for the benefit early.  The only way that you can get the WHOLE 50% of her benefit is to wait to file for it until you reach YOUR Full Retirement Age.

 

Using this Social Security chart:

Social Security.gov: Benefit Planner - Starting your Benefits Early 

If you are 62 now, I figure you were born in 1959 - see the whole link for a full explanation.  From the link for those born in 1959:

Screenshot_2021-04-05 Benefits Planner Retirement Retirement Age and Benefit Reduction SSA.png

Screenshot_2021-04-05 Benefits Planner Retirement Retirement Age and Benefit Reduction SSA(1).png

 

So based on what you told us, YOU at age 62

YOUR FRA benefit is $ 620.00 X 29% = $ 180 (reduction)

$ 620 - $ 180 = $ 440 YOUR work record benefit AT 62

 

AS a SPOUSE: (filing for a SSDI Family Spouse benefit)

SSDI wife's FULL benefit $ 2740.00 X 50% (spouse) = $ 1370

$ 1370.00 X 34% = $ 466 (reduction for early filing)

$ 1370 - $ 466 = $ 904.00  YOUR SSDI Family (Spouse) benefit at 62 y.o.

 

Now if you waited until you were FRA (66 + 10 months), think that would be sometimes in 2026 - you would get the WHOLE 50% of her benefit with no reduction(whatever it would be at that time cause hopefully there will be some COLA in the meantime.).

 

Her benefit is set - it is when you decide to file a claim that will make the difference in your benefit.  The SSDI Family Spousal benefit is definitely higher than your own work record benefit.

 

My numbers are approximate but pretty close.

Hope this helps.

 

 

It's Always Something . . . . Roseanna Roseannadanna
Periodic Contributor

Hi Gail1,

   Yup those are the numbers I got from the SS web site a couple of days ago after reading all the helpful comments & with the helpful links. I printed out the "benefits estimate graph" which shows the same numbers. 

 

I spoke with a SS rep. in late 2019 and she mentioned to me that my wife has to be 62 years old (even though she is receiving her full FRA) before I can increase my benefits via SSDI Family Benefit for a spouse. Now I may have misunderstood what she told me. So when I turn 62 I would only get the $441. Then when my wife reaches 62 then I could get more. But I would be around 66 years old when she turns 62.

This is where for me the confusion lies. From what I'm understanding here is that when I turn 62 I could increase my benefit to $904 with my wife being 57 having her FRA benefit. Well she will be 58 before I turn 62.

 

I really do appreciate your help and everyone else for helping me. I been dealing with insomnia for 1  1/2 years now and I'm brain dead every other day, 😞 

 

 

 

Hope this makes sense.

Thanks

Al 🙂

0
Kudos
18580
Views
0 Kudos
2,220 Views
3
Report
Honored Social Butterfly


@AlbertG538072 wrote:

Hi Gail1,

 

I spoke with a SS rep. in late 2019 and she mentioned to me that my wife has to be 62 years old (even though she is receiving her full FRA) before I can increase my benefits via SSDI Family Benefit for a spouse. Now I may have misunderstood what she told me.

 

So when I turn 62 I would only get the $441. Then when my wife reaches 62 then I could get more. But I would be around 66 years old when she turns 62.

 

This is where for me the confusion lies. From what I'm understanding here is that when I turn 62 I could increase my benefit to $904 with my wife being 57 having her FRA benefit. Well she will be 58 before I turn 62.

 

Hope this makes sense.

Thanks

Al 🙂


Sorry for the delay in answering your last comment - got my 2nd Covid vaccine and knocked me for a loop for about 24 hours.

 

The SSA person you spoke to in 2019 - gave you the procedure for the SS OASI (Social Security Old Age /Survivors) program - that's the Retirement Program.

 

She did not seem to understand that your wife (the worker with the higher benefit and is much younger) was already on SSDI and you were going to be filing under the SSDI - Family Benefit program. NOT the Retirement Program

 

You said she mentioned this SSDI - Family Benefit program to you but I thought you said that you had never heard of it before in another post in this thread ( your post of 04-03-2021 01:33 PM )  She evidently did not understand which program you were filing for -

 

You must be very specific in your language to them.  Don't just say you are filing for a Spousal benefit; they will think regular retirement benefits -   Tell them you are filing for SSDI - Family Benefit as the Spouse..

 

SS Retirement benefits and SSDI benefits are exactly the same EXCEPT the disabled person (the worker) age is not considered in the Family Benefits.

 

Now I will give you this link again - It says plainly that the FAMILY benefit is 50% of the disabled worker's benefit - less early % reduction for the spouse filing when they are 62.

SSA.gov - SSDI -Family Benefits - Benefits for Your Spouse 

Have this page handy when you speak to them again.  Print it out - keep it as a reference

screen shots from the link ~ 

Screenshot_2021-04-08 Family Benefits Disability Benefits SSA(1).png

 

Screenshot_2021-04-08 Family Benefits Disability Benefits SSA.png

 

SSA even has a definition page on "Family Benefits"

SSA.gov - Family Benefits - Definition of Family in Different SS Programs 

You are in a Family with a DISABLED WORKER

sub-group:

  • Disabled worker and aged spouse (spouse at least 62 years old)

 

 

It's Always Something . . . . Roseanna Roseannadanna
Periodic Contributor

Hi GaiL1,

   No worries. And I hope you are feeling much better. 🙂

 

My bad on the SSDI comment. I had found my notes regarding the conversation in 2019 with the SS rep. But I am benefiting more here on this forum. 

Printed all this out.

I think it's best to wait until my FRA (66 + 10 months) . So that's my plan for now.

 

Thanks so much. 

 

Al 🙂

 

 

 

0 Kudos
2,032 Views
1
Report
Honored Social Butterfly


@AlbertG538072 wrote:

Hi GaiL1,

   No worries. And I hope you are feeling much better. 🙂

 

My bad on the SSDI comment. I had found my notes regarding the conversation in 2019 with the SS rep. But I am benefiting more here on this forum. 

Printed all this out.

I think it's best to wait until my FRA (66 + 10 months) . So that's my plan for now.

 

Thanks so much. 

 

Al 🙂

 

 

 


If you can wait until your FRA to apply,  you will reap the monitary benefit -

but you may still have to apply under the SSDI Family Benefit as a Spouse to get the full 50% of her benefit ( $ 1370 based on her today's benefit - probably more by then due to COLAs).

 

The reason being is that SSA will not transfer her benefit to the Old Age Retirement program and out of the SSDI program until she is FRA (67 according to the chart) - it is the classification of her benefit that will determine WHICH spousal benefit will apply to you to get the full 50% of her benefit even though you have reached YOUR FRA.

 

Just keep this in mind when you get ready to apply - and keep your notes and web page sites.  You just have an unusual situation and one that many of the SSA CSR (customer service reps) DON'T face everyday and the computer systems that they use are only as good as the info feed into them, in your case this only involves which (spousal) benefit applies to you based on the workers (your wife) benefit at the time when you apply. 

 

Yes, in your case, especially because you are outside the norm - knowledge is power - 👍

Good Luck ~

 

It's Always Something . . . . Roseanna Roseannadanna
0 Kudos
1,962 Views
0
Report
Honored Social Butterfly

@AlbertG538072 

 

I think you are gonna have to talk to Social Security if only to find out how to turn in the verification info that they will need to process your SSDI Family (Spouse) Benefit.  They are probably gonna need your marriage certificate, your wife's SS # and whatever else.  You cannot file for this online.

 

This is the benefit that you are going to apply for - SSDI Family Benefit for Spouse at age 62 - that will get you 50% of her benefit less the % for you for filing early, meaning not at FRA.

 

Social Security is broken down into (2) categories that come from an individual's work record: 

I.  Social Security Retirement or Old Age Benefit    

II.  Social Security Disability Insurance. 

The programs are separate and have somewhat of different rules of eligibility for the beneficiary and for their (eligible) family members.

 

They are different and one needs to understand which benefit they qualify for -  I hope I have added some clarity with the description below.  This really isn't a big deal as long as you and the SS Rep are on the same page in discussing the matter.

 

The SS 1 800 general number can make the appointment for you at your local office if you cannot get through to the local office.  If you run into problems, call your House of Representative office - they have staff there that should be able to help you. 

 

Social Security Types of Benefits

I.  Social Security Old Age Retirement

1.  One's Own Retirement Record Benefit - must be at least 62 to apply

2.  Spousal Benefit - Beneficiary must have already retired for spouse, at age eligible age, to receive SS Retirement Spousal benefits

3.  Widows Benefit - At age eligibility (60) or (50) IF caring for dependent child(ren)

 

Social Security Disability Insurance

1.  One's own Disability once vested by age/work record in the program - the disabled beneficiary will remain on SSDI benefits until they reach retirement age of 62 or FRA (not sure of which) and then are just converted to the SS Old Age Retirement program.

2.  Family Benefits for SSDI beneficiaries - for spouse at age 62 and other defined family members

This is the benefit (spousal at age 62 under the SSDI program) that you will have to claim for yourself BECAUSE the person who's benefit you are claiming under (your wife) IS NOT RETIRED or of Retirement age -  therefore you are claiming as the spouse at age 62 (family) of a SSDI Beneficiary. - your wife who is only 57 years old; officially, she is NOT retired under the SS system - she is on SSDI.

3.  Widows Benefit - as early as age 60 or 50 if caring for dependent children.

It's Always Something . . . . Roseanna Roseannadanna
Gold Conversationalist


I can never get through the SSA here in NEPA. Is there anyone else I can go to (even for a fee) and sit down with them so they can assist me in choosing my best option?

@AlbertG538072 

 

Ahoy, Albert. I'm sure you can get an appointment with some live person locally. I'm not certain that this would be worth the cost myself; I would be afraid that the consultant would not act as a fiduciary in my best interests but would be more interested in wanting to sell me something. But that's just me. haha.

 

I think in any case you would be wise to gain a base of knowledge on your own before spending time in someone's office. On the other hand, I wonder if there's an AARP Telephone Help Line that might be helpful?

 

Some suggestions for you based on my own limited experience:

 

  • You may want to work through information on the AARP website, such as this https://www.aarp.org/retirement/social-security/questions-answers/disability-benefits/?cmp=RDRCT-968...
  • and this https://www.aarp.org/retirement/social-security/questions-answers/receiving-disability-is-wife-eligi...

  • I would keep asking questions here in the AARP forum. There are some helpful very knowledgeable people (mostly they have the name "GailL" 😉

  • There's a helpful Social Security subforum at Reddit, you might want to check out https://www.reddit.com/r/SocialSecurity/ There are actually a lot of posts (maybe 50%) that address disability benefits.

  • I found a helpful SS "survivor's" group on Facebook, must join. It is good. Neither me nor my wife is a "survivor" yet but I asked to be let in based on my interest in planning for my wife/survivor. Helpful as these people have real world experience in this. I was hoping for more traffic here in the AARP SS forum but it sees 'relatively' little traffic, not what I'd expect.

  • A financial forum "Bogleheads" does not have a dedicated subforum for Social Security but there are many related relevant SS discussions and that's where I'd go myself for help. see https://www.bogleheads.org/

  • An expert on Social Security is Professor Laurence Kotlikoff of Boston University. He has been on television for years (PBS, major networks), and in print (Forbes, other magazines, newspapers, and AARP) for years as well. He's collected all his "Ask Larry" columns in a single awesome resource on the website of his software (you have to pay for the software, I have used it. Larry is awesome, but you can use that free software I mentioned before and get as much out of it); see https://maximizemysocialsecurity.com/ask-larry There is a compendium of topics/subjects. Take your pick.

My suggestion:  You said you want to "maximize" the Social Security benefits. I take this to mean "maximize" over the expected lifetimes for you and your wife. The free software I mentioned will do this for you (so will Larry's software), and there are consultants who will do this as well ...for a fee (but you can do this yourself for free). You may be able to try custom alternate scenarios with the free software (I don't remember) and I know that you can with Larry's inexpensive software. And you can run these as often as you want, unlike for that consultant.

 

I do see via Google that there are SS consultants around. Again, I would try my own hand at it myself before paying someone. This is not rocket science.

 

Good luck!

Gold Conversationalist

@AlbertG538072 

 

Found this place on the web. Web-based consultant. Check out what they offer

https://socialsecurityadvisors.com/start.html

Periodic Contributor

fffred, Thanks you for all your help.

I found one near me, https://socialsecurityretirementconsultants.com/contact/

I believe they charge $200. But I will try to make an appt. with SSA first. Time is on my side as I turn 62 in 12/2021.

 

Thanks again 

Al 🙂

Honored Social Butterfly

@AlbertG538072 

If your figures and details are correct - there is not gonna be any difference in the Social Security Family Benefit for a Spouse and your Social Security Spousal Benefit. What I am saying to you is because the actual beneficiary of the benefit you are going to claim against for either of these benefits - Disability Family or Retirement Spousal - is your wife and she is only 57 years old, it will probably be easier for the SS service rep to understand what is transpiring.


As far as I can tell, the SSA local offices have NOT reopened to face to face due to Covid-19 but you can see if you can make an appointment with them or see if they will set up a review for you and then get back to you.


Try this:

SSA - FAQ - How do I schedule, reschedule, or cancel an appointment?

 

from there you can locate a local office and their contact info or call the main number to see if you can book an appointment.

If you get no help there . . . . and still need help - Call the office of your Congressman - they have staff that are suppose to help you.

 

 

It's Always Something . . . . Roseanna Roseannadanna
Gold Conversationalist

@AlbertG538072 

 

A suggestion: you can use this on-line Social Security calculator to check for your optimal claiming strategy. This calculator is freely available, it doesn't require your personal information, and is published by a guy (not me) who is an expert on Social Security and has published at least one book on the topic ...and he's not going to contact you to try to sell you something for using his calculator! Really, this is a great tool.

 

see https://opensocialsecurity.com/

 

You will have to "check" the tick box at the top of the page to get the Advanced Options for the disability consideration. This opens up a number of inputs that are pertinent.

 

I ran through the inputs myself for disability with a spouse who had their own benefits. It's pretty simple, just some data input.

 

Note that the thrust of this calculator is to optimize (in this case maximize) your SS benefits. If you are dead set on taking at 62 that's okay too. It may be worth spending half-an-hour with this tool seeing what it says and reading the discussion it provides.

Gold Conversationalist

@AlbertG538072 

 

You said "Also if I collect SS at age 62 and I am "Deemed Filing" will this reduce my spousal support forever?"

 

Yes, it is forever.   (unless you do a "do-over" and pay all benefits back, there is a short time limit on this though)

 

Until either of you dies. Once your wife dies your spousal benefits will become survivor benefits. And if she dies after your reach your full retirement age then the "clock resets" and you won't get a reduced survivor benefit.

Periodic Contributor

Ok thanks. 👍

Gold Conversationalist

@AlbertG538072 

 

I am surprised but there are indeed spousal benefits based off disability, not just the old age (retirement) benefit.

 

See the description of these benefits at the SSA at https://www.ssa.gov/benefits/disability/family.html

 

The page states "Benefits are payable to your spouse age 62 or older", but goes on to state "unless your spouse collects a higher Social Security benefit based on their own earnings record. The benefit amount for your spouse is permanently reduced by a percentage...up to their full retirement age."

 

It further discusses your case where you also are eligible for SS retirement benefits, "If Your Spouse Also Worked Under Social Security...If your spouse is eligible for retirement benefits on their own record, we will always pay that amount first."

 

They use the term "eligible", not "entitled". This is a tricky point. My understanding is that you are eligible for SS benefits when you meet the defined requirements but you are not necessarily actively collecting benefits. You are entitled once you are actively collecting benefits. For example, I am 68 but I am not collecting retirement benefits, I am eligible (as I meet the requirements) but I am not entitled. Once I apply and begin collecting I will be entitled. This is an important distinction as the SSA will consider you eligible when you are 62 and if you then collect the spousal benefit via your disabled wife you will also be deemed to have filed (early) for your own retirement benefit.

 

The paragraph mentioned above ("If Your Spouse Also Worked Under Social Security") continues on to state "But, if the spouse’s benefit that is payable on your record is a higher amount, they will get a combination of the two benefits that equals the higher amount." Which means that you will get a combination of your own retirement benefit and the spousal benefit (but you will get the spousal benefit only if it is greater than your own benefit).

 

Good luck!

 

edit:   and let me clarify, you don't get the full amounts of both your retirement benefit (reduced for early age) and the spousal based on disability. You will get your own retirement benefit, and then if your spousal benefit is greater you will get an amount that is difference between your spousal and your own. That's confusing, isn't it? In practice, you will get a check for the larger of your own retirement benefit and the spousal benefit.

cancel
Showing results for 
Show  only  | Search instead for 
Did you mean: 
Users
Need to Know
More From AARP