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The File And Suspend Strategy
Prior to 2016, workers could file for benefits , then suspend their own benefits in order to maximize their credits for deferred filing. This so-called file and suspend strategy meant that a lower-income partner could take advantage of spousal benefits while the primary earner accrued delayed retirement credits, thereby increasing their benefit amount.
However, this “have your cake and eat it, too” loophole was closed with the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015, which took effect in April 2016.
While it is still possible to file for benefits and then suspend payments temporarily, any other benefits that would normally be available on your account are no longer payable during such suspensions.
How To Collect Spousal Social Security Benefits
Drawing from your spouse’s account does not affect how much your spouse receives. What’s more, if you were married for at least 10 years and then divorced, the same rule applies. If you collect from your former spouse’s Social Security, they will not know you are doing it. Records of your marital status and your Social Security numbers are all that’s needed if the system doesn’t have the data on file.
If you wait for your full retirement age, you can get one half of your spouse’s full retirement benefit. The number is smaller for each year before that. You can collect through your spouse’s Medicare at age 65.
Say your full retirement age is at age 66. If you start your retirement benefits at age 62, the monthly percentage of your spouse’s Social Security that you receive is reduced until you reach full retirement age.
- At age 62, you’d get 35% of your spouse’s full benefit.
- At age 63, you’d get 37.5% of your spouse’s full benefit.
- At age 64, you’d get 42% of your spouse’s full benefit.
- At age 65, you’d get 46% of your spouse’s full benefit.
- At age 66, you’d get 50% of your spouse’s full benefit.
Your Social Security Decision Affects Your Retirement Income Plan
It’s important to develop a strategy for when you will claim your Social Security benefit and on whose wage record. Your decision can make a significant difference in your overall retirement income plan. Knowing that you may have a larger Social Security benefit coming from your ex-spouse could make a difference in your cash flow throughout retirement.
Take the time to create your retirement income plan with a Fidelity representative and see how your Social Security benefits as an ex-spouse could make a difference.
How Do I Collect A Divorced Spouse’s Social Security
According to the Social Security Administration s Retirement Planner: If You Are Divorced, when applying for benefits on your exs record, youll be asked a number of questions about your name and work history, and may need to provide:
- A birth certificate or other proof of birth.
- Proof of U.S. citizenship or lawful alien status if you were not born in the United States.
- U.S. military discharge paper if you had military service before 1968.
- W-2 forms and/or self-employment tax returns for last year.
- Your marriage certificate.
- Your final divorce decree.
The SSA will accept copies of tax and medical records, but needs the originals of most other documents, such as birth certificates. Dont worry if you dont know where your papers are located. Do not delay applying for benefits because you do not have all the documents, it says in bold letters on the SSA website. We will help you get them.
Speaking of help, I suggest you speak with a professional before deciding how and when to take Social Security. Whether divorced, married or single youll find there are many ways to maximize your benefits, and just as many ways to leave money on the table. Learn about all of your options before you retire, so you can get the amount you deserve.
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Im Married Can I Get Social Security On My Husbands Record
Q. I am 52 years old and my husband is 72. He is retired now and Ive always stayed at home. We have been married for six years but lived together for more than 25. Am I eligible for his Social Security?
A. Eventually, yes, you probably can, but right now youre too young.
For you to file for Social Security spousal benefits your husband must have filed for his retirement benefits and you must be age 62 or have a qualifying child in your care, said Cynthia Aiken, a certified financial planner with Peapack Private Wealth Management in Bedminster.
She said a qualifying child is someone under age 16 or someone who is older than 16 and receiving Social Security disability benefits.
You must be married for at least one year before you are eligible to apply for Social Security spousal benefits, she said.
Your Social Security spousal benefit will be 50% of your husbands full retirement benefit if you start payments at your full retirement age, which in your case is 67 or older, Aiken said.
If you decide to start collecting spousal benefits before your full retirement age, then you will receive a reduced amount, she said. For example, if your full retirement age is 67 and you start receiving benefits at age 62, then your benefit will be 32.7% of your husbands monthly benefit.
If you decide to file for benefits on your own work record, the earliest you can file is still age 62, she said.
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Strategies For Claiming A Spousal Benefit
Social Security offers quite a few options for how to claim your benefits, and while the options are meant to give flexibility to retirees and others, they do create more complexity. Everyone wants to get all the benefits they’re entitled to, and this complexity might obscure an avenue to receiving more money from the program. Spouses have a few ways to proceed here, and the best course of action often depends on your personal financial situation.
For those looking to max out their spousal benefit, one course of action is obvious.
“The best strategy to claim Social Security retirement benefits as a spouse is to wait until you reach normal retirement age, 65 to 67, depending on birth year, says Lindsay Malzone, a Medicare expert at website MedicareFAQ. “Unless you currently care for a qualifying child, you will receive a reduced benefit if you have not yet attained normal retirement age.”
But there are exceptions to this general rule, especially if you believe your longevity is an issue.
The spousal benefit may also offer some flexibility for older filers. For example, a spouse may be able to claim spousal benefits on a worker’s account and then later claim benefits on his or her account. If your spouse was born before Jan. 2, 1954 and has already reached full retirement age, your spouse can receive the spousal benefit and delay receiving their own retirement benefit until later. If your spouse was born after this date, this option no longer exists.
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Eligibility For Spousal Benefit
If you begin to receive SSDI benefits, your spouse may also be eligible for benefits on your earnings in the following situations.
Your spouse is 62 years or older. If your spouse is 62 years or older when you start receiving disability benefits, he or she can also get a monthly benefit based on your earnings record unless he or she can get a higher benefit amount on his or her own record. But if your spouse collects a spousal benefit before full retirement age, the early retirement penalty will permanently lower his or her benefit. This does not apply to those caring for a child under 16 who is eligible for a child’s benefit.
Your spouse is caring for your minor child. Your spouse can get benefits if he or she cares for your child who is under the age of 16. While a child’s dependent benefits continue until age 18, your spouse’s benefits will stop when your child turns 16, unless your spouse becomes eligible for retirement or widower benefits. Note that the early retirement penalty does not apply to those caring for a child under 16.
However, if your spouse works while collecting benefits based on caring for a child under 16, Social Security may take away some of the spousal benefit. For the year 2020, if your spouse earns over the limit of $18,960 , the spousal benefit will be reduced by $1 for every $2 earned over the limit. This can lower the spousal benefit to zero.
Strategy For Divorced Spouses
If you have been divorced for at least two years, you can apply for spousal benefits if your marriage lasted 10 or more years. If, on the other hand, you are still married and considering a divorce, and are near retirement age, try to apply for spousal benefits before your divorce is final. If you have been married and divorced multiple times, you can choose to receive whichever spousal benefit is highest. Saving your ex-spouses Social Security numbers and dates of birth will make the enrollment process easier.
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Widow’s Or Widower’s Benefit
If the wife or husband of a disabled spouse was married to the disabled spouse for at least a year before the disabled spouse died and the disabled spouse was receiving or entitled to receive SSDI, the surviving spouse can get benefits in these either of these circumstances:
- The surviving spouse is disabled and between 50 and 60 .
- The surviving spouse is 60 years old or older.
This means that a surviving husband or wife who is younger than 50 and not taking care of minor or disabled children is not eligible for the survivors benefit when the spouse dies. Note that a surviving spouse’s benefits will end, or never start, if the surviving spouse remarries or becomes eligible to receive significantly higher Social Security benefits on her own record.
Strategies For Maximizing Spousal Benefits
Every married couple has to figure out the best way to maximize their benefits depending on their own circumstances.
The three strategies below will help you make the most of your Social Security spousal benefits, depending on your circumstances. However, keep in mind that, regardless of your circumstances, the most a spouse can get is 50% of the amount that the higher-earning partner is entitled to at full retirement age.
Can I Draw Social Security On My Husband
I will be turning 65 in February and want to know if I can draw Social Security on my husband? He is still living….I have been disabled all my life due to 3 automobile accidents. Ive never felt sorry for myself. Thank You
Hi. Assuming that you’re still married to your husband, you could only qualify for spousal benefits if your husband is drawing Social Security retirement or disability benefits and if his primary insurance amount is more than twice as much as your own PIA. A person’s PIA is equal to their Social Security retirement benefit rate if they start drawing their benefits at full retirement age .
I don’t have enough information to be able to give you any personalized advice, so I would suggest calling Social Security to explore your filing options.
What Happens If The Deceased Received Monthly Benefits
If the deceased was receiving Social Security benefits, you must return the benefit received for the month of death and any later months.
For example, if the person died in July, you must return the benefits paid in August. How you return the benefits depends on how the deceased received benefits:
- For funds received by direct deposit, contact the bank or other financial institution. Request that any funds received for the month of death or later be returned to Social Security.
- Benefits received by check must be returned to Social Security as soon as possible. Do not cash any checks received for the month in which the person dies or later.
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Eligibility When Your Ex
If your ex-husband dies, you may receive benefits on his record, as long as your marriage lasted for at least 10 years. If you dont meet the 10-year marriage rule, you can still qualify for benefits if all of the following are true: youre caring for your ex-husbands natural or legally adopted child the child is under age 16, or disabled, and the child is getting benefits on your ex-husbands work record. Your benefits will continue until the child reaches age 16 or the childs disability ceases. The amount of benefits you receive as a divorced spouse will not affect the amount of benefits other survivors receive on your exs record.
Strategy For Widowed Spouses
Widows and widowers may receive full benefits at their full retirement age or reduced benefits as early as age 60, as explained in sections above. Remarrying after age 60 will not affect your eligibility for survivors benefits. However, it may be more convenient for you to forego your widow or widower spousal benefits depending on your circumstances.
If your current spouse is also eligible for Social Security benefits and earns more than your former spouse, you may wish to apply for spousal benefits based on your new spouses record instead.
If you are collecting a survivors benefit, but also qualify for a benefit on your own, you may wish to collect a survivors benefit in the early years of retirement and leave your own Social Security benefits to accrue delayed retirement credits. Then, you can switch to your own retirement benefit as late as age 70.
Applying For Spousal Disability Benefits
If your husband or wife’s disability claim has already been approved, call the Social Security Administration at 772-1213 to apply for the spouse’s SSDI benefit. You must provide the SSA with your birth certificate, your marriage certificate, your Social Security number , and your bank’s routing information for direct deposit. If you are applying for a survivors benefit, you will also need to provide your deceased spouse or ex-spouse’s death certificate or other proof from the funeral home.
Minor Or Disabled Child
If you are the unmarried child under 18 of a worker who dies, you can be eligible to receive Social Security survivors benefits.
And you can get benefits at any age if you were disabled before age 22 and remain disabled.
Besides the worker’s natural children, their stepchildren, grandchildren, step grandchildren, or adopted children may receive benefits under certain circumstances.
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Spouses Married For At Least A Year Divorced Spouses Who Were Married At Least 10 Years And Surviving Spouses Can Be Entitled To Benefits
By Bethany K. Laurence, Attorney
Workers who have a long-term disability and have earned sufficient Social Security credits are often entitled to a monthly Social Security disability benefits, and sometimes their spouses are entitled to collect a monthly spouse’s benefit as well. Spouses married for at least a year, divorced spouses who were married at least 10 years, and surviving spouses can be entitled to benefits based on the earnings record of the disabled spouse .
Basic Rules Must Be Met
So long as some basic rules are met, you may be eligible to claim a higher retirement benefit based on your ex’s work record. This applies to both ex-spouses, whether you are the ex-wife or the ex-husband, and also for divorced spouses in a same-sex marriage.
The basic rules
- You and your ex must have been married for 10 consecutive years or longer, even if the marriage ended 30 years ago.
- Both you and your ex must be at least age 62 before you can claim as an ex-spouse.
- To collect on an ex’s record you must not be remarried.
- You and your ex must be divorced for two years or longer, or your ex must already be claiming retirement benefits.
Full Retirement Age
This is the month and year when you reach a specific age for Social Security benefits. It is based on the year you were born. If you were born from 1943 to 1954, your FRA is 66. Later birthdays have a later FRA. Find your FRA at Social Securitys website.
If you qualify as an ex-spouse based on these criteria, your retirement benefit would be half of your ex’s primary insurance amount, or PIA, so long as you claim at your full retirement age . The PIA is the benefit a person would receive if he or she elects to begin receiving retirement benefits at his or her normal FRA. You can claim as early as 62, but you will get less than half the amount you would get at FRA.
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Mother’s Or Father’s Benefit
The surviving spouse of a deceased worker who was eligible for disability or retirement benefits can get a monthly benefit check if the spouse cares for at least one child of the deceased worker who is under age 16 or disabled . This benefit is known as the “mother’s benefit” or the “father’s benefit.”
Usually a deceased spouse must have worked for at least 10 of the last 20 years in order to be eligible for disability or retirement benefits, but under a special Social Security rule, if the deceased spouse worked for at least one and one-half years in the three years before death, the mother’s or father’s benefit will be paid.
The mother’s or father’s benefit will stop when the child turns 16 or ceases to be disabled, but can restart again when the surviving spouse turns 60 .