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Switching to spousal benefit

My husband has a reduced SS benefit due to the WEP.  He filed for SS at full retirement age.  Once I reached my own full retirement age, I filed for spousal benefits which were minimal because they were based on his reduced benefit.  Once I reached 70 years of age, I switched to my own benefit.  50% of MY benefit (even without the extra added because of waiting to claim my own benefit) would be much higher than my husband's current benefit.  Here is my question: Can my husband now switch to receive a spousal benefit based on MY benefit or has that horse left the barn?

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@brigitte618 

 

I don't think it's a matter of the horse having left the barn. It's more the fact that hubby's spousal SS retirement benefit would always have been covered under the GPO...Government Pension Offset. The SSA describes it "If you are eligible for Social Security benefits on your spouse's record, and a pension not covered by Social Security, the Government Pension Offset, or GPO, may affect your benefits."

 

For more information see https://www.ssa.gov/benefits/retirement/planner/gpo-wep.html, a page "Information for Government Employees"

 

Note, you mention your extra amount of benefit arising from your delayed retirement credits (DRCs). DRCs are not payable on spousal benefits. However, they are payable for survivor's benefits.

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@brigitte618 

 

I don't think it's a matter of the horse having left the barn. It's more the fact that hubby's spousal SS retirement benefit would always have been covered under the GPO...Government Pension Offset. The SSA describes it "If you are eligible for Social Security benefits on your spouse's record, and a pension not covered by Social Security, the Government Pension Offset, or GPO, may affect your benefits."

 

For more information see https://www.ssa.gov/benefits/retirement/planner/gpo-wep.html, a page "Information for Government Employees"

 

Note, you mention your extra amount of benefit arising from your delayed retirement credits (DRCs). DRCs are not payable on spousal benefits. However, they are payable for survivor's benefits.

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@brigitte618 

 

This "Ask Larry" column about Social Security addresses your question a bit. See https://www.forbes.com/sites/kotlikoff/2020/11/24/ask-larry-why-isnt-my-wifes-spousal-benefit-50-of-...

Scroll down to the question "Is It Correct That WEP Wouldn't Apply To Spousal Benefits?" Larry addresses the GPO.

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@fffred 

Interesting - the tangled-web (not WEP) which SSA weaves - &%$#  😉

Might run this by the pros (reddit)  and see if they can site the POMS for such a situation.  

The question I have is on what amount would the spousal benefit be based, if the spouse is affected by the WEP with their benefit and then switched over to spousal affected by the GPO?

 

Think the SSA could at least get terminology better - as in changing it to something like primary beneficiary or subordinate/ secondary beneficiary.

&%$#  aaaaaaa  😫

 

 

It's Always Something . . . . Roseanna Roseannadanna
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Thank you, all, for trying to answer my question.  After much googling and researching I found out that @fffred has it right- the Government Offset Provision not only applies to survivor benefits, it also applies to spousal benefits.  Since 2/3 of my husband's federal pension is more than what he would receive under a spousal benefit which is 50% of my own benefit, he will never benefit from my SS record.  Seems kind of unfair that a person who never worked a day in his/her life can get a 50% spousal benefit and a 100% survivor benefit based on his/her spouse's record, but a person with a relatively modest government pension ends up not receiving an extra penny.

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@brigitte618 wrote

Seems kind of unfair that a person who never worked a day in his/her life can get a 50% spousal benefit and a 100% survivor benefit based on his/her spouse's record, but a person with a relatively modest government pension ends up not receiving an extra penny.

=============

It all goes back to that not contributing into the Social Security System while they were working.  They didn't contribute AND neither did their employer (some government entity).  

 

My neighbor worked for 20+ years with a local school system (long enough to get his full government based pension).  At the same time he had a business - licensed plumber - to pull in more income but to also work those 30 years within the SS system.  He did his self-employed job part time while he was working for the school system and then when he retired from there he worked full-time in his plumbing business.  Now the gets both - fully - his government pension and his full SS benefit + the DRC since he waited until 70 to draw his SS Retirement.  Now that's a lot of working!

 

I've made the suggestion (half joking) to others involved with the WEP and are griping about the unfairness - that they only have to pay their contributions (and the matched ones that their government employer didn't pay) and maybe the formula could be adjusted to count their government wages during all those year.

Nobody agreed.

 

Sorry I missed the other part of the picture when I gave you my reply - Didn't even think about the GPO part of the equation.  It is a complicated program unless you fit the mold of the masses.   Sorry it didn't work out.

Yea, @fffred is good.

 

 

It's Always Something . . . . Roseanna Roseannadanna
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@GailL1 wrote:

 

Yea, @fffred is good.


Thank you GailL. That means a lot coming from you, our resident "Pro" on Social Security, Medicare, etc. 

 

And as you probably know, I have my own woes with SS currently. haha.  

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@brigitte618 wrote:

My husband has a reduced SS benefit due to the WEP.  He filed for SS at full retirement age.  Once I reached my own full retirement age, I filed for spousal benefits which were minimal because they were based on his reduced benefit.  Once I reached 70 years of age, I switched to my own benefit.  50% of MY benefit (even without the extra added because of waiting to claim my own benefit) would be much higher than my husband's current benefit.  Here is my question: Can my husband now switch to receive a spousal benefit based on MY benefit or has that horse left the barn?


The horse has already left the barn because even though the spousal benefit is based on your benefit, if eligibility is met - it is still his benefit, and he has a choice of which to take - his own or Spousal - and since he is affected by the WEP - either of these will be affected by his WEP reduction %.

 

It's Always Something . . . . Roseanna Roseannadanna
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