What You Need to Know About the New Laws for Claiming Retirement Benefits

Have you heard that some of Social Security’s rules about claiming benefits are changing? Well, it’s true. The Bipartisan Budget Act that passed last November closed two complex loopholes that were used primarily by married couples. We want you to know why this happened, how it might affect you, and what you should do next.

But first, don’t forget that one of the best ways to increase your Social Security retirement benefit is to delay claiming it between ages 62 and 70. Each month you delay results in a higher monthly benefit for the rest of your life. The new law doesn’t change this.

The new law closes loopholes that allowed some married couples to receive higher benefits than intended. Only a small fraction of retirees used these loopholes. Closing them helps restore fairness and strengthens Social Security’s long-term financing.

So what’s changing with the new rules?

  • First, if you are eligible for benefits both as a retiree and as a spouse (or divorced spouse), you must start both benefits at the same time. This “deemed filing” used to apply only before the full retirement age, which is currently 66. Now it applies at any age up to 70, if you turned 62 after January 1, 2016.
  • Second, if you take your retirement benefit and then ask (on or after April 30, 2016) to suspend it to earn delayed retirement credits, your spouse or dependents generally won’t be able to receive benefits on your Social Security record during the suspension. You also won’t be able to receive spouse benefits on anyone else’s record during that time.

For more information about these changes in the law, please visit Recent Social Security Claiming Changes and Retirement Planner.

Deciding when to start your Social Security benefits is a complex and personal decision. You may contact Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778), or visit your local field office, to speak with a representative about your retirement options. In particular, if you are or will be full retirement age (66) or older before April 30, and you think you want to suspend your benefits, contact us as soon as possible before April 30. But remember, if you want to let your retirement benefit grow, you can simply delay taking it, up to age 70.

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445 thoughts on “What You Need to Know About the New Laws for Claiming Retirement Benefits

  1. I TURNED 62 IN SEPTEMBER 2015. I DO NOT WANT TO RECEIVE BENEFITS UNTIL I AM 70. I AM MARRIED. DO I NEED TO APPLY FOR BENEFITS AND TELL THEM TO DELAY NOW?

    • no you dont your spouce is not claiming social security off your record inwould only claim it until neccessay longer you delay it the better

      • I make far less ($1065 month) than that on Social Security and it is my only income. I have no other money or assets. I only get $16 a month in food stamps and I do not qualify for Medicaid and certainly not for SSI. You can look up the threshold amounts for each of these programs in your state. I can assure you that you will not qualify for SSI. If you have any retirement savings that will also go against you as that is an asset.
        The programs you have stated are for the poorest of the poor and at $18,720 a year, I’m pretty sure you will not qualify for any of them.

      • Can I get SS benifets through my ex husband. I am retired from the old federal retirement so didn’t pay into SS until went yo work part time after retirement. So I don’t receive any SS and have to pay ever year just to get Medicare.

        • During my DIVORCE though major depression and No lawyer than tolally depended on my hushand than employed by. He told me he had paid in my ss. Years afterwards I learn he never did than much lies. I’m disable and only recive 460.00 a month living on than houseing.
          Was work in part time until last month a car wreck finish that out. No car than money to even work. Anger is how do man get away with this. Now he tells me he not claiming until he is 70.
          Fact remains even if sounds mental…..thst this man stole way to much from my life and should back pay from useing me on taxes but not in my ss…..don’t make sense to me. Now he buys A 225.000 home and I can as die after 22 yrs were together. Alimony was only granted for seven yrs. Plus we have ass disability DSUGHTER grown that I distance take care of…….in Ga I live and okla he lives any advice thst I have any rights or unknow laws or attorney whom can help ME!!!! thank you

          • Hi Joyce, you may be eligible to receive benefits on your ex-spouse’s record at age 62 if:
            • You were married to your ex-spouse for at least 10 years;
            • You are unmarried;
            • Your ex-spouse is entitled to Social Security retirement or disability benefits and,
            • The benefit you are entitled to receive based on your own work is less than the benefit you would receive based on your ex-spouse’s work.
            If your spouse hasn’t applied for benefits, but can qualify for them and is age 62 or older, you can receive benefits on your ex-spouse’s work if you’ve been divorced for at least two years. Please visit our Retirement Planner: If You Are Divorced, then check out our publication, “What Every Woman Should Know” for more important information.

          • You can enroll in college for free in many states. That may help you since you sound Illiterate. That means you can’t read, write or compose sentences.

        • Hi Peggy, you may be eligible to receive benefits on your ex-spouse’s record at age 62 if
          • You were married to your ex-spouse for at least 10 years;
          • You are unmarried;
          • Your ex-spouse is entitled to Social Security retirement or disability benefits and,
          • The benefit you are entitled to receive based on your own work is less than the benefit you would receive based on your ex-spouse’s work.
          However, if you receive a pension from a government job in which you did not pay Social Security taxes, your Social Security benefit on your ex-spouse’s record may be affected. For more information, please visit our Retirement Planner: If You Are Divorced.

        • I am 67 years old. I am divorced. I retired from ERS/TRS. L. Female. I also draw $158.00 SSI per month in addition to my Teacher Retirement of $1125.00 month. Am I entitled to draw SSI benefits from my X-Spouse?

          • A widow or widower of a person who worked long enough under Social Security can start receiving survivors benefits as early as age 60 (age 50 if disabled). The benefit amount would be based on the earnings of the person who died. The more he or she paid into Social Security, the higher the benefit amount would be. At this time, we do not offer an online application for survivors benefits. Please contact your local Social Security office. An appointment is not required, but if you call ahead and schedule one, it may reduce the time you spend waiting to speak to someone. To make an appointment call our toll free number at 1-800-772-1213 and speak with one of our representatives. Representatives are available between 7 AM and 7 PM Monday through Friday. Thanks.

          • I was married for 12 years before my divorce. Can I receive benefits from my ex husband along with my social security?

    • Hi Eddie. Delayed Retirement Credits automatically accrues when and if you delay getting your benefit up until age 70. You only need to contact us when you are ready to start receiving your benefits. Remember that you can apply for your benefits online at any time now.
      There are a lot of factors that go into deciding when to retire, the decision on when to file is a personal one. To help you plan for the future, you can use our Retirement Planner and you can also create a my Social Security account to verify your earnings, get your Social Security Statement, and much more. We hope this information helps!

      • Isn’t the amount of your benefit acualized over what your potential life expectancy, and unless you continue working during the time you are delaying benefits, there really isn’t much benefit in waiting to collect ? In other words, if you live to be 80, you will get nearly the same amount. For instance, my benefit is $1,898 at 62, $2,504 at 66, and $3,305 at 70, which calculates out to approximately 409K, 420K, and 396K for lifetime payments, respectively. If you live to be 85, then the difference between the benefits collected amount to about 3K per year for the years between 62 and 85, but since SS is taxed differently, wouldn’t it be better to use SS funds, rather than say, your 401K funds which are fully taxed, for those 23 years, in which case your 401K funds would be growing (tax free) all those years and be larger later on? I see a lot of encouragement to wait to collect SS, but when I analyze all the factors for a situation in which I am not working during the years I am delaying retirement, there doesn’t seem to be any advantages to waiting, and there seems to be valid reasons why I would have more money if I don’t wait.

        • I would like to see the reply to this question because it makes a huge amount of sense. It seems the system is designed to encourage you to wait, for obvious reasons of mortality, but if you aren’t planning to work beyond 62, why wait? A response would be appreciated.

          • Hi Dianne. There are a lot of factors that go into deciding when to retire, each individual case can be different, and the decision on when to file is a personal one. We provide a variety of benefit-calculators to help you plan for the future. You can use our Retirement Planner and you can also create a my Social Security account to verify your earnings, get your Social Security Statement, and much more. We hope this information helps!

        • What’s missing from the discussion on delaying is the fact that one will need MORE money in the earlier years of their retirement when they are more active. Many still have mortgage payments in their 60s and 70s. Why pay off a 3% mortgage when investments are yielding 5%. One also loses the tax deduction as well. The only big variable when analyzing the income stream in one’s old age are health care costs. My wife and I both have a long term health care policy which will greatly help in the event of a big health care issue. Why be swimming in money as you sit in your proverbial rocking chair in your 80s and 90’s? I don’t think my wife and I will be on cruise ships and travelling all over the world when we’re 85, much less 90 years old. There’s also NO discussion regarding “means testing” of social security payments. Do you really think you’ll be getting $2400/mo from other taxpayers so you can go on cruises and buy nice cars when you’re sitting there with $1 million dollars in the bank and getting $2 thousand a month in retirement from another career all the while the system soesn’t have enough money and there’s millions out there on the fruited plain living on $900/month??? Medicare premiums and retired military health benefits are already means tested. It’s only a matter of time untilsocial security recipients have their turn. You saw what Obama has been able to do with a stroke of a pen, changing bathroom policy that has existed for thousands of years. Would it be that radical to do the same with social security policy?

          • ok just for the heck of it is the money this person worked they took with out permission it is their money so neither here nor htere its theirs to take or not take

          • I will be 66 in July of 2017 and I plan to continue working full time at $60,000/yr for at least another few years. I want to start collecting SSI when reaching full retirement age. I plan on off setting this SSI payment by increasing the money I put into my 401K. I feel getting $2000 a month in SSI plus my salary for another few years far outweighs waiting to collect my SSI until I finally decide to retire. Is this a good plan?

        • You have a point here but, you do have to remember you have to take a required minimum distribution starting at 70 1/2 yrs of age from your retirement accounts. it is a % of your total retirement assets but you can not just leave it.

        • I have been collecting widow benefits of around $900.00 a month. I turned sixty six in January 2016. After NUMEROUS calls to SS,I was finally able to speak with someone to see if I waited longer for my own benefit I would receive a higher amount. I was told yes and I could prolong applyng for my benefits, I have been working part time in Real Estate and do to failing health, have hardly made any money this year but am still paying dues, expenses etc.
          The person I spoke with new I was collecting widow benefits but said nothing about loosing them if I prolonged my own benefits.
          Yesterday, I received a letter saying we paid you $6,432.40 for Jan 2016 -July 2016 which needs to be repaid as I was eligible for a higher benefit on another record. I am going to go to the SS office on Monday as I can’t get anyone on the phone.
          I was also sent a letter that I was not getting credit for earnings in 2014 according to their IRS records. I have a print out from IRS of my earnings but when I spoke to SS I was told to take it in when I applied for my benefits.
          I am just sick to my stomach over all of this.
          If I was told my widow benefits would stop if I didn’t take my own, I would have just went ahead with my own.
          I hope I can get some help to resolve this.

          • Hi Marcia. Unfortunately, your situation is a bit more complex than we can handle in this forum. For your security, we do not have access to information about your account in this venue. Our representatives at your local office should be able to review all of the information and help you resolve this issue soon. Thanks!

      • Hello Ray. My 72 yr old mother was denied SSI due to receiving $793 from SS, $60 above the threshold. She can barely walk w osteoperosis, has arthritis, and has had multiple heart surgeries. She actually wanted “disability” benefits but was told she was too old.

        • We are sorry to hear about your mother’s medical condition Rod. The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program is a needs based program that provides cash assistance to the elderly, disabled adults and children who have limited income and resources. In 2016, an individual’s monthly SSI benefit amount is $733.00 Also, disability benefits can only be paid to disabled individuals before they reach their full retirement age (currently 66). Your mother may be eligible to receive additional assistance from the state where she resides. These services include Medicaid, free meals, housekeeping help, transportation or help with other problems. You can get information about services in your area from your state or local social services office. You can also visit the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) web page for more information. We hope this information helps.

    • Go to work or tell your husband or wife to support you better or worse richer or poorer that’s the contract you signed

    • My husband is 65 years old and he is getting pension credit he i had kidney problem and he is in the witting least for kidney transplant what benefit he can get

      • Hi Parvaneh. We are sorry to hear about your husband’s situation. We may need to ask you or your husband more questions in order to provide you with the information you need at this time, and help you to obtain the help and assistance he needs. Unfortunately and because of security reasons, we do not have access to personal records in this blog. Please call us at 1-800-772-1213 between 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday. One of our representatives should be able to assist you and answer questions about this matter. Thanks.

        • I am 63. I draw widow’s benefits. He passed awat Nov 8 2014. The social security office said in December 2014 I would get two checks the first time,one for Nov andone for Dec 2014. I rec’d one for Dec only with a letter telling me I would get two at the end. End of what exactly? My life? When I have passed? How can I get the November money I was told I am entitled to. I am in dire need. This is not right. Thank you.

          • Hi Mary. Unfortunately, but for security reasons, we do not have access to personal records in this blog. Please continue working with your local office. You can request to speak with the manager to see how we can help to expedite resolution of your situation. If you are unable to visit the local office, you can call our toll free number at 1-800-772-1213, representatives are available Monday through Friday between 7:00a.m. and 7:00p.m. Generally, you will have a shorter wait time if you call later in the week. Thanks.

          • I had a conference call with social security last May,2016,
            to ask if I can take my survivor’s benefit from my deceased husband first, even if my own is higher. The answer was yes and I could let my own keep growing and switch over to it later. I am 62 and plan to retire when I am 63.

    • you need to see how much taxes are being taken out of your retirement is coming out from what type of fund I dont know if you have to pay taxes but you are making 1,000 dollars a month I am guessing with your retirement you will probly qualify for medicad and medicare as far as food stamps goes your expences they count for housing rent,energy,cell phone they have allowable housing expenses to a certain point but cut back on your expense like eating out and your retiremet will greatly increase stsrt useing credit cards thst give cash back with no minimum intrest charge a penny saved is literaly a penny earned

    • Thank you for your question Clara. For information about the food stamps program, also called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), you will need to contact your local SNAP office. The Supplemental Security Income or SSI is a program that pays benefits to disabled adult and children and the elderly with limited income and resources. Please read our publication about the SSI program for more information. We hope this information helps!

    • Unearned income such as your Social Security retirement income has a $20- income disregard. Figure your monthly income amount ($1560) and subtract $20. Then compare that amount of $1540 to the current SSI income limit which is about $731. You are well over the income limit for this program. SSI limits do vary somewhat from state to state. Further, SSI is only paid to individuals whose countable resources are valued at $2000 or less. It is doubtful that you would qualify for SNAP (food stamps) unless your shelter expenses are unusually high or if you are supporting other household members. Hope this helps. If in doubt, file an application.

  2. I have been receiving benefits since I turned 62. I applied at that time because of some health issues (not disability), just health issues. I am now 66 and in better health.
    Does this new law apply to me as well…the one about suspending payments before April 30th and waiting until age 70 to start receiving payments again? Will my benefits increase if I were to suspend my benefits for another 4 years?

  3. Why is everything in this country a frigging gamble?
    From which insurance plan ~ so there are more ways for the companies to get OUT of paying ~ to when you may retire. If you do this, then… If you choose that, then… Why don’t we just TAKE CARE of people, every single person like they do in other countries? Bernie is right!

    • But if Bernie has his way, who is going to pay for it? I think that the best way to do it is for everyone to open a retirement savings account, separate from SS, where you can have two or three sources of income when you retire. I am saying that you can draw pensions from SS, your separate retirement fund, and your company’s retirement plan. Many people have no sense of responsibility in managing their finances and then want the government (i.e., the taxpayers) to take care of them.

      • Joel; SS is NOT a Government entitlement ! I paid into SS for almost 60 years and will never get back what I paid in after Lyndon Johnson stole SS and put it into the GENERAL FUND for the Government to use as they wished !! It should have been LEFT ALONE and SS would have been solvent forever !!

        • Actually you get back what you put into Social Security in approximately the first 2 years of receiving benefits. Even if there are no changes to Social Security, you will probably receive all your benefits if you had been working for 60 years. If no changes are made to prolong Social Security funding, (raise full retirement age, raise limit of income taxed for Social Security, etc.) you will still receive 75% of your benefits starting sometime after 2030.

          • here’s a good idea: How about if you don’t pay into social security, you don’t get it. Let’s stop giving it away and allow those who’ve EARNED it, be able to use it.
            oh, wait, that’s not politically correct. Blah

          • When you say that we will get back everything paid in 2 years you are assuming that we would be stupid enough like the elected idiots to not invest the money. I have worked 40 plus years and guarantee that if I had the money paid into Social Security I could have invested it and pay myself what I will receive from the government when I begin to draw SS a lot longer than 2 years.

          • Nancy, your note that the first two years of SS benefits pays back about what one paid into SS is not valid. When we paid into SS there was a more nearly sound dollar. What we get back are promissory notes of very little value. If you figure the inflation rates and the interest rates that prevailed through the years, then you may figure that it takes about 6 to 8 years of benefits to repay the same value that has now accrued from your past, hard-earned working years.

          • So Rick one question to not paying anything to someone who hasn’t paid in.. You do know that women who were “just” wives and mothers don’t “pay “into the system?

        • Robert you will get all your money you paid into social security in 3-5 years. Do your home work look at your statement it shows what you paid in, divide that by your FRA payments AT 66, the math doesn’t lie.

          • Hi, I was divorced after a little more then 20 years of marriage. After a couple of years I was remarried and have been for a little less than 15 years. I am 61 years old and was hoping to retire in 2017. I spoke to an agent for SSA and she said I couldn’t collect a part of my husband’s SSA, but I could collect my ex-husbands, when he retires, (Something about Whose Birthday is first). If I collect my own it would only be $365 a month. If I want to receive part of my ex-husbands, I have to wait for my ex husband to retire before I can collect part of his. If I don’t wait for him to retire, I will not be able to collect part of his SSA. If I wait for him to reach retirement age, 62, I will be 66. If he doesn’t retire until he is 70, I will be 74. The man I am married to now has been retired since he was 62 years old. I asked the agent if I could collect mine and once my ex retires I can apply to get part of his SSA. The agent said I couldn’t. This new law isn’t helping me at all. I lost a great deal in my divorce, now the Federal Gov. is taking more from me.

          • Hi Linda. If you remarry, you generally cannot collect benefits on your former spouse’s record unless your later (or current) marriage ends. You may be eligible for Spouse’s Benefits at age 62 on your current husband’s record if he is receiving retirement or disability benefits. For further assistance, please call our toll-free number at 1-800-772-1213. Representatives are available between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., Monday through Friday. Generally, you will have a shorter waiting time if you call later during the week. Thank you.

      • Joel, I think you might want to watch the movie “The Big Short” I am surprised of your faith in the financial markets and banking institutions in this country. I do not want to solely depend on the market for my retirement income and since pensions are a rarity these days we are running out of ways to sufficiently provide a retirement income if social security is not viable. The greatest country on earth should be able to care of their elderly.

      • Joel – I think you are missing the point. In order to open two or three retirement accounts requires money. Money that most people don’t have. And not all companies have retirement plans. You can’t manage finances you don’t have!

      • Joel my husband of 45 years paid in for 50 years and collected 6 years before he died. I have paid into it for nearly 50 years and 1371 is not enough to go around . Medical treatments for diabetes and RA has taken my 401k and retirement I don’t want charity as I earned that and so did he. I got 255 when he died and even thought I have worked since 14 years old I won’t even get that as it is only paid once to a family. If congress can vote themselves a raise and benefits we can’t even compare with why shouldn’t SS give us a small raise to off set cost of living as everything is higher

      • Funny how social security is running out of money, but no one ever says anything about welfare running out of money!

      • Thanks Joel, well said. Yea, lets look at life in “other countries”, but which ones? Are we talking Europe or what? Because most of those “other countries” drive around in trucks picking up their dead who starved or died of disease on the side of the road and dumping them in deep ditches and covering them with scoop fulls of trash with a bulldozer. I know! I’ve seen it. Now there’s a retirement program huh?

    • Joan,
      I like Bernie on a personal basis, but cannot agree with his stance for socialism. One only has to look at the troubled socialized countries in Europe to realize this is the wrong path.
      Portugal, Italy, Greece, Spain, the list goes on and on. Unemployment in those countries is very high because their economies are in a prolonged recession.
      Contrarily, our country has succeeded primarily because of capitalism, where everyone has a chance to make a reasonable living, and are not so dependent on the government.
      I do not want to depend on our government for most of my health and retirement benefits. Why? Can you think of any more wasteful entity than our government? 18 TRILLION DOLLARS is the deficit! And it is rising! No business in the world could survive being as irresponsible as that!
      No, I would rather have the opportunity to take care of myself and my family in a capitalistic environment.
      I am not saying capitalism is perfect. There are some high-level crooks that should be thrown in jail. But what is perfect? Nothing on this earth. However, this is the best system, and fairest system, the world has ever known. This is why so many countries want to convert to a capitalistic system. It is also why so many people, legally and illegally, want to live here. We are free to do what we want. All of us could not even be writing on this blog in some countries. Be thankful that you can find what you are good at, and have the opportunity to build a business. No guarantees of course. But you are guaranteed that you can try to build another one!

      • Only the 1% can do what they want, and not have to worry about going to prison…
        Communism, socialism, and capitalism are just WORDS, which tend to evoke different emotional responses in different people.
        We don’t have a true capitalistic system here in America; we never had and never will, part of our system is very much socialism, and mostly just an extremely corrupt form of capitalism. In point of fact it is more of an oligarchy.
        Where are all these countries lining up to embrace capitalism?
        You obviously get your news directly from Pravda…

        • Agree. Why were there no arrests at ENRON, WORLDCOM and others?
          Why are there no arrests for the water fiasco in Flint Michigan?
          When we bailed out the car companies and Banks, the executives STILL got their contractual raises. I say give it to them and then let them rot in jail. That money could buy a lot of cigarettes for them.

      • Why not look at France , the UK and Canada. They are doing OK with their “socialism” and their governments are looking after the elderly and their people in general.

        • I have worked all my life. I had an injury tyat made me eligible for benefits at a very early age. I felt that I could suck it up another 40 years to let someone who needed SS more have it. We are all n this together, at least I thought so. I believe that the majority of us only want what we are entitled to. The Government needs to stop trying to weasel out of it’s obligations to the American people. It’s not socialism if I already paid for it. It seems strange to me that money can always be found to spend on wars, but not a cent for the Americans who sacrifice for them.

          • Wake up America! Canada has its faults big time. My cousin had to wait before she could get a colonoscopy, 6 months. They found cancer, and scheduled an operation, one year later. She ended up dying. My aunt was living with her partner for over 30 years. The partner, (female) got sick. When the Canadian gov. found out, they came in, took the partner and put her in a hospital and kick my aunt out of her home. America is the only country that is still free.

        • You are not looking closely enough at the countries you mentioned as their countries are not where I would want to be. My husband is a Brit and his family is still in UK. Not what YOU think it might be. The Canadians come to the US for healthcare needs because prices and wait times are ridiculous. Stop comparing the US to other countries and wishing we were they. If you think it is better sounds like you should be packing your bags. Trust me it would be the wrong choice.

        • Aida,
          France, Canada, and the UK? Really? Doing OK? What do you consider doing OK? Canadian citizens pay over 55% of their income for taxes to their socialized government and then watch family members deteriorate and/or die before they receive necessary critical health care because their socialized healthcare system frequently requires 3 or 4 months before they get an appointment to see a doctor. They barely have enough money left to live on never mind having enough left over to “buy-up” into the Que to see a doctor inside of 3 to 4 months. You should check your facts before you go spewing things you don’t know about.

      • Jon – Do you really believe that our capitalistic society is a success? If so, I would like to know where you are because you are definitely not looking out the same window I am! You must be very wealthy to have made the statements you made. People can’t build businesses when they are worried about paying their rent and feeding their children. Those needs are very immediate. Build a business? Step into the real world for a change.

  4. I am a surviving spouse, age 64. Can I draw reduced, pre-full retirement age benefits from my deceased spouse’s account (would I receive 50% of his benefit?) and allow my own account to increase at 8% per annum during my age 66+ to age 70, then switch over and draw at 100% from my own fully appreciated own account?

    • At the age of 64, you would receive 90.5 %o of your late husband’s full social security amount. There is a deduction for every month you are under 66 of 3.958% approximately. You can delay drawing from your account until 70, accrue 8% bonus each year. I am in the same boat as you are and this is how it worked for me.

    • Hi Dan. In many cases, a widow or widower can begin receiving one benefit at a reduced rate and then, at full retirement age, switch to the other benefit at an unreduced rate. If a person receives widow’s or widower’s benefits, and will qualify for a retirement benefit that’s more than their survivors benefit, he or she can switch to their own retirement benefit as early as age 62 or as late as age 70. Visit our “Social Security Benefit Amounts For The Surviving Spouse By Year Of Birth” web page for more information.

      • I am 65 years old, I need money and wanted to apply for ss. which is about $1300.00, my question is if I continue working how many percent tax do I have to pay and can I use that tax towards my SS retirement or losing it?

        • Thank you for your question, Shady. Everyone working in covered employment or self-employment regardless of age or eligibility for benefits must pay Social Security taxes. While working, the combined tax rate for Social Security and Medicare contributions for 2016 is 7.65% per employee. Generally, if you continue to work while receiving retirement benefits, your monthly benefit amount could increase. Each year, we review the records for all working Social Security recipients to see if additional earnings may increase monthly benefits. Also, some people have to pay federal income taxes on their Social Security benefits. This usually happens only if you have other substantial income (such as wages, self-employment, interest, dividends and other taxable income that must be reported on your tax return) in addition to your benefits. For further income tax questions, you will need to contact the IRS. Their toll-free number is 1-800-829-1040. We hope this information helps.

          • If I make $1800 a month from Social Security drawing at 64 and take $9000 year out of my IRA will I pay 10% bracket on the 9K or does that get added to my Social Security and I’m taxed on all of it? The calculator I found online still showed NO taxes on SS.
            I know deductions can change this, but with that aside I cannot understand what I am reading on the SS site about this. I feel it’s important to know cause I could be spending thousands in taxes a year that I can’t afford

          • Hi Sheree, for any income tax related questions, you will need to contact the IRS. Their toll-free number is 1-800-829-1040.

    • If your spouce was already collecting the day he passed on you are entitled to recive 100% of his SS or keep your which ever is largest. I know that sounds bad but we all have to live. Life goes on

  5. Joan is right. Nothing is easy for this country and not much is fair either. We pay taxes on our social security when we work, then when we collect, we again pay taxes on what SS pays us. To top that off, they claim there is no COLA because there was no inflation last year and we get the same pay as last year with no increase for the grocery bills, insurance bills, anything you purchase bills going up and up and up. This country is not supposed to have double taxation and yet those we elect continue to make millions of dollars and the poor retires that we are get no increase and have to struggle to get our bills paid this year with no increase. The senators and representatives and the president should all have to be paid much less and learn to live the way we seniors do, on a very limited budget. They are all greedy and only think of themselves. I hope they run out of money when they retire so they can feel how it feels to us who only have a limited income that won’t even pay for all that we need to live.

    • I have always said that all federal elected officials in Washington should be on their State’s payroll as state employees and not federal employees. After all, they supposedly work for us but when they get elected they somehow forget about us. This way, they are only entitled to the number of days of vacation that state employees get, the same retirement plan (right now, if they serve just one term they can retire at full salary and benefits), the same medical plan, etc. And, we need to put a term-limits amendment to the Constitution – Congresspeople can serve four two-years terms and Senators can serve two six-year terms, and the President can only serve one six-year term so they don’t spend have of their terms running for re-election with the taxpayers footing the bill.

      • I, too, have felt the frustration about the lawmakers who pad their pockets while continuously limiting our social security income .
        They have the power to reverse Johnson’s error of putting our Social Security money back into an exclusive account that which no others funds can be drawn. I thought that we were stuck with bad lawmakers.then I thought of the only power that do we have. Vote them out! Find the representatives that WILL work for us, and vote them in. I know they are out there somewhere!

      • Hey Joel,
        I agree with your point but UH, I’m pretty sure the President is allowed to serve two 4-year terms; NOT one 6-year term. Best to have your facts straight or you have no argument.

    • CJ- You are right ON !! Obama has denied 3 times since he has been in to give Seniors a cost of living increase ! The last one was based on GAS Prices ONLY and NOT on the INCREASE of Food,and everything else that went UP !! Clean OUT Washington as those FREE LOADERS care LESS of US !!

      • Obama doesn’t decide what the SSA cost of increase is or what it is based on! There is a cola law that sets the cola amount. Congress set the law amount years ago.
        It seems that everytime someone doesn’t like something happening, it’s automatically Obama’s fault!
        A more educated public would stop this nonsense.

        • Thank you Gloria! It seems that the most uninformed and bigoted people respond with their ignorance on these boards. The easier it gets in the Internet age to get correct information, the less it is done.

          • It is unfair to call people bigoted. Every President gets the blame for what is wrong. The President is the leader and could have proposed changes that would have included an increase in SS benefits. Instead a bipartisan bill was passed and signed by the President which restricted spousal benefits. They could have included and the President could have advocated for seniors at that time.

        • The Social Security Act specifies a formula for determining each COLA. According to the formula, COLAs are based on increases in the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W). CPI-Ws are calculated on a monthly basis by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

          A COLA effective for December of the current year is equal to the percentage increase (if any) in the average CPI-W for the third quarter of the current year over the average for the third quarter of the last year in which a COLA became effective. If there is an increase, it must be rounded to the nearest tenth of one percent. If there is no increase, or if the rounded increase is zero, there is no COLA.

      • The COLA for Social Security benefits, formerly called Automatic Cost of Living increases was started by congress in 1975. This COLA has changed over time by congress, and it is tied to the CPI.
        Paul Ryan and the Republican controlled congress changed the way the CPI is calculated, and that, in turn, changed how much or if SS beneficiaries will receive a COLA.
        The GOP took over both houses of congress… hence, no COLA for SS beneficiaries in 2010, 2011, and 2016.
        With the exception of these 3-years, SS beneficiaries have always enjoyed an increase each year.
        President Obama does not have anything to do with how the CPI is calculated or how the COLA for SS beneficiaries is determined.
        Thank your congressperson for that!

      • Contact Speaker Paul Ryan and your local Republican reps, they re-computed the Cola, as it’s their function, not the President’s; Please educate yourselves all who don’t understand how government laws and regulations are made.

    • And they are thinking of raiseing the starting wages to 15$ an hour really all I see is everything going up I guess some people don’t see this if they never go to a grocery store or stop and pay for there own gas. My husband had to go on disability 3 years ago it sure not what we intended he has workd hard 2/3 jobs all his life ( now 62) I drove a school bus and now all we can only get 28$ mo from SNAP who seem to think that every 3 moths we need a new interview theres another messed up entity but if ur jobless young and have a few kids u can get up to 500$ a mo. plus cash asstaince. This country needs to care for the people who have worked age 60 – 62 is long enough to work full time the longer you keep people working #1 the less chances they will collect there SS and pass on #2 By lessening the retirement age it gives younger people work

      • I thought that also, if you allow people who want to to retire, at least at the age of 62, you open up jobs. I can see getting less than at age 65 (not 67 or 70!), but give full retirement at age 65 even if you retire earlier! Let people work part time to supplement if they want without penalizing ss amount. Offer Medicare starting age 62. That way at least people can retire or partially retire or continue working and get a little break from paying into health benefits, their employer gets a break also if they continue to work, people have the option to work part time.

  6. I am 71 years of age now is social security in trouble after april 4/0316 ofr what is going to happen thhe next month

      • This question is regarding restricted application. The husband is already receiving SSA benefits. His wife, who will have a lower PIA on her own account, turns 65 later in 2016. Her full retirement age is 66. She plans to retire at 65. If she files for both her own and spousal benefits on her husband’s account, both will be reduced for age. Can she file and restrict her filing to either just her own account or to just spouse’s benefits on her husband’s account?

        • Hi Mary, thank you for your question. Section 831 of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015, made some changes to Social Security’s laws about claiming retirement and spousal benefits. Individuals born before January 2, 1954 that have already reached their full retirement age, can choose to receive only the spouse’s benefit and delay receiving your retirement benefit until a later date. If you qualify for benefits on your own record, we will pay that amount first. If the benefit on your spouse’s record is higher, you’ll get an additional amount on your spouse’s record so that the combination of benefits equals that higher amount. See our Retirement Planner: Benefits For You As A Spouse for more information.

          • That didn’t quite answer the question. Maybe I wasn’t clear. She was born in 1951 and will be turning 65 but her full retirement age is 66. Her husband is already receiving his SS on his own account. At age 65, can she restrict her application to receive only her own A benefits or only her own B benefits? In other words, is she allowed to restrict her application if she files at age 65 this year even though her full retirement age is 66?

          • Hi again Mary. The option to restrict an application extends only to individuals who have attained their full retirement age (currently 66). This option allows couples to start receiving spousal benefits at full retirement age, while letting their own retirement benefit accrue delayed retirement credits. If you are eligible for benefits both as a retired worker and as a spouse (or divorced spouse) in the first month you want your benefits to begin and are not yet full retirement age, you must apply for both benefits. By law, you will receive the higher of the two benefits. For more information, please see Retirement Planner: Benefits For You As A Spouse or contact us at 1-800-772-1213 Monday through Friday, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. for further assistance.

  7. So sad our government’s goal to get more money at the cost of those of us who now have to worry about losing our own hard earned benefits and not enjoy the years we have left to live and it’s all about more and more greed & money!!! It’s like suppressing or “milking” those who have less! Why don’t the millionaires and billionaires open their hearts and help secure S. S. For the low income elderly !People leave their money to the Arts, which is fine . How about for the hungry, the elderly, all the lives that struggle daily to survive !! If I were a billionaire I would donate housing, medical asst. ,food, to anyone that needs to survive, but can prove that they are drug -substance free, going to school, college, university’,have a job and a clean record !

    • Because they can do whatever they want with THEIR money and don’t
      care about the less fortunate people.
      Giving money to the Arts and superficial things makes them feel important.

  8. Why does it take so long to work on discrepancies in pay, when in my opinion these types of issues should be given priority? I’m not talking weeks, or even months waiting, I’m talking years, And while we wait, if it has been determined that a SS recipiant has received an overpayment, through no fault of their own, are they charged interest on the disputed amount?

  9. Hi, I was on SSI for two years and also received Medicaid and food stamps. When I turned 62 I decided to tak my 1,000 a month in Social Security. Because of that, my SSI discontinued as did my Medicaid. I do get Medicare as I am on dialysis and really do need the Medicaid to provide me with the extra payments Medicare does not pay my health care providers. I am still disabled, waiting for a kidney/liver transplant, but all of these convoluted rules makes it impossible to provide for my health care. Any suggestions??

    • buy supplemental insurance such as AARP or apply for Medicaid….you can get both Medicare and Medicaid at the same time as long as you qualify…..at 1,000 per month you should qualify…

      • Many GOP states have lowered the “income qualifications” to get Medicaid to almost zero; that means that if you receive gross income of over $500 a month, you are NOT eligible for Medicaid. Hence, although you may apply, and it is true that some people do qualify and receive both Medicare & Medicaid, each state is very, very different.

    • It sounds like you should still qualify for Medicaid and SNAP benefits based on your income if it is $1000/mo. Medicaid will pick up/pay the 20% of health care costs that Medicare(80%) does not pay. You did not mention if you have a Medicare supplement? Or how you pay for it? The American Kidney Fund helps kidney dialysis patients with the costs of paying their health insurance. Ask your renal social worker about this and also to have you reapply for Medicaid in your state.

    • Medicare enrollees who have limited income and resources may get help paying for their premiums and out-of-pocket medical expenses from Medicaid. Please call the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services at 1-800-633-4227 for more information.

  10. I am recently divorced after 25 years of marriage. We both turn 62 this year. My ex-husband just turned 62 and started to collect SS. I am currently working and will continue to do so until age 68, maybe 70. Am I entitled to his ss benefit now? And if so, can I hold off collecting mine until age 70 (which will be higher)? Or does the new law prevent this?

  11. I was married to my husband for 28 years. We divorced, he remarried, I did not. He is in very poor health, if he should pass before me could I draw off his social security? He receives almost twice as much as I do.

      • This is not accurate information. If you were married over 10 years and have not remarried, YOU WILL be allowed to collect on his benefits regardless if he remarries.

    • As far as I know, as long as you have been married to the guy over 10-years, you should be able to get his SS benefits; how much depends in part on your age.
      I would really encourage you to discuss this with an “official SSA” representative.

    • Wrong, check with the SSA office. Don’t look for advice from laypeople. You were married over 10 years. As long as you don’t remarry before age 60 you can draw surviving divorced spouses benefits. If under 60 and disabled check with your local office.

    • See Jon’s response, he is correct, not Lou. The Law is: If you were married ten or more years, are age 62, or disabled, you are entitled to a divorced spouse benefit. That entitlement has some exceptions but his remarriage is not one of them. If you are considering it, yours could be, and that too has exceptions based on your age, among other things. You may collect a spousal benefit if you are at least 60, if ex spouse is deceased, whether or not he also remarried. In some cases both Ex and widows may collect. SSA has all the rules on their website. Look them up or call them.

    • check with your local SS office as my sister-in-law collected on her ex husband when he died and so did his present wife.

  12. I can’t figure out what happens if I quit working at 62 and then just don’t draw any SS until I turn 65. Do they base my income with a bunch of zero earnings for the years between 62 and 65? They are saying to hold off drawing SS as long as possible. It seems that the 3 years of zero income from working would drastically lower the SS.

    • Just do the math….its that simple….Im retiring at age 62 because waiting I lose that 3 years of benefits or more and the difference of collecting at an older age just doesnt add up and what if I die?

      • I agree with you. My dad died un-expectantly 3 years after retiring at age 66 1/2. All those years of working and the money goes back into the pot.

    • Yes and no. If you are 62 now, your full retirement age is 66, not 65, so it’s 4 years, not three. SS is based on your top 35 years of earnings. If you’ve worked more than that, those zeros won’t count for much. You can hold off on collecting until 66 or even 70, and it will grow due to the yearly increment which is like “interest” that accrues. But, not collecting that long means you’d have to live to at least to 86 to make up for not collecting SS at 62. If you’re not healthy, it’s a bad deal. If you are and have other income, go as long as you want. Sign on to the ssa.gov website, register and get your estimate. Otherwise make an appointment to visit a local office with all your ID and documents and they’ll give you an estimate for your different scenarios. Be sure to do so before April 30.

    • Hi Ronie, you may find our “Early or Late Retirement Calculator” helpful. For retirement benefits, we use the individual’s highest 35 years of earnings to compute monthly benefit amount. Yes, you can start receiving retirement benefits as early as age 62, but if you decide to get benefits before your full retirement age, they will be reduced. In the other hand, starting to receive benefits after normal retirement age may result in larger benefits. Happy planning!

  13. I’m 77 and still work five days a week. I’ve been on SS since age 62. When I retire, will my benefit check change?

    Thanks.

    • Good question Mr. Ellingson. Any wages you earn after signing up for Social Security may increase your overall average earnings, and your benefit probably will increase. Each year, we review the records for all working Social Security recipients to see if additional earnings may increase monthly benefits. If an increase is due, a new monthly benefit amount is established on your record automatically. We notify individuals about any changes in their benefits. See “What happens if I work and get Social Security benefits” for more information.

  14. How about everyone that gets social security get at least one hundred dollars in SNAP since some of us barely make it with what we now get from social security. Why reward just those that keep having children? I know social security has nothing to do with SNAP, but they could easily add that money to our pensions.

    • there are on SocialSecurity.gov…..or simply call and they will do the math for you and tell you on the phone the advantages and disadvantages of retiring at each age….in most situations waiting for 65 or 70 doesnt benefit the recipient compared to the 3 or 8 years of lost benefits….you have to take into consideration your health and your realistic opinion of how long you may live….they are great about helping you over the phone…just prepare a list of questions and call……..good luck

  15. The link you provided (Retirement Planner: Recent Social Security Changes) states under “Who will be affected?” that the new law applies to individuals who request a suspension on or after April 30 2016. I will be 66 on May 1, 2016 and according to Social Security rules I am full retirement age for the full month of April. For example, if I begin benefits with April I will received an unreduced benefit. Therefore I can request my benefits be suspended before April 30, 2016 because they are suspended April 1st. My local Social Security office is telling me I cannot suspend under the old law because I cannot request suspension until April 30th. Can you please explain? Thank you.

    • You are right Jim, for Social Security benefits, if you were born May 1st, we figure your benefit (and your full retirement age) as if your birthday was in the previous month of April. Under the new law, you can still voluntarily suspend benefit payments at your full retirement age (currently 66) in order to earn higher benefits for delaying. But during a voluntary suspension, other benefits payable on your record, such as benefits to your spouse, are also suspended. Refer to the section “Voluntary Suspension of Benefits (also called “File and Suspend”) in the Retirement Planner: Recent Social Security Claiming Changes link. Please continue working with your local office as we continue to implement these changes diligently for the benefit of individuals affected by the new law. Thanks!

  16. Is there an unknown thing about Social Security helping with children & grandchildrens college expenses that is going to expire soon? I seen the headlines but didn’t read it, so could you explain, please.

  17. What most reader here don’t understand is: SS was NOT meant to live on. It was a saving, supplement only. Deal with what you did.
    Two: True our government sold us out when they raided SS and put it to their use. Crooks period.
    Our government is so crooked and so big and without checks and balances period, it will be very hard to come clean & honest period.
    Our gov.: they control us NOW with credit cards, cell phones, your SS number, bank #s, it is out of control.

    • Thank you! My God I wondered if anyone would mention that….ITS NOT MEANT TO LIVE ON……and btw next time you have a sec and pissed about welfare recipients…….
      check out baby formula…20,30,40.00 and that won’t last a week…. diapers..wow ….ITS NOT MADE TO LIVE ON EITHER..
      Im not being cruel….just being real……
      The government is more like a burglar than our rich daddy….
      Honestly ….our government has made us dependant, angry, elderly people…..We’re thinking families get too much help…. families thinking wtf they had all their life to do something. Just about everyone mad at the rich guy…..ya know what?
      I’m not going to be a victim (if I can help it)
      CONGRATULATIONS RICH GUY spend it as you wish.
      ..idk if it came to him easy or if he clawed his way there….but he made good .
      I’m not going to feel entitled to anything but death…..wether your a believer or not deaths the resting from work here because no one ever said we got 20-30 however at retirement of shear bliss….only more of the crap..
      I could point fingers but truth is we are adults …. responsible for learning early and planning or acceptance of limited choices.( You still have a voice ) Jezz though the dang thing was meant to help not cover it all…..we fooled ourselves with that thought….
      Keep yelling someone needs to help…that would be nice,,,,,but I need no one to blame…. when I was young I had more important things on my mind than retirement. Once you admit that you start finding help from all kinds of places……
      No one owes me a dang thing just for being old…We should do for others and stop saying a country should take care of its old …..Bull pucky I DIDNT CHANGE A DIRTY BUTT OR ROCK AND FEED THIS CONTRY….I DIDNT WALK THE FLOORS WITH WORRY THAT ID NEVER SEE THIS COUNTRY……
      …I had 3 snot nosed cooky crublers AND NOT SPOILED Caring kids…they can fight over who has the “honor “of momma living with them….or they can bag me up like potatoes and shuffle me between the three
      I know how to get my SNAP . ….ILL GROW MY DAMN OWN AND UNCLE SAM CAN KISS MY RED WHITE AND BLUE BUTT…..OLD AINT A DISEASE AND I HOPE I DROP OVER TENDING MY GARDEN NOT CRYING OVER STOLEN MONEY OR SOMEONE ELSES GOOD FORTUNE….
      THANK YOU FOR SAYING WHAT ITS NOT MEANT FOR…..ALL THE BUTTS, BECAUSE, I NEEDS…AND ITS NOT RIGHT JUST MAKES BITTERNESS…..AND NOT ONE WANTS to really HELP someone bitter.

  18. To Jim:
    Most people at your local SS office are still being trained and don’t understand the rules well. File BEFORE April 30, or you lose the right to file, and tell them you are filing for yours and suspending. Put it in writing. Then immediately ask to suspend collection of benefits for yourself but it gives your spouse (or former spouse of at least ten years), the right to qualify for a spousal benefit based on your benefits, her age, her employment or disability.

  19. I will be 60 in april. I was married for 22 years and got divorced. He has never remarried and will not. I am planning on retiring when I am 61 from my current job. I am trying to figure if I can draw off his soc security at age 62 or if something happens to him, god forbid, can I draw sooner and what would my penalty be? I understand that I can no longer draw his and then switch to mine later when it would be more. Is this also correct.

    • Thank you for contacting us Kelly. Under existing law, if you are eligible for benefits both as a retired worker and as a divorced spouse in the first month you want your benefits to begin and are not yet full retirement age, you must apply for both benefits. You will receive the higher of the two benefits. This requirement is called “deemed filing” because when you apply for one benefit you are “deemed” to have also applied for the other. Under the new law deemed filing is extended to apply to those at full retirement age and beyond.
      If you turn 62 on or after January 2, 2016, and will be eligible for benefits both as a retired worker and as a divorced spouse, then the new law applies to you. Deemed filing applies to retirement benefits, not to survivor’s benefits. So, if you are a widow or a Surviving Divorced Spouse, you may start your survivor benefit independently of your retirement benefit if you restrict the scope of your application. We hope this information helps !

  20. I’m 57 – Can I collect on my deceased spouses SS when I turn 60? (we were married 13 years). If so can I than collect my own SS when I turn 67? Will my benefits (at 67) be reduced by doing this?

    • Thank you for your question Kathy. Widows or Widowers of persons who worked long enough under Social Security are eligible for benefits at age 60 (age 50 if disabled). If a person receives widow’s or widower’s benefits, and qualifies for a retirement benefit that is more than their survivors benefit, he or she can switch to their own retirement benefit as early as age 62 or as late as age 70. Please see the “Social Security Benefit Amounts For The Surviving Spouse By Year Of Birth” web page to find out how much the benefit will be reduced if someone begins receiving survivors benefits between age 60 and full retirement age.

  21. What I would like to know is why congress has indexed most of the tax code to inflation, but has never indexed the limits on SS (25,000 single, 32,000) married. It seems to me that the government has found a windfall from retires by not indexing SS limits for inflation.

  22. It appears that since I have had the misfortune of being born in spring of 1954, my husband and I must change retirement plans. I was going to claim my reduced amount at 62 and then switch to spousal at 66. Husband is 70 and still working even after heart/surgery/ issue. Lost home and retirement in the financial crisis…Backed of from full time work to raise grandson and care for parents. Millions of women like myself in the same situation due to mistake of “birth”. And you call this a loophole? Unfair?….How insulting to caretakers (and to women at large )who have worked very hard and whose family situations have necessitated these choices. Back to work with prayers that we now can make the goal that is further down the road due to back room deals.

    • Congratulations Shirley! For retirement benefits, we use the individual’s highest 35 years of earnings to compute monthly benefit amount. You can start receiving retirement benefits as early as age 62, but if you decide to get benefits before your full retirement age, they will be reduced. The best way to start planning for your future is by creating a my Social Security account online. With my Social Security, you can verify your earnings, get your Social Security Statement, and much more. Also, we have a variety of benefit-calculators to help you plan for the future. Hope this helps!

  23. People claim SSI benefits for financial disability as well as medical disability. My concern is when household income is $0.00 and prevents future jobs from being obtained, financial disability is determined. How do 30-40 year old people file and receive non medical financial disability and what should they look for as far as penalties comparable to early retirement?

  24. I am one confused retiree….I started drawing at 62 and did not have the information explained well enough to understand that i would be penalized..so i suspended my draw..However, now I was going to be quitting a job to move to another state to assist my 90 yr old mother, of which i started drawing again and things changed that now at age 64 about to turn 65 in june…I simply do not know what to do, if i should suspend it again since I am continuing to work .. and when could i start officially draw again…can anyone shed light

    • Hi Missy, you can get Social Security retirement benefits and work at the same time. There are some restrictions as to how much you can make, depending in your age. See “What happens if I work and get Social Security retirement benefits” and read our publication How Work Affects Your Benefits for more information. For specific questions about your situation, please contact your local office or you can also call our toll free number at 1-800-772-1213. Representatives are available Monday through Friday between 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. Generally, you’ll have a shorter wait time if you call later in the week. Thanks!

    • one of the biggest mistakes that I made was to retire at 64+ still working but my benefits are so small I cam never live on $500. a month they are giving me ,was never told that it would have reduce it to nothing it I applied early,never knew ,would have listened and could have waited,some of those workers in ss tells you nothing at all just lets you run like a lamb to the slaughter.

      • Thank you for your comment Koreen. The decision on when to file is a personal one. However, there are many factors that go into deciding when to apply and start receiving benefits on your own record. If a person begins to receive benefits at age 62 or prior to their full retirement age, their benefits are reduced. The reduction factors are permanently applied to all of the benefits the person may qualify for. In the other hand, if you delay getting your benefit up until age 70, you will earn Delayed Retirement Credits. We continue to provide tools to help individuals plan for their retirement; you can estimate the amount of your own benefit using our online calculators. You can also create a my Social Security account to verify your earnings, and get a copy of your Social Security Statement. For general information about our programs and services visit us at https://www.ssa.gov/.

  25. Just turned 63 and still working. I have guardianship of my two grandchildren ages 7 and 10. When I retire will they receive any benefits.?

    • Thank you for your question Linda. Under current law, Social Security can only pay benefits to grandchildren if certain conditions are met. Generally, the biological parents of the child must be deceased or disabled, or the grandchild must be legally adopted by the grandparent. See “Benefits For Grandchildren” for more information.

  26. My monthly social security pension check nearly always was in my bank account by the 3rd of the month. This month of March it never arrived. I live in Australia and tried to find the answer to my problem by calling the help line number 1 800 772 1213. I was told that a certain former that was mailed to me was never returned…Hensel my pension was suspended. On further investigation, I discovered that my change of address had not been registered with SS and consequently the ketter/for that I was supposed to receive never got to me. I requested a copy of the form but was told I should contact the foreign US embassy in Manila. After several calls to an automated receptionist, I was told the number of calls being serviced at the time required a wait of some time…and that I should ,when asked, state my name and ss# plus contact phone number and that I
    would be contacted within 3 working days. I think the former I require is called REPORT TO THE US SS ADMINISTRATION.
    HOW CAN I GET THIS FORM SO THAT I CAN FILL IT OUT AND RETURN IT. Can it be sent to me via my email address?

    • Hi John, we have some forms available in our website. However, in your situation you should still contact the U.S. Embassy in Manila, which services the area where you are living. This link includes the U.S. Embassy email address. Also, our Office of International Operations home page provides more information to assist our customers living abroad. We hope this information helps!

  27. If my husband is retired and drawing SS and I am 63 years old in May 2016, can I draw my spousal benefit at FRA of 66 and wait to draw my own until 70? And what is my spousal benefit?

    • Hi Dee, thank you for your question. Section 831 of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015, made some changes to Social Security’s laws about claiming retirement and spousal benefits. Individuals born before January 2, 1954 that have already reached their full retirement age, can choose to receive only the spouse’s benefit and delay receiving your retirement benefit until a later date. If you qualify for benefits on your own record, we will pay that amount first. If the benefit on your spouse’s record is higher, you’ll get an additional amount on your spouse’s record so that the combination of benefits equals that higher amount. See our Retirement Planner: Benefits For You As A Spouse for more information.

  28. I would like to know if I’m entitled to more Social Security benefits, before the new law H.R.1314 takes effect May 1, 2016. I’m on social security at the present . My question is, I worked for the Federal Government for 25 yrs . and while working for the Federal Government I also worked for a private company and paid into social security over 40 yrs. This is why I’m asking if I am entitled to more money under this new law?
    Thank you,
    John A

    • Hi John. The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015, made some changes to Social Security’s laws about claiming retirement and spousal benefits. Section 831 of the law (entitled “Closure of Unintended Loopholes”) made several changes to the Social Security Act and closed two complex loopholes that were used primarily by married couples. Our Retirement Planner: Recent Social Security Claiming Changes explains what is changing and how it might affect you. If you still have questions, or need further assistance, you should call our toll-free number at 1-800-772-1213. Representatives are available between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., Monday through Friday but you will generally have a shorter wait time if you call later in the week. Thanks!

  29. Yi Yi Yi This particular blog is a mess with many incorrect responses! The responses you should pay attention to are the ones with the Social Security logo alongside the name… in this blog Ray Fernandez, Public Affairs. How do I know this? Because I retired from SSA after 22 years where I strove to provide excellent customer service and correct info on the benefits. You can also contact the SSA 800# at 1-800-772-1213 (hours 7 am to 7 pm your time) or your local office. If you are unsatisfied with a response you believe is incorrect or you don’t understand please ask to speak to a supervisor. I was taught to provide world class service and some of the comments I see on here now and then are not only mind boggling but sometimes rude as well as incorrect. Good luck to all of you and Ray you are doing a great job providing them with references to help them find the correct answers to their questions.

    • Thank you for your comment and kind words Chris, and for reminding our followers that our official agency responses are tagged with our SSA seal. We hope you are enjoying your retirement. Take care.

  30. If you qualify for SSI at age 65, then can you collect SSI at age 65 and hold off on collecting Social Security retirement until the age of 70.

    • Hi Tony. Social Security has strict guidelines that apply to individuals receiving benefits under the Supplemental Security Income or SSI program. First of all, SSI beneficiaries are required to report their income or resources available to them. If an SSI recipient is insured and qualifies on his or her own record for their own retirement benefit, they are required to apply at age 62. Failure to apply for additional benefits will result in suspension or termination of their SSI benefits. We hope this information is helpful.

  31. In 2013 my 97 year-old stepfather’s accountant filed his return without deducting his healthcare expenses. As a result, his income was shown to be too high. Social Security reduced his monthly payment accordingly because of his income. I filed an amended return, showing his actual income for 2013 and sent a copy to Social Security, asking that my stepfather’s benefits be restored to their appropriate amount. I am the administrator of his estate and have full power of attorney to handle all of his affairs. The Social Security Administration finally answered my first letter after several months and denied reinstatement of his full benefits as they were still referring to the original 2013 1040 and not the amended 2013 1040 return. For years 2014, 2015 and now 2016, the SSA continues to use his same income without considering the amended return. Who do I need to talk to to get his full benefits reinstated and file for the benefits he has been shorted these past few years?

    • Hi Elizabeth, we apologize for the delay and the inconvenience. Since it sounds like your stepfather has trouble managing his Social Security account, you may be interested in applying to become your stepfather’s representative payee. Please note that having a power of attorney, being an authorized representative, or having a joint bank account with the beneficiary, is not the same as being a payee. These arrangements do not give you legal authority to negotiate and manage payments for someone receiving Social Security or SSI payments. You must apply for and be appointed as a representative payee by SSA.
      If approved to serve as your stepfather’s representative payee, it will make it easier for you in the future to update account information for him. It would be helpful to obtain a statement from his doctor. The statement should say that your stepfather is not able -mentally and physically- to take care of himself and that you are the person responsible to keep his finances in order. We understand how inconvenient this may be for you, but hope you understand our role in protecting everyone’s personal information.
      Please read our publication: A Guide For Representative Payees. If you have specific questions, or to make an appointment, please call 1-800-772-1213 between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. to speak to one of our representatives. Or you can contact your local Social Security office. Thanks.

  32. Why are they only singling out married couples? There really other reason why social security is going broke. In our statement it tell us how much we will receive if we become disabled, survival benefits, and retirement benefits.

    No where on the statement does it mention auxiliary benefits. I can’t even find it in the Code of Federal Regulations. Where in the law does it entitle people to auxiliary payment? It should be posted in our statement for people to see. You are just giving it to people who knows about the loophole.

    The only mention of auxiliary benefits is in your handbook.
    https://www.ssa.gov/OP_Home%2Fhandbook/handbook.05/handbook-0501.html

  33. I reached FRA (66) in Oct 2015. In Jan 2016 I called to file & suspend. Pls confirm that my benefit amount still increases each month, e.g. if I start collecting SS at age 68, I earn more than if I start at age 67. A recent rep told me no increase b4 I turn 70. File & Suspend doesn’t kill delayed income credits. Does it?

    • Hi Carolyn, Social Security retirement benefits are increased by a certain percentage if you delay your retirement beyond full retirement age. You earn delayed retirement credits automatically when and if you delay getting your benefit up until age 70. Delayed retirement credits increase your monthly benefit. Most people age 65 or older are eligible for free Medicare Hospital Insurance (Part A). As a reminder, you can sign up for Medicare only online when you delay your retirement benefits. Thanks!

  34. Mr. Fernandez…I reached FRA(66) in Nov 2015. I now want to file for and suspend my SS benefit prior to the April 30, 2016 deadline to preserve my spouse’s ability to receive her spousal benefit at her age 66 (May 2017). I do not plan to receive my SS benefit until my age 70 assuming continued good health. Do I file on line, get my determination and then suspend or can I file my application on line and then immediately call/email SSA that I want to suspend my benefits? Thank you for your response.

    • Thank you for your question Bob. Please contact your local Social Security office directly, or call us at 1-800-772-1213 Monday to Friday Between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. and ask a representative to help you. Even setting up an appointment weeks in the future will establish a protective filing date. In some situations, we will honor requests received before April 30, 2016, that we are unable to process until after April 30, 2016. For example, there could be a situation where you are already full retirement age, and you contact us to apply for benefits before April 30, 2016, expressing your intent to apply for, and suspend, your benefits. If we cannot take your application until June 2016, we will honor the request for voluntary suspension that we received before April 30, 2016.

  35. I am 59 and a widow. I lost my husband two years ago at age 65. I understand that I am eligible to collect under his benefits at age 60. If I decided to collect now (age 60), is there an income limit, or do I need to pay back 2 dollars for every 3 I earn?

    • You’re correct Mary, a widow of a person who worked long enough under Social Security can receive reduced benefits as early as age 60. (age 50 or over if you are disabled). Also, if you work and receive Social Security benefits and make more than the yearly earnings limit, we will reduce your benefit. If you’re younger than full retirement age, we deduct $1 in benefits for each $2 in earnings you have above the annual limit ($15,720 in 2016). Visit our Retirement Planner: Getting Benefits While Working, and read our publication: How Work Affects Your Benefits for more information.

  36. I applied for SS in Dec 2015, birth date is Jan 2016 to meet 62 years old. I got no response after I did my application online. Who do I contact? I misplaced my online information to go back online to get my update.

    • Hi Audrey, if you are unable to check the status of your application online, please call us at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778), Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.; or contact your local Social Security office for assistance.

  37. I will be 67 this July. I filed and suspended last July. My wife will turn 66 this July. Can she file for spousal benefits in July from me? It is unclear if the new laws going into effect May 1 will negate her ability too file for the spousal benefit.

  38. Can a single person suspend their benefits? I remember seeing in a federal retirement website that you can. Also, I thought your monthly benefit is locked in at the age (my full retirement age which I am) you file. Can you receive the highly monthly (as if filing at age 70 for the first time) benefit by suspending until age 70? One more question; if you continue to work, can you earn credits on your account while it is in suspension? I thank you for your answers.

    • Yes Albert, you will still be able to file and suspend your benefits in order to earn delayed retirement credits. Also, for Retirement Benefits, we use the highest 35 years of earnings to compute an individual’s benefit amount, and your monthly benefit amount is established at the time you applied for retirement benefits. It is based on the amount of your average lifetime earnings and your age at the time you apply. If you work while you receive Social Security retirement (or survivors) benefits, you could get a higher benefit in the future. Please visit our Retirement Planner: Getting Benefits While Working, and read our publication: How Work Affects Your Benefits for more information.

  39. I had an accident 7 years ago, and was married at the time. No one ever suggested that i apply for SSDI. Then my ‘husband’ and I divorced after 25 years of marriage. It was at that time I was told i was ‘out of range’ for being able to get SSDI. Yes, i went thru the 3 hearings…… i was within 5 months of being eligible for SSDI. So NO SSDI.

    I turn 62 in April. I am fine for income until i am 65 and even at that from what i see I do not want to apply until 67 or so, due to more funds being available.

    I will turn 62 in April of 2016. My ex will not turn 62 until 2025. Due to this new ‘law’ that was passed in the middle of the night, just like obamacare………how does this effect my receiving spousal ss? I was the one that supported us for 15 years……….

    • Hi Allene, you may be able to get spouse’s retirement benefits if you are at least 62 years of age and your spouse is receiving retirement or disability benefits. If you qualify for benefits on your own record, we will pay that amount first. If the benefit on your spouse’s record is higher, you’ll get an additional amount on your spouse’s record so that the combination of benefits equals that higher amount. While early retirement reduces benefits, delaying your benefits beyond your full retirement age up to age 70 can earn you delayed retirement credits, which increases your monthly benefit amount. Click here to compute the effect of early or delayed retirement.
      See “What do the Recent Social Security Claiming Changes Mean for Me” for more information on the new law.

  40. Here is my question. I am 68 and receive SS benefits as of 2014 when I retired. I live overseas and my wife is Belgian. She is 11 yrs younger than me. She has a handicap and receives aproxiamtely $12000 per year from the Belgian multual (Euro conversion). At what age will she be able to apply for SS benefits? Is it 66 for her also. I know she will normally receive 1/2 of what I receive once she is eligible. I had also read somewhere that there is some sort of government issued card (used liek a credit card) in which benefits could be deposited. . If is that true, could you provide a site where to find that information? Thanking you in advance for your time and assistance? Harry

    • Thank you for using our blog to contact us Harry. Generally, spouse’s benefits begin at age 62. The spousal benefit can be as much as half of the worker’s primary insured amount at his or her full retirement age. See our International Programs web page to find specific information about how Social Security benefits could be affected while living outside the United States.
      Direct Express is a prepaid debit card not available for beneficiaries living outside the United States. When you live outside the United States, you can choose to have your benefits sent electronically to a bank or financial institution in the United States or any country that has an international direct deposit agreement with the United States. You can contact your local U.S. embassy or consulate for any assistance related to your Social Security benefits. Also, our Office of International Operations home page provides more information to assist our customers living abroad. We hope this information helps!

  41. Why is it that a divorce spouse have the right to draw your social security after you have been divorce for over 25 years?

  42. Can anyone explain why I continually attempt to create a account on this Site and I get absolutely have had no luck. I need to set up direct deposit and also get a replacement for a lost ck

    • Hi Denise, please call 1-800-772-1213 for assistance. After you hear “Briefly tell me why you are calling,” say “Help Desk” for help with a my Social Security account. Also, you can call your local Social Security office directly and explain your situation. Thanks!

  43. Is it possible for someone who has been receiving disability benefits (SSDI) to stop payments and postpone to age 70 the switch to retirement benefits that would normally occur at age 66? Or does having received payments prior to retirement age take away the option for increased retirement benefits by suspending payments for up to four years?

    • Thank you for your question. When you reach your full retirement age, we will automatically convert your disability benefits to retirement benefits, but the amount remains the same. Starting the month you reach retirement age, you will get benefits with no limit on your earnings.

      • Yes, I knew that. But at that point, instead of automatically converting, can the beneficiary suspend retirement benefits to age 70 and then get a greater amount at the later age?

        • In other words, does someone who has been receiving SSDI have the option, upon reaching FRA, to delay retirement benefits to age 70?

  44. I am 66 and currently receiving off my deceased husbands disability records which is higher than my own earning would have been when I retired at age 55. I also have an ex -spouse who just started drawing his ss last year when he turned 65. I am confused about what I should be doing before april 30th to maximize my earnings or safeguard my future options..My own record will never be more than what I now get ($1200 now compared to my $900 on my record)..and even waiting til im 70 probably would make a difference there. My living ex-spouse has retired at 65 so I assume his earnings are capped at the $1900 he is drawing and the benefit to claiming on his record (half of $1900) is non-existant….are there any circumstances that could make it beneficial for me to switch to his record in the future, and would I even be able to do that later since i’m on my deceased spouses record now? Does his earnings as far as what I would receive continue to grow depending on when I choose to file for them? .what if he dies? would I benefit from switching then, and could I even do that at a later time from my deceased spouses record?

  45. what if I retire from teacher’s retirement system and then 2 years later, when I am 65 retire from social security(i will have 35 years of SS earning by then), will I be hurt by the windfall elimination?

    • I worked 19 years for The County and I received an small pension .My spouse is retired from SS. I applied for benefits and They denied they say my pension is higher than the amount I could received for my husband benefits. I retired in April 2004 I did not signed a form that all County’s employees suppose to sign that let then know that SS is going to affect this form is given if the employee start with the County after April 2004.This is regarding the Off-Set low. I I started February 1986 and They never give any form to sign that SS benefits is going to be affect.

  46. I’ve seen info on turning 66 and 62 in 2015 but what if a couple turns 65 and 62 before April 30, 2016. Can the primary one file and suspend and the 62 file under his or are we both 1 yr to young to lock in this benefit?

  47. I have always wondered ad maybe you can help me get an answer, of why can’t I receive my Social Security payments anytime I want since the money was taken out of my paychecks to begin with and it is my money?

  48. My husband died at age 59. I have been claiming his Social Security Benefits since his death. I had planned to wait to collect mine at age 70, & was told I could do this. Recently, I was told that as of April 1st, (30th?) I will need to claim my own SS benefits, since I just turned 66. I’m having difficulty finding specific information on this & our local office is closed this afternoon.

    • Hi Deanna, you may be referring to Section 831 of the Bipartisan Budget Act (BBA) which eliminates aggressive claiming loopholes related to “deemed” filing and voluntary suspension of benefits. This new law applies to individuals who request a suspension on or after April 30, 2016. See “What do the Recent Social Security Claiming Changes Mean for Me” for more information. If you have additional questions, please call our toll free number at 1-800-772-1213 for further assistance. Representatives are available Monday through Friday between 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m.

  49. The FAQ vaguely says “If you are married and file a separate return, you probably will have to pay taxes on your benefits.”. So I found the following assertion in another publication:
    “An older spouse might be retired receiving SS based on his own work/earnings record, while the younger continues employment & receives no SS benefit. In this case, even tho they file a joint return, the younger spouse’s earnings would not be included in the older spouse’s earnings test.” Does this mean – in my case – that my SS benefit won’t be taxed at all if:
    1. I will be at or beyond FRA when I start collecting in late 2016 or early 2017
    2. My SS benefit will be under $20K (with no other taxable income of my own)
    3. My husband has not reached FRA & continues to work. Does it matter what his income is?
    Also, if this is the case for the next 8 years or so, do you advise or does it matter whether we file joint or separately? It seems clear that my tax would be $0 if I were single. Same if married –or no?
    Any links that explain how much of my income (e.g. 0%, 50%, 85%) would be taxed would be appreciated. I value your advice.

    • Hi Carolyn, thank you for your questions. Everyone working in covered employment or self-employment, regardless of age or eligibility for benefits, must pay Social Security taxes. Also, you will have to pay Federal taxes on your Social Security benefits if you file a Federal tax return as an individual and your total income is more than $25,000. For further income tax questions, you will need to contact the IRS. Their toll-free number is 1-800-829-1040 or you can visit the IRS website. We hope this information is helpful.

  50. Question: If I was married for over 10 years and then divorced but remarried at 57 and then divorced again, will I be able to receive death benefits for my frst husband’s SS when he passes away?
    I am presently 67 and drawing spousal benefits. I don’t plan to draw my benefits until I am 70 in about 2 and a half years; however, if my first husband should pass away, I would want to draw his benefits as a widow. Again, I am presently not married.

    • Good question, Sharon. You are eligible to receive survivors benefits from your first spouse’s record because your second marriage has ended and you are currently not married. In order to receive these benefits, you must have been married to the deceased worker for 10 years or more and are currently unmarried. For further information on Divorced Spouse Survivors benefits, please visit our Survivors Planner: If You’re The Worker’s Surviving Divorced Spouse. We hope this information is helpful.

  51. My husband is 68 and will file for SS benefits when he turns 70. I turned 62 October 2015. Our plan is for me to apply for spousal benefits at my FRA using a restricted application and then take my own benefit at 70. He will be on SS when I apply for spousal benefits. Does he need to file and suspend before April 30, 2016 to keep the spousal benefit option available for me? Thank you.

  52. I AM 71 AND MY WIFE US 67 WE ARE BOTH ON SOCIAL SECURITY,IF I PASS AWAY WILL MY WIF BE ABLE TO GET SURVIVER BENEFIT
    FROM MY SOCIAL SECURITY

  53. Hi,
    I turned 62 on Jan. 1, 2016. I’m receiving retirement benefits. My wife is age 58, still working. Based on new
    laws made by Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 for claiming
    retirement benefits, am I qualified/or eligible to apply for
    Deemed Filing ?

  54. I began collecting SS @ 62 due to health issues. My wife is still employed and wants to work until she reaches 66. Can she suspend at that time and draw on my survivor benefits until she reaches 70?

  55. I retired age 49 in 2009 planning on using ss when I reach 62 unless cola has supplemented me enough.
    do I need to do anything. pension is about $3000 month.
    wife left at same time but is 8 years younger

  56. My wife (currently 72 yrs old) claimed & started receiving benefits at age 64. I am retired, 65 yrs old & have not claimed anything yet. My FRA is Jan 2017. My wife’s benefits are lower than what I will get when I file.

    At FRA, can I file a restricted spousal benefits application & get 50% of my wife’s benefit and suspend my benefits so they continue to grow? I’m not sure how the new 2016 rule change impacts my scenario.

    Thanks

  57. My daily concern is about an average retired individual.Im one of them.I had to retire earlier at age 63.being alone,I had to go back to Work few times a month.Need to maintain house,pay health insurance.part B,Medicare,
    Supplemental health Inc.Dental inc.Cant work forever.Thankful i have SS.Retirment from Work.What truly,Shock me.our Medicaid low income Recipients.Those who Emigrated ,5 year ago,To the USA. receiving all the Benefits,Free.Plus caring pensions from Europe,Plus Working,Plus having dwellings Renting abroad,native home.How is this allowed by Our Government ?Tolerated?While many other Retiries are Working,or Unable,to get help? How Generoues is This.They are treated By the Socialism rules.Can SS or other government Agencies,anaswer ,look into this problem? Appreciate Your Answer!

  58. I began to receive social security at age 66 under my ex-husbands (now deceased) account. I turn 70 in November and had planned to change over to my own account at that time, which will be a larger payment. Can I still do that in November or do I have to change it now before the end of April?

  59. I was born in 1932; I am 83+ yrs. old. My FRA was 65. I started collecting SS Benefits between 67 – 68 yrs. old. My initial FRB was between $1400 – $1600 mo. Since it has been so many yrs. I do not remember the exact FRB amount. It has increased through COLA for the past 15 – 16 yrs. to appx. $2000 mo.. Since I first began to receive SS benefits at 67 – 68 I have continued to work with the same employer an additional appx. 15 – 16 yrs. at a consistently higher wage than the 35 highest yrs. used to compute my original PIA or AIME. with receiving only COLA adjustments in the same percentage as all other SS recipients. Does the last appx. 15 16 yrs. of employment at a consistently higher wage affect (increase) my PIA or AIME or monthly benefits??? Since the only increases I have received over these yrs. have been COLA adjustments applied to all SS recipients, do I qualify for a recomputation of my PIA or AIME and /or am I eligible or entitled to make a request??

    • Each year, we review the records for all working Social Security recipients to see if additional earnings may increase their monthly benefits. If your earnings for the prior year are higher than any of the years we used to compute your retirement benefit, we will recalculate your benefit amount. If an increase is due, a new monthly benefit amount is established on your record automatically. It is likely that your benefit amount has increase based on your continuing to work, in addition to the COLA adjustments. You may contact us and request a review of your records. You can also call our toll-free number at 1-800-772-1213. Representatives are available Monday through Friday, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. You will generally have a shorter wait time if you call later in the week. We hope this information helps!

      • Hi, Ray. Please, I stopped working at age35, I’m 64, now not working. Do I still qualify to get benefit SSI from husband. We still happily married

        • Great going for you and your husband Lola. If you did not work long enough to accrue the minimum 40 credits (10 years of work) that you need to become eligible to receive retirement benefits on your own record, you could be eligible for spouse’s benefits on your husband’s record if he is currently receiving retirement or disability benefits. You can also qualify for Medicare at age 65. If you are ready, you can complete an application for spouse’s benefits online. please visit our Retirement Planner: Benefits For You As A Spouse for more information.

  60. Hi. I am married and began to collect my own social security at age 62 and I just turned 65 on 4/10/16. I went to the social security office in Indio, CA and was informed that I could not change to a spousal benefit since I began to collect my own SS at age 62. Is this a new law that I cannot switch from my SS account and begin my spousal benefit? Could you please explain since it simply doesn’t make sense to me. Thank you kindly.

    • Thank you for your question Gloria. The information you received at your local Social Security office in Indio, CA is correct. The option to stop your own Social Security benefits and start collecting spouse’s benefits, only extends to individuals who have attained their full retirement age (currently 66). This option allows couples to start receiving spousal benefits at full retirement age, while letting their own retirement benefit accrue delayed retirement credits. Under current law, if you qualify for benefits on your own record, we will pay that amount first. If the benefit on your spouse’s record is higher, you’ll get an additional amount on your spouse’s record so that the combination of benefits equals that higher amount. Sometimes, a person may be eligible to more than one benefit at the same time. For example, a person may be entitled as a retired worker on his or her own record and as a spouse on another record. However, a person’s benefit amount can never exceed the highest single benefit amount to which that person is entitled. For more information, please see Retirement Planner: Benefits For You As A Spouse. We hope this helps.

  61. Thank you so very much for such a timely response. The Company I have been employed with for the past 28+ yrs. is closing it’s location in my area, so I needed this above requested information in a timely manner. I plan to visit our local area SS office in the very near future and needed to know what to ask for.

    In the event I explain the above situation and request a review of my records and for some reason this is denied (I. e. SS employee is not knowledgeable of re-computation rules, or says this is”äutomätically” done each year by the SS Office for all Recipients who continue to work, etc.).is there a recourse action such as sending a certified letter. If so, how do I obtain a current list of all my earnings (What do I ask for?; Is there a form to fill out?; Is there a fee for this?, etc.), and to what address would I send a letter for a review request?
    Please bear with me as I am trying to get everything in order before I visit the local area SS office and I am sympathetic to under-staffing and under-training.
    Any further information you can give me relevant to the above questions would be greatly appreciated,
    I realize no system is flawless and that sometimes things can slip through, (Example: Recently I went to purchase a cell phone and a credit check showed me as being deceased.).
    Again, thank you, and I apologize for the lengthiness of this request.
    Knowing my previous employment history, It is hard to believe that an additional 15 – 16 yrs of employment at a consistently higher wage has had no more impact on my PIA, AIME, and monthly benefits. It would take considerable effort on my part to locate my personal records of exactly when I began receiving benefits (67 – 69) and if my original benefit amount was closer to $1400 or $1600; it actually could have been between $1500 – $1700; can this be verified at the local area SS office?

    • Hello again, CDR! First of all, most of the services provided by the Social Security Administration are free of charge. It is very likely that your benefit amount has increase because of your continued work, and the Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) throughout the years, since you started to receive your retirement benefits. Any of our representatives will be able to review your record and verify your payment information. You may not even have to travel to the local Social Security office, you can write to us, or you can call our toll-free number at 1-800-772-1213. Our representatives are available Monday through Friday, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Thanks!

  62. I was tajen temporary disability. But is done already . The drn disable me i cant work no more. I apply for permanent disability. My question is if im aloud to apply for unemployment too. Ill been termed by my employer after almost 30 years of work.

    • Hi Iris, each state operates its own unemployment insurance program, click here to find contact information for your state’s unemployment office. Thanks!

  63. @Ray Fernandez: My wife will turn 62 in October 2016 while I turn 62 in April 2017. If my wife files for her SS benefits (“deemed filing”?) at age 62, can I still wait and file for my own SS benefits at a later date? How would this affect my own SS benefits?

    Thanks.
    Rico

    • Thank you for your question Rico. At age 62, if you qualify for benefits on your own record, we will pay that amount first. If the benefit on your spouse’s record is higher, you’ll get an additional amount on your spouse’s record so that the combination of benefits equals that higher amount. For individuals turning age 62 on or after January 2, 2016, and will be eligible for benefits both as a retired worker and as a spouse, the option to take only one benefit at full retirement age no longer exists. If you file for one benefit, you will be effectively filing for all retirement or spousal benefits. See “How the law is changing” or call our toll free number at 1-800-772-1213 and speak to one of our representatives for more information.

  64. Dont move to Florida. My daughter lost her SSDI because the ODAR judge stated she was no longer disabled. I was never called into the appeal hearing to witnrss on my daughters behalf. She applied do SSI and was also denied. Also, Social Security states my daughter received an overpayment of $29 thousand dollars. Something is definetly wrong with the system.

  65. Its been over 1year,now,and my daughter has not heard anything from the ODAR judge for her 3rd appeal hearing. What is the problem? We live in Florida.

    • Thanks for your comment, Melody. The length of time it takes to get a hearing can vary from state to state. We attempt to resolve all claims promptly, but there may be delays due to the volume of pending appeals in your area. The good news is that we are trying to conduct many of our hearings through video teleconferencing (VTC) to speed up the process. Visit our “Hearing And Appeals” web page for more information. Your daughter should continue working with the local hearing office on specific questions about her case. Thanks !

  66. I started receiving benefits in Janary 2015 nine months shy of my FRA of 66. Of course SS didn’t suggest I wait and not lose valuable benefits. They said the difference was about $20 month and that my benefit was higher by about $100. Due to their advice I took my own benefit. I am divorced from an 11 year marriage and not remarried. My question is can I stop my own benefit and collect on my ex husbands even if it is slightly less or more than mine? If I do this before 4/30 will my reduced benefit amount still accrue with interest until age 70? Social Security told me on the phone I would have to repay all the funds which I can’t see as I am full retirement age now. I am planning to go there tomorrow without an appointment to speak in person.
    **can I use either file and suspend or restricted application in my case.

    • Hi Claudia, under the new law, you can still voluntarily suspend benefit payments at your full retirement age (currently 66) in order to earn higher benefits for delaying. But during a voluntary suspension, other benefits payable on your record, such as benefits to your spouse, are also suspended. And, if you have suspended your benefits, you cannot continue receiving other benefits (such as spousal benefits) on another person’s record. For more information visit our Retirement Planner: Voluntary Suspension FAQs. We have developed instructions for our field office employees so they can answer questions before this change takes effect for suspension requests that are submitted on or after April 30, 2016.
      If you have further questions or to make an appointment, please call our toll-free number at 1-800-772-1213. Representatives are available Monday through Friday, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Thanks!

  67. I filed a restricted application for spousal benefits at age 66 to let my own account grow until age 70, which I will be at the end of the year. Am I grandfathered in and still able to switch in December, or should I do it before the end of April?

  68. My wife and I are going to file for Social Security benefits using the Start/Stop/Restart Retirement Benefit Strategy. My wife, a high earner compared to myself, is 62 and I have just reached my full retirement age (FRA) of 66 in March 2016. We were both born on or before January 1, 1954. When my wife applies for her retirement benefit now at 62, I will apply to immediately begin collecting a spousal benefit based on her earnings record. When my wife reaches her FRA , she will suspend her benefit and wait until 70 to collect a permanently higher benefit, namely the reduced benefit she was collecting augmented by the delayed retirement credits she earns during the months her benefit is suspended. I understand that once she suspends her benefits I no longer will receive a spousal benefit. I am currently receiving a survivor’s benefit, so will my benefit, at the time of her suspending, revert back to the same amount as I am receiving now with the survivor’s benefit? Also, when my wife restarts her benefits at age 70 can I apply for spousal benefits based on her own benefits once again at that time? (Spousal benefits based on her own benefits at age 70 will be larger than my own benefit when I am age 73.)

    • Hi Bob, the new law –effective April 30, 2016, makes changes to the aggressive claiming strategies that you have outlined. This law could also affect your scenario. Section 831 of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 eliminates aggressive claiming loopholes related to “deemed” filing and voluntary suspension of benefits. For your and your wife’s situation, it is best that you contact your local Social Security office or call our toll-free number at 1-800-772-1213 and speak to one of our representatives. Representatives are available Monday through Friday, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. We have developed instructions for our field office employees so they can answer questions before this change takes effect for suspension requests that are submitted on or after April 30, 2016.

      • I would not consider our situation an aggressive claiming strategy or loophole because it is indeed possible to do so even after the new law takes effect. Jerry Lutz, the Social Security technical expert that vetted the book “Get What’s Yours: The Secrets to Maxing Out Your Social Security”, was able to answer my question without referring me to other sources. Here is his very short and succinct answer: “The answer to your first question is yes. Re your second question, you would not need to reapply for spousal benefits. Assuming that your spousal benefits are higher than your own at that time, your excess spousal benefit would resume automatically when your wife’s benefits are reinstated.” I hope this helps anyone who may be in the same situation as my wife and I. I am currently receiving survivors benefits from my first wife which is much smaller than the spousal benefit I would receive based on my current wife’s record whether I file now or at a later time. So this strategy will indeed work for us even after the new law takes effect, which was two days ago.

  69. I just turned 65. I have been divorced 5 yrs after 21 yrs of marriage. She made more then me last 5 yrs of marriage. I was hoping to collect on her SS at 66 till 70 then retire and take my full bennefits. Is that still doable. Dan

    • Thank you for your question Mr. Sherman. A beneficiary who has reached full retirement age (currently age 66), may voluntarily ask that we suspend his or her benefits to earn delayed retirement credits. Please keep in mind that Section 831 of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 eliminates aggressive claiming loopholes related to “deemed” filing and voluntary suspension of benefits. In your situation, it is best to contact your local Social Security office or call our toll-free number at 1-800-772-1213 and speak to one of our representatives for more information. Representatives are available Monday through Friday, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. We have developed instructions for our field office employees so they can answer questions before this change takes effect for suspension requests that are submitted on or after April 30, 2016.

  70. I am 74 years old and have received Social Security
    Benefits since the age of 65 years old. My wife is 67 years old and is planning to receive Social Security Benefits
    at the age of 70 years.

    Is there a procedure to maximize our benefits ?

  71. Hello,
    Since construction went sour in 2008, (my husband work as drywall finisher until then) my husband and I decided to take our SS benefits at age 62 (7 months apart). Since I had been a homemaker raising two daughters most of my life working part-time (at times) over 45 years of marriage, I just draw $447 a month. However, 7 months later when my husband started drawing his SS $1346 a month they let me draw off his and increase mine to $668. My husband had work in manufacturing for around 10 years or more until it disappears in 1985. Then, he went into army for 2 years and after that he works as a drywall finisher until 2008 until construction went sour. At that time, since he couldn’t find work I went back to school and became a CNA and work to keep us afloat for 3 years until my health got where I could no longer work in that professional. Thank goodness finally, by then my husband had found a part-time job working as a floor tech in the hospital near us. Also, any savings we had was use during that 3 years time he couldn’t find a job. Consequently, if he had waited until he was 70 he would have draw $1786 a month SS. Therefore, he stills works now just enough hours to keep insurance on himself. At this time, I don’t have insurance until July when I turn 65. Finally, I will get to my question. Since he’s still working and paying into SS, will his monthly benefits increase or stay the same. So far, we have not seen an increase in his benefits even though he’s still paying into SS.
    Janice

    • Thank you for your question Janice. Generally, if you continue to work while receiving retirement (or survivors) benefits, your monthly benefit amount could increase. Each year, we review the records for all working Social Security recipients to see if additional earnings may increase monthly benefits. The other way your monthly benefit amount could increase is based on the Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA), which is announced each year in October. We hope this information helps.

  72. My wife and I recently visited our local SS office. My wife will turn 66 on May 19. I am 67 and have been receiving my benefit since I turned FRA one year ago. My wife would like to take the spousal restricted benefit after her birthday and not take her benefit until she reaches 70. The agent told us this is the same as File and Suspend and that she does not qualify because her birthday is after the April 30th deadline. We disagreed and after much discussion asked to speak with her manager. The District Manager talked with us but agreed with the agent. We left the office very frustrated. After doing our own research, we are convinced we are correct in our strategy to maximize her benefit. According to what we have read about the new law, because she turned 62 prior to January 2, 1954, she is “grandfathered” in and is eligible to apply for the spousal restricted benefit. It seems that the agents at our local office have not received clear guidance on how to implement the new rules. Who would we contact to file a complaint?

    • Hello Mr. Klee, we apologize for the inconvenience and appreciate your feedback. Based on the information you provided, your wife should be able to restrict her application for benefits and apply only for spouse’s benefits to earn delayed retirement credits. See our Retirement Planner: Deemed Filing FAQ #4 for this information. According to the new rules, deemed filing only applies for individuals turning 62 on or after January 2, 2016. Voluntary suspension requests must have been submitted prior to April 30, 2016. Your wife should contact the local office again. Remember, she has the right to file an application for benefits and receive an official approval or denial notification of her claim from Social Security, which will provide her appeals rights, if in case she wishes to seek legal advice to verify our decision.
      For more information and to make an appointment, please call our 1-800-772-1213 toll free number. Representatives are available Monday to Friday, between 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. You will experience shorter waiting time if you call later in the week. We hope this helps!

  73. Ray,
    Thank you for your reply. Yes, that helps. Your answer supports the option we would like to take. We were given another appointment on May 23rd, four days after my wife turns 66. We were told by the agent that at that time she will apply for “file and suspend”, be denied, and then we could file an appeal. I told them we did not want to file for “file and suspend”. They refused to look at any documents that I presented regarding the spousal restricted option. Their response was pretty much “see you on the 23rd”. Someone needs to know that this office has not had the proper training regarding the new law. My question to you is who can we notify to make them aware of the incompetence in this office?

    • Hello again Mr. Klee. We apologize and we regret to hear you did not receive the level of customer service you expected. Please ask to speak to a supervisor on your May 23rd interview and present your evidence. To submit your comment, complaint or suggestion, you can write to us or send us an email message. Thanks.

    • I look forward to finding out what happens on the 23rd, Ray. It would be a shame and total disservice to you and your wife (and ANYONE who is trying to do the same) if you have to file an appeal because there are untrained people at the SS office. I just learned about restricted spousal benefits and it is not the same as file and suspend (which is getting all the press…and I wonder who is feeding the media on this one?)

      • As per Mr. Klee, We also had an appt. with social security set up over the phone on April 29. I am 65 and my husband is 67. When I turn 66 in a year, I intended to file and suspend or restrict, let mine grow while taking my husbands. He intends to file and suspend at this same appt. I believe, we received faulty information on our appt. call this past Tuesday with the agent at the field office saying I am not eligible because I am not already 66 and my husband shouldn’t bother filing per our appt. I was sure I was correct and she was incorrect. She told me I did not understand but said to call her if I found either myself or my husband had further questions. Well I consulted the SS site and was convinced I am correct. I called her back never received a call back but called the 800 number and an agent confirmed what I thought was correct. The following morning I called the agent again and this time she answered and she agreed to give me an another appt based on the original date of April 29. I do not want this to be a problem. Its simple questions – *Must my husband file and suspend at that time for us to be eligible?
        *Am I eligible to file a restricted claim or file and suspend? *As I understand the information on the SS site we are “grandfathered in”. Is that correct? thank you

        • The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015, passed by Congress and signed by the President in October, 2015, ended the possibility of claiming spousal benefits on a suspended benefit for suspension requests made after April 29, 2016. I believe that your husband could have filed and suspended prior to on or before this date because he was at FRA (full retirement age). Then you could have filed for restricted spousal benefits when you turned 66 (receiving half of his benefit and letting yours grow). Unless you can get a decision based on that botched April 29 appnt, I think the only option left may be for your husband to file SS close to your 66th birthday and then you file a restricted spousal. You would get half of his benefit thereby allowing yours to grow. His benefit would not grow, however. This is the grandfathered part you are referring to – you were both born prior to Jan 1, 1954. I paid for a report for a SS maximizing report on this website ($40): http://www.socialsecuritychoices.com/info/secretstrategies.php
          Perhaps a report could help you in deciding if filing restricted spousal is worth it in the long run. I also received a similar report from my financial advisor (that was issued by an insurance company) that corroborated the information in the paid report.

  74. Hi , I am 52 yrs old and have been on ssdi since 2011. My ex husband of 18 yrs.is 62 and choses to keep working… Can I receive an increase on my ssdi benefit based on his ss info .

  75. Hi Im on ssdi since 2010 and was married 18 yrs. My ex husband is 62 and is still working ..can i rcve. An increase in my benefit amount based on his records ?

    • Hi Jennifer. If you are divorced, but your marriage lasted 10 years or longer, you may be eligible to receive benefits on your ex-spouse’s record at age 62. Also, if your ex-husband hasn’t applied for benefits, but can qualify for them and is age 62 or older, you can receive benefits on his record if you’ve been divorced for at least two years. Please visit our Retirement Planner: If You Are Divorced, then check out our publication, “What Every Woman Should Know” for more important information.

  76. Hi Ray,
    Just wanted to give you an update. We received a phone call today from the Social Security agent that we have been working with at our local office. She said that they have now received additional information which confirms that the option that we want for my wife is correct. Wonder where that information came from.

    We will keep our meeting on May 23 to finalize the application. Ray, is it correct that we should use Form SSA-2-BK to apply for the Spousal benefit?
    Thank you,
    Walter

    • We are glad that someone from the local office contacted you. The Form SSA-2-BK is the paper application for wife’s or husband’s insurance benefits. We now provide individuals the opportunity to create a personal my Social Security account and apply online. However, in your case we recommend that you keep the appointment for May 23, and allow our representatives to process your wife’s application. Thank you!

    • Thank you for your question Adisa. We ask our customers to review their statement of earnings carefully, using their own records to make sure our information is correct and that we’ve recorded each year you worked.
      Remember, you’re the only person who can look at your earnings record and know whether it is complete and correct. You can use the historical series of earnings needed to earn one quarter of coverage, 1978-2016 and compare it to your earnings record. If you still believe the information is incorrect, call us at 1-800-772-1213 (7 a.m.–7 p.m. your local time) or contact your local Social Security office. Thanks.

  77. Will Social Security notify me if my ex-husband passes away? I currently qualify of ex-spousal benefits but prefer to wait until my FRA (another 2 1/2 years) but would file immediately to receive widow benefits. I met with Soc Sec office but they would not tell me if he is living or not….please advise.

  78. I am a 63 year old male and currently working full time. I am a paraplegic, uses a wheelchair, due to a spinal cord injury in 1984. Due to my injury, I have had recent health issues that have made it very difficult to continue working. Can I apply for reduced Social Security Retirement benefits and Social Security Disability benefits now? Will I receive the reduced retirement benefit while waiting for my Social Security Disability claim to be approved? If my claim is approved, at age 66 when the Social Security Disability benefits end, will I receive my full retirement benefits?

    • Thank you for your question Bill. Yes, you can apply for reduced Retirement Benefits and apply for disability benefits at the same time. You can start receiving your retirement benefits while we consider your application for disability benefits and wait for a medical decision. Disability payments are established at the highest rate possible, meaning you could get a higher monthly benefit amount. If you are approved for disability benefits, we will adjust your payments accordingly. If you have more questions, or to make an appointment, call our toll free number at 1-800-772-1213, Monday through Friday between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. and talk with one of our representatives. Generally, you will have a shorter wait time if you call later in the week. We hope this information helps you.

  79. I will be 64 in September. My ex husband is 54 10 years younger than me. What age for him will I be able to collect on his. I have not taken mine yet. Waiting till I’m 66. I’ve been a bartender for 44 years which means I started at the time when there was no place to claim tips nor dId people really tip that well back then and pay was only $1.10 an hour.Because of that my SS. is minimal. (Claim those tips or your retirement will suck)

    • Hi Margaret. You may be eligible to receive benefits on your ex-husband’s record if he is entitled to Social Security retirement or disability benefits. If your ex-husband does not apply for his retirement benefits, but can qualify for them and is age 62 or older, you can receive benefits on his record if you have been divorced for at least two years. Here are the other eligibility requirements to receive benefits as a divorced spouse:
      • You are unmarried;
      • You were married to your ex-spouse for at least 10 years;
      • The benefit you are entitled to receive based on your own work is less than the benefit you would receive based on your ex-spouse’s work.
      Please visit our Retirement Planner: If You Are Divorced, then check out our publication, “What Every Woman Should Know” for more important information.

  80. If I wait until age 70 to draw my social security benefits, does my spouse (who will then be age 62) receive 35% of my FRA (age 66) benefits or 35% of my age 70 benefits?

  81. A slight correction and some changes to my above question …

    (1) If I wait until age 70 to draw my social security benefits, does my spouse (who will then be age 63) receive 37.5% of my FRA (age 66) benefits … or 37.5% of my maximum (age 70) benefits?
    (2) Once we both sign up for social security benefits, will my spouse and I (while we are both still living) be receiving TWO sets of benefits simultaneously … mine (full amount) and hers (37.5% of my benefits)?
    (3) In the event I precede my wife in death, will my spouse’s benefits be increased to the same amount of benefits I was receiving until my death … or will she continue to receive just the same (lower) amount she had been receiving while I was still alive?

    • Good questions Mr. Khair.
      1- If your wife started to receive spouse’s benefits at age 63, her benefit amount will be about 37.5 percent of your primary insurance amount at your full retirement age or FRA. Her benefit as spouse does not include any delayed retirement credits you may be eligible to receive at age 70.
      2- Each of you would receive a single (1) monthly payment per person.
      3- If at the time of your death, your wife is receiving spousal benefit under your record, her benefit will automatically be converted to a survivors benefits once we receive the report of your death. To see examples of the survivor’s benefits your wife could receive, visit our Retirement Planner: How Much Your Benefit Would Be?

      You can find more information about your benefits and your wife’s options visiting our website at http://www.socialsecurity.gov.

  82. I just want to make sure I’m understanding this correctly. I will be 66 this July, and I am planning on receiving survivor’s benefits as I am a widow of a retired worker. I am currently working and will continue to work for at least a few more months to potentially a year, although my salary will be less than it has been for the past 5 years. My understanding is that since I will not be receiving my personal benefits, the amount will continue to increase by 8% per year until I reach the age of 70 when I switch to mine. Am I correct?

  83. I will reach my FRA, 66, this July 2016. I was married for more than 10 years and divorced in 1992. I never remarried. My ex-wife is currently 59 yo, BUT she is receiving SSDI; i.e. if she is receiving SSDI, then she is obviously “eligible” to receive SS benefits.
    I desire to file a “restricted” ex-spousal claim based on her earnings, which would be less than my benefit at FRA, continue to work, then file based on my earnings in 2 or 3 years.
    Two questions: First: My local SS office insists my ex MUST be at least 62yo for me to file the “restricted” ex-spousal claim. However, since she is collecting SSDI, I contend the 62yo criteria is moot. Which is it?
    Second: My SS office insists that because I requested to file the restricted ex-spousal May 2 this year, the April 29 deadline to do so is past. I contend that because I was 62 yo BEFORE Dec 31, 2015 (I was 65 then) that the April 29 deadline stipulated by HR 1314 does NOT apply to me and that this July I CAN STILL file the restricted ex-spousal claim and let my earnings benefit grow until I decide to file on my own earnings. Is this so?

    • Hi Steven, we regret any confusion. Even if your ex-spouse is receiving disability benefits, she must still meet the age requirement for retirement benefits (62 or older), in order for you to be eligible for Divorced Spouse Benefits.
      However, you have the right to file an application for benefits and receive an official denial of your claim from Social Security, which will provide you appeals rights, if in case you wish to seek legal advice to verify our decision.
      For more information or to make an appointment, please call our 1-800-772-1213 toll free number. Representatives are available Monday to Friday, between 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. You will experience shorter waiting time if you call later in the week. We hope this helps!

  84. above should say: I desire to file a “restricted” ex-spousal claim based on her earnings, effective AT my FRA this July.

  85. I was age 62 in 2015 so the changes to the new law do not affect me. I also am divorced, was married for 29 years. How do I know if I can qualify for ex-spouse benefit at FRA (for me, at age 66) and file and suspend my own benefit, if I have no idea how the ex-spouse benefit is derived and how my income compares? Ex-spouse took reduced SS benefit at age 62 when we were still married. Would my ex-spouse amount get figured on his reduced, or his FRA benefit in 2008? Or adjusted with COLA’s? Thanks for your help with this.

  86. Hello, I have been taking my social security since age 62, rather than the widow’s benefit at age 60. I am now almost 66 and can switch to my late husband’s full amount. I know I can’t switch back and forth, but I am wondering this: if I decided to switch to his but then get a full time job (I’m looking) and decide to stop taking his or my social security and hanging on till age 70, is this possible? I would like to get the 32% more I would be getting at age 70. If I don’t receive the first payment or if I do but pay it back, can I do this?

  87. The more I read the more I get confused. I want to receive my SS benefit when I turn 70. My wife has her own SS benefit which is lower than mine. Do I understand it correctly that she can file at age 66 for her own benefit and I can file for spousal benefits to get half of her money.

    I know I can do the above but what most articles I read do not address clearly is what happens when I turn 70. Will I be able to switch to my benefit at age 70? Will my wife be able to switch to her spousal benefit and get the full spousal benefit?
    In other words, we want to use my wife’s SS to supplement our income until I retire at age 70 and then end up with me getting the full amount of my age 70 benefit and my wife getting half of my age 66, full retirement age, benefit?

    One last question. If my wife files her own benefits at age 62, does that lock her into only getting 25% spousal benefits when she switches over? If I understand it correctly, my wife can file for her own benefits at age 66 to get the full amount. I can file for spousal benefits without filing for mine (or do I file and suspend) and when I reach 70 we both get as much as we would have had we not used my wife’s own benefits to delay mine?

  88. I’ve been divorced for about 6 years. I will turn 62 in early July. My ex wife will turn 62 in approximately two and a half years. Can I take a reduced benefit based on her earnings when she becomes SS eligible until I reach FRA at age 66, then take a full benefit based on my earnings? I think I know the answer to this, but nothing I read makes it explicitly clear what the answer is. In fact, I was told by an SSA rep. a couple weeks ago that the new rules DID NOT apply to divorced spouses. Which brings up another issue. If an applicant makes a decision based on what turns out to be inaccurate information from a Social Security representative, can that decision be rectified? Is there an appeal process? I know for a fact that at least on one occasion I was given misinformation from the SSA.

  89. My dad is 75 and not once did social security ask him if he served in the military. He is just finding out that he should have gotten credit for his time as active military. Is it too late for him to go back and have social security recalculate what he should have gotten had he had the credit given to him to begin with??

  90. As far as documents, what are the requirements to file for SS benefits? My dad has his SS benefits sitting in file but couldnt claim them because he refused to be legalized yet has had a valid SS# which he worked with since the 1960’s. Can he just bring his ID and SS number to apply for these benefits? He’s currently 81 and needs this money to buy his medicines and pay for Doctors visits. Thank You for your reply 😀

  91. My husband is 72 and I just turned 62 on 5/28/16. Would I be able to take my spousal benefit from age 62-70 and then at age 70 take my full retirement benefit?

  92. i’m a 62 yrs. old woman, i’m drawing social security disability monies, will I lose my monies if I married, a younger man, that’s working closer to his job retirement.

  93. I am very confused on how this works. My aunt is 67 and has been trying to get on Medicare for several years. She was married for 21 years and never worked herself. She divorced and then married a man 20 years younger than herself. She had another child and never worked outside the home. She has no health insurance because medicare keeps denying her. The tell her she did not work 10 years, she owns her home so if she did get medicare they could take her home. She has to pay a penalty on taxes ever year due to no insurance. What can she do?

    • Hi Amy. Generally, to qualify for Medicare, an individual will need 40 credits, or at least 10 years of work where Social Security taxes were deducted from their income. Anyone aged 65 or older who does not have 40 credits and therefore not insured, will have to pay premiums for both Medicare Part A & B. Individuals can also qualify for Medicare on their spouse’s record if the spouse is insured, and age 62 or older. For specific questions about her case, your aunt can call 1-800-772-1213, M-F between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. and speak with one of our representatives.

  94. I am will be 66 in September 9 2016 and want to postpone applying for my benefits and apply for my ex husband’s. We been married for 24 years and divorced in 1999. I never remarried.
    I called Social Security office and they told me that I cannot apply for his because his half (he is alive) is smaller than what I can get from my social security.
    I read online that when I turn 66 I can get half of his and postpone mine and switch to mine when I am ready…So since my Social security is more, I cannot delay it and apply for 1/2 his per Social Security adm?

    • Hi Elena. If and when you file for Social Security benefits you qualify for benefits on your own record, we will pay that amount first. If the benefit on your ex-spouse’s record is higher, you’ll get an additional amount on your spouse’s record so that the combination of benefits equals that higher amount. The option to restrict an application extends only to individuals who have attained their full retirement age (currently 66). Visit our Retirement Planner: If You Are Divorced for more information, or call our toll free telephone number at 1-800-772-1213, Monday through Friday between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. if you have additional questions. Thanks.

    • Thanks for your question Susan. Actually, for Social Security benefits, you can continue working past your full retirement age or FRA and earn Delayed Retirement Credits when and if you delay getting your retirement benefits up until age 70. The decision on when to apply for benefits is a personal one. We can only provide you with the information to help you make the best choice according to your own situation. To help you plan for the future, you can use our Retirement Planner and you can also create a my Social Security account to verify your earnings, get your Social Security Statement, and much more. We hope this information helps!

  95. I am 62, been on disability for10 years.My old pension company sent me papers to file for pension plan.Who can i get to help me fill out the application? I have until October of 2016. Will i loose my disability?

  96. file for retirement benefit i’ll be 62 in Oct 2016,i plan on working til end of year and working part time. why must i wait til either may or June of 2017 to received beneft

    • Hi Richard, you do not have to wait until June of 2017 to receive your retirement benefits if you apply at age 62 in October 2016. You can still work and receive your Social Security retirement benefits at the same time. However, since you are younger than the full retirement age and (probably) earn more than the yearly earnings limit, your benefits could be reduced. For 2016 that limit is $15,720. If you apply for benefits at age 62, and work part-time thereafter you will be considered “retired” only if your monthly earnings are $1,310 or less. You can use our earnings test calculator to see how your earnings could affect your benefit payments, or see “How We Deduct Earnings From Benefits”. To learn more, please visit our Frequently Asked Questions web page or read our publication: “How Work Affects Your Benefits”. If you have additional questions, please call our toll free number at 1-800-772-1213, Monday through Friday between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. and talk with one of our representatives.

  97. I am entitled to early social security benefits at age 62, I understand.

    I am divorced and entitled to social security benefits from my ex’s earnings. He is still working and his earnings have been very high, likely maximum. My own history is very low.

    If I only apply for my own low benefit, could I then apply for divorced benefits at age 66 and get a bump up in benefits for waiting to claim the divorced benefits in addition to mine?

    I understand that I HAVE to apply for my own benefits to apply for divorced spouse benefits, but what happens if I do not apply for divorced spouse benefits at the same time as I apply for my own? Can I then apply for those benefits at age 66? Is there any advantage to doing this

  98. I am 65 and will claim social security at my full retirement age of 66 next year. My husband has a pension. He has contributed to social security for about 20 years but the windfall provision will still affect the amount he will receive. We were planning on him taking his social security benefit at age 70 when it will be the highest and know the windfall provision will still affect it. Next year when we are both 66, can my husband take spousal benefits off of my social security? Will they be reduced? If he can take benefits as a spouse, can he then claim his own at age 70?

    • You are right Peg. Your husband’s Social Security benefits can be reduced based on the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP). This chart shows the maximum monthly amount his benefit can be reduced because of WEP if he has fewer than 30 years of substantial earnings. In addition, the Government Pension Offset (GPO) may affect his spouse’s benefits. Your husband can call our toll-free number at 1-800-772-1213, for further assistance. Representatives are available between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., Monday through Friday but you will generally have a shorter wait time if you call later in the day, or later in the week. We hope this helps.

  99. I have spent hours scouring the internet to no avail searching for an answer to this question. My husband became disabled at age 63 in 2014. He will turn full retirement age at 66 in 2017. We know the file and suspend laws were all changed this year. I too am on disability and draw from my own work history, so do not need to draw from him. What we want to do is before his Social Security Disability income converts to retirement Social Security Income on his 66th birthday, is stop the conversion and delay starting his regular Retirement Social Security for as long as possible, hopefully until he reaches 70. If we can do without his social security for the short term, we feel it will be more beneficial to us down the road being able to draw the accrued growth on his retirement Social Security. I realize we are unusual in that I have my Social Security income in place. Any knowledge or advice with first and foremost, can he stop the conversion from Disability to retirement Social Security and second, how exactly would be the best way to go about stopping his Disability Income before it converts. I would genuinely be grateful for the help.

  100. I am 49 years old. My ex husband turns 62 this July. We were married for 25 years. Can I collect NOW in his social security?

    • Hi Stephanie. Generally, a divorced spouse may be able to receive benefits on the ex-spouse’s record starting at age 62 or older. Here are the requirements to receive benefits if you are divorced:
      • You are unmarried;
      • You were married to your ex-spouse for at least 10 years;
      • Your ex-spouse is entitled to Social Security retirement or disability benefits and,
      • The benefit you are entitled to receive based on your own work is less than the benefit you would receive based on your ex-spouse’s work.

      Please read our publication, “What Every Woman Should Know” for more important information. Thanks!

    • Hi Eileen. Our system is set up to take applications three months in advance. At age 63, you can apply for your benefits online at any time now. Remember that benefits are paid the month after they are due. So, for instance, if you want your benefits to begin with the month of September, you will receive your first benefit payment in October. Please visit our Social Security Retirement Planner for more information.

  101. A woman at the social security office told me that I could come back when I’m 66 and would get more money I took my soc. sec/ . when I was 62 thinking that when my husband retired at 66 I could collect half of his, but they changed the rule to only 1/3. I never would have collected at 62 if I had known that. Do you know this is possible and how

    • Hi Linda. Yes, reduction factors are permanently applied to all benefits an individual may qualify for once they opt to start benefits at age 62 or at any time prior to their full retirement age.

  102. My sister will be 60 next month and is drawing disability. She is divorced and needs more income. Can she begin to draw off her ex (they were married 10 years) at the age of 60 and still continue to draw her disability?

    • Thank you for your question Debbie. Surviving Divorced Spouses, widows or widowers can get benefits at age 60. Your sister may be eligible to receive benefits at age 62 on her ex-husband’s record if:
      The ex-husband is entitled to Social Security retirement or disability benefits;
      Your sister is unmarried;
      Their marriage lasted for at least 10 years and
      The benefit that she entitled to receive on her own record is less than the benefit she would receive on the ex-spouse’s record.
      Note: If the ex-husband does not apply for his retirement benefits, but can qualify for them and is age 62 or older, your sister can receive benefits on his record if they have been divorced for at least two years.
      Please visit our Retirement Planner: If You Are Divorced, then check out our publication, “What Every Woman Should Know” for more important information.

      • he (the ex is drawing his SS now. She is not married, but is drawing disability. I didn’t know if she could draw her disability and draw SS off her ex at the same time, or can she only draw one or the other. AND at the age of 60.

  103. I cannot seem to find the answer to this question “anywhere online”.
    How can I find out who, if anyone else is drawing on my social security benefits?
    For example, I saw a statement that said if an ex spouse was drawing on a beneficiary, the said beneficiary would not know or be told. Would the beneficiary be told if they asked? If not, why not? I think the beneficiary of their own social security benefits has a right to know if anyone at all is drawing under their name or social security number.
    Personally couldn’t care less if an ex spouse is drawing, however, I do think I have a right to know if someone is using my benefits. I know claimants have to have proof but their is plenty of fraud in the system.

    • Thank you for your question. According to our policy (POMS – GN 03340.055), a number holder (NH) or wage earner is entitled to know:
      – Names, dates of entitlement, and benefit amounts of all people receiving benefits based on his or her earnings record, and
      – Names and claims status of all individuals filing for benefits on the earnings record.
      Right of access does not entitle a NH to information about the payment status or check amounts of other individuals.
      The information described above can be provided only to the NH. The NH cannot authorize release of claims or benefit information about individuals on his or her record to a third party.

  104. My mother is 63 years old and owns her own day care at home. She decided to take her SS benefits at 62 years old to help with income. She was never told about the $15,720 income limit and is now being taxed $1 for every $2 that she makes. She makes $675 per month on SS and was making approximately $21,000 per year. She was barely surviving on the $21,000 and now she’s being held back from making more. Can someone please tell me that she can make more than $15,720 and not be taxed at 50% per dollar over that amount.

    Thank you,

    • In 2016, the annual earnings limit is $15,720 if you are under full retirement age. If you are younger than full retirement age and make more than the yearly earnings limit, your earnings may reduce your benefit amount. When we figure out how much to deduct from your benefits, we count only the wages you make from your job or your net profit if you are self-employed. In addition, as long as you continue to work and receive benefits, we will check your record every year to see whether the additional earnings will increase your monthly benefits. After you reach full retirement age, we will recalculate your benefit amount to give you credit for any months in which you did not receive a benefit because of your earnings. Please visit our “Retirement Planner: Getting Benefits While Working” for more important information.

  105. I am a widow who will turn 60 in a yr. can I apply for SS using my deceased husband as his was higher than mine I am unemployed as it is so hard to be hired at this age. Can someone please advise me on my options?

    Thank you

    • Thank you for your question Debbie. If you are the widow of a person who worked long enough under Social Security, you can receive reduced benefits as early as age 60. (age 50 or over if you are disabled). Our system is set up to take applications three months in advance. In addition, you can continue to work while you receive Social Security benefits, but if you make more than the yearly limit, your earnings may reduce your benefit amount. You can learn more about getting benefits while working when you read our publication “How Work Affects Your Benefits”. We hope this information works.

  106. I was married to my ex husband for over ten years but never changed my name to his or reported the marriage to SS office. I used my maiden name during the marriage. Would this change anything for me as far as drawing from his SS at the time of retirement?

    • Hi Charlotte. Here are the eligibility requirements to receive benefits as a divorced spouse:
      •You are unmarried;
      •You are age 62 or older;
      •Your ex-spouse is entitled to Social Security retirement or disability benefits and
      •The benefit you are entitled to receive based on your own work is less than the benefit you would receive based on your ex-spouse’s work.
      Please visit our Retirement Planner: If You Are Divorced, then check out our publication, “What Every Woman Should Know” for more important information.

  107. My father is 64 now (DOB 1-8-52) and my mom is 60 (dob 10-3-55). I was told that my father can file for a restricted application for spousal benefits at age 66 under the new rule(mom will only be 62.5 at the time). At age 70 I was told he could file for his own social security with delayed credits. Then once my mother turns 63, she can file for her own benefits. Is this correct? I always thought in order to get a spousal benefit, the other spouse needed to be full retirement age or already receiving their benefit. Can anyone help?

    • Under the new law, individuals can still voluntarily suspend benefit payments at their full retirement age (currently 66) in order to earn higher benefits for delaying. But during a voluntary suspension, other benefits payable on their record, such as benefits to their spouse, are also suspended. And, if they have suspended their benefits, they cannot continue receiving other benefits (such as spousal benefits) on another person’s record. The earliest a person can apply for Retirement Benefits on their own record is 62. See our Retirement Planner: Recent Social Security Claiming Changes for more important information.

  108. I’m 59 and retired…can i claim social security now, or wait til age 62…..for some reason i was under the impression you can claim it at any age if retired…true?

  109. I will be 62 June of 2018 and I also will be divorced from him ( married 27 yrs) for 2 yrs in Oct 2018. He will be 60 in 2018 so he will still be working, so can I draw from his when I am 62 or do I have to wait till he turns 62 and also if I early retire at 62 drawing my SS, then when I am full age of retirement ( 66 and 4 mos) can I change to draw a different amount at 66 and 4 mos?

    • Hi Sharon. You may be eligible to receive reduced benefits on your ex-husband’s record at age 62 if he is entitled to Social Security retirement or disability benefits. If your ex-husband does not apply for his retirement benefits, but can qualify for them and he is age 62 or older, you can receive benefits on his record if you have been divorced for at least two years. Here are the other eligibility requirements to receive benefits as a divorced spouse:
      • You are unmarried;
      • You were married to your ex-spouse for at least 10 years;
      • The benefit you are entitled to receive based on your own work is less than the benefit you would receive based on your ex-spouse’s work.
      Please visit our Retirement Planner: If You Are Divorced, then check out our publication, “What Every Woman Should Know” for more important information.Also, if your birthday is January 2, 1954 or later, the option to take only one benefit at full retirement age no longer exists. If you file for one benefit, you will be effectively filing for all retirement or spousal benefits.

  110. My wife is on disability, I am turning 62 in Oct. Can I get medicre insurance part A & B, and hold off getting my monthly SS money until age 65, to maximize the payout? In a sense life is forcing me into retirement due to my wifes illness.

    • Medicare is our country’s health insurance program for people age 65 or older. Also, if you turn age 62 on or after January 2, 2016, you are required or “deemed” to file for both your own retirement and for any benefits you are due as a spouse, no matter what age you are.

  111. HI, My estranged husband was on SSI and just passed away at 57 im 56 . can I get survivor benefits at 60 and delay taking my entitlement til 66 ( fully retirement age) get get my full benefit or will it be reduced ?

    • Hi Robin. Benefits issued through our Supplemental Security Income or SSI program are based on the needs of the individual and are only paid to the qualifying person. There are no spouse’s, children’s or survivors benefits payable. Benefits paid through our Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program, in certain circumstances, are payable to certain family members. Information on Survivors Benefits can be located on our website at: http://www.ssa.gov/survivors/. Please call our toll free number at 1-800-772-1213 for further assistance. Representatives are available, Monday to Friday, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Thanks.

  112. i was married to my husband for 7 years..got divorced..stayed with him and raised our 3 children together..remarried him 6 wks. before he died at hospital..and am being denied his benefits..we were always together, so why can’t i get his benefits?

    • We are sorry for your loss Patricia. According to our Program Operations Manual (POMS), an applicant for surviving spouse benefits, must meet the 9 months duration-of-marriage requirement. However, you have the right to file an application for benefits and receive an official denial of your claim from Social Security, which will provide you appeals rights, if in case you wish to seek legal advice to verify our decision. Thanks.

  113. My mom is applying for retirement she is 66 and has Parkinson’s disease. SS is saying she has to prove she doesn’t receive a pension which she doesn’t from a job she worked at for a year, 15+ years ago. The IRS has no record of a pension and the place she worked had no documents so the wrote a statement verifying she doesn’t receive a pension. But SS claims they cant accept that? What can she do to get the full benefits she needs?

  114. I was born in 1952 (I’m 64). My husband is on Social Security disability. I’m planning to work until 70. In 2 years at 66 can I file and suspend on my Social Security and file for spousal support until I’m 70?

    • Thank you for your question Franniemay. Since you turned 62 years old before January 2, 2016, deemed filing rules will not apply to you if you decide to file at your full retirement age or later. This means that you may file for either your spouse’s benefit or your retirement benefit without being required or “deemed” to file for other benefits you could be entitled to. You could restrict your application and apply only for spousal benefits and delay filing for your own retirement in order to earn delayed retirement credits. See our Retirement Planner: Deemed Filing FAQs web page for more information.

  115. I’m 61 turning 62 Feb 1, 2017. I’m planning on retiring in the next 3 months and filling for SS as a surviving spouse. I then plan on switching to my retirement at 66 or possible 70. With the changes in the SS laws is it still possible to do this. My husband was on SS disability at the time of his death.

    • Thank you for your question Carole. Yes, you can file for widow’s benefits now and switch to the other (higher) benefit at a later date. At this time, we do not offer an online application for survivors’ benefits. To make an appointment or to speak to one of our representatives, call our toll free number 1-800-772-1213, Monday through Friday, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. We hope this information helps!

  116. My husband and I are confused about how the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 affect us. We understand they are phasing out the file and suspend but don’t know if we can still do that. I hope you can help us figure out what is best in our situation:
    1. My husband is currently 67 and is still working and paying into Social Security. He has not yet claimed SS.
    2. I will be 65 in September. I am retired and payed into SS. I have not yet claimed SS.
    3. Can my husband file for SS now and then suspend his benefits until age 70 and can I at age 65(next month) file for spousal benefits now and not file on my own until I reach age 70 thereby letting my SS grow each year. Or, do I have to wait until age 66?

    • Thank you for your question Melinda. Under the new Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 (BBA), your husband will still be able to file and suspend his benefits while earning delayed retirement credits. However, anyone receiving benefits on his record will also be suspended. Meaning, that you will not be able to collect spousal benefit from his record while deferring your benefit until age 70. Section 831 of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 (BBA) eliminates aggressive claiming loopholes specifically. For more information on this, please see: Deemed filing and voluntary suspension of benefits. Employees in our field offices can answer specific questions related to these changes that can affect your situation. You may also call our toll-free number at: 1-800-772-1213 and speak to one of our representatives. Representatives are available Monday through Friday, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. We hope this information helps.

      • Ray, thank you for your reply to my question posted on August 22, 2016. I still have question or two.

        What is the purpose of filing and suspending until 70 years of age in order to earn delayed retirement benefits? We thought this would happen anyway by just waiting to claim SS until he was 70. What are we missing here?

        On the topic of “phasing out” the file and suspend loophole, what exactly does “phasing out” since we understand that we do not have that option anymore?

        We appreciate your knowledge and time. Thank you.

        • Hello Melinda. You didn’t miss anything. You will automatically earn Delayed Retirement Credits if you wait to receive benefits until the age of 70. Delayed retirement credits are added for months of non-payment between full retirement age and age 70 regardless of whether or not you file and suspend at your full retirement age. There is absolutely no need to “File & Suspend” when you reach full retirement age (currently age 66).
          As to your second question, we use the expression “phasing out” because changes from the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 did not apply to everyone. Individuals who attained age 62 before January 2, 2016 or prior were grandfathered under the old law. We hope this helps!

          • Okay, so now we need to find out what our best scenario is given we are of the age to be “grandfathered in” and will want to use the “Restricted Application”. Is there an updated calculator (after the Bipartisan Budget Act in 2015 that can help us plug in a couple of different scenarios? Also, we’ll need to know how far ahead of age 70 to apply? Thank you in advance, once again.

          • Hello Melinda, we have an online Retirement Planner: Plan For Your Retirement that will provide detailed information to assist you in your decision-making process including online Benefit Calculators. There you will find a calculator to help compute the effect of early or late retirement on your benefit amount as well as a spouses calculator that will compute the effect of early retirement on spouse’s benefits.
            The earliest date you can apply for benefits is 4 months before you want your benefits to start. We cannot process your application if you file for benefits more than four months in advance. Once you’re ready to apply, you can do so online at http://www.socialsecurity.gov/retire

  117. My wife turned 62 in August 2015 and applied for and is receiving SS benefits on her work record. I turned 66 in August, this year (2016). I desire to wait until I turn 70 years old to apply for benefits on my work record. I am a high earner, my wife had moderate income work record. Can I file a spousal application on my wife’s work record to receive spousal SS benefits until I turn 70. AND IF so, will that shield me from projected increases in Medicare Part B premiums until I reach 70 and file on my work record? AND when I reach 70 and file for my own SS benefits, can my wife, then change her status to spousal benefits based on my work record?
    Thank you.

    • Hi Steven, Thank you for your question. Since you turned 62 before January 2, 2016, the new deemed filing rules do not apply to you. This means that your option to either file on your spouse’s record or on your record is preserved. In your case, you may certainly choose to restrict your application to apply only for the spouse’s benefit and delay filing for your own retirement in order to earn delayed retirement credits. Also, when you do end up filing for retirement benefits, your wife can then file for spouse’s benefits on your record if she’s eligible.
      To answer your question about Medicare, receiving benefits as a spouse will not shield you from potential increases in Medicare Part B premiums. The increase in Medicare Part B premiums is calculated based on your income. Social Security uses the most recent federal tax return to make that determination. For more information, go to https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10536.pdf.

  118. since I’m retired and working partime and have paid in over $800.00 into ss and have not got a raise last and here won’t be none this year can I claim the money on my taxes as a loss? ps can I stop paying into ss in 2017 since our great goverment not giving out raises on for thier self like they need it

  119. if everyone that’s retired and has thier ss stopped taken out next year and puts the money in a escarole like I’m going to do then when we get our ss raises we will pay into ss .if we have to pay into it we should get something back from it.these people comeing into our country get it and never payed into it and congressential really needs a raise since their stupid enough to say the cost of liveing hasn’t gone it well let them start paying for grocery health insurance car insurance house insurance gas to heat your houses electric bills water bills our water went from eighty dollars a month to two hundred but we the people on ss can afford it medicene gone up doctor bills hospital bills ans our brilliant goverment says nothing gone so we don’t get a ss raise.well goverment wake up.trade us jobs and see if you can live on our income

  120. I worked in the US for 9 years, and for 5 years i worked 2 jobs paying full ss on both jobs. When I am 65 am I eligible for retirement ?

  121. My ex-husband is five years younger than I am, we were married for over twenty years, so I am eligible to receive half of his SS benefits (I was a stay-at-home mother during the bulk of our marriage and his contributions were far greater than mine). From how I understand the new regulations, I am required to wait until he begins to receive benefits when he retires. Is that correct? I am currently 55 and he is 50 — at what age can I begin to collect on his social security, and at what age am I eligible for Medicare?

  122. This question is in addition to the one I have previously asked — I am receiving alimony until the age of 71, will that impact when I can begin receiving benefits and whether or not I can begin receiving Medicare before the age of 71?

  123. I was married 39 years, I am 66 in 25 days and have been claiming my SS retirement of $183 a month since I was 62. My husband was younger than me (62), was working full time, and suddenly passed away a month ago of a heart attack. I went to my local SS office, and filed for widow benefits and was told I would receive my husbands SS which is higher than mine. but when I received my letter today it stated that I would be receiving my husbands benefit along with my own benefit which will be combined. I don’t understand…. I thought that you couldn’t get both benefits, just the one that is higher? Can anyone please explain this to me? Also, the my husbands SS statement in 2015 stated that his full retirement benefits at 65 was $2393.00 a month, but the letter I received today stated that I would get $160 less that what his statement said he was getting at full retirement. Is it reduced because I claimed 25 days before my 66th birthday? I told the agent during my interview that I wanted to get his full retirement benefit and that I wanted to file my claim after I was 66, but it looks like he didn’t do that.

    • Hello Gina. We regret the loss of your husband. Sometimes, a person could be entitled to more than one benefit at the same time and may receive a combination of benefits equaling the higher amount. In your own case, you are eligible for retirement benefits on your own record, which you are currently getting at $183/monthly. We will pay that amount first. Since the widows benefit from your husband is higher, you will also get an additional amount from his work record so that the combination of your own retirement benefits and his equals that higher amount. In addition, because you were already receiving retirement benefits before applying for widow’s benefits, you can’t re-file for retirement at a later date to receive an increased amount.
      Please visit our Survivors Planner to learn more.
      As to your second question regarding the estimates on your husband’s Social Security statement, keep in mind that the benefit amounts provided on the Statement are just estimates as we cannot provide the actual benefit amount until you apply for benefits. Hope this helps.

  124. My spouse passed away 7 years ago after we were married for 34 years. He claimed SS for a few months after he was 62, then suspended his claim and went back to work. He passed away without ever collecting any more benefits. Since I was working I never made a claim to his benefits. I will reach FRA in April and plan on claiming for benefits and keep working for a time. I believe my husbands benefit would be higher than what mine will be. Can I claim mine upon reaching FRA and switch to his when I do stop working, or claim his, keep paying into mine, and see which is higher when when I stop working and make a switch if necessary. Is this option at all possible? I don’t really know what my options are.

    • Good question Sylvia. In many cases, a widow can restrict the scope of her application and start receiving her survivor’s benefits, while delaying her own retirement benefit and earn delayed retirement credits. The rules are complicated and vary depending on the situation. You cannot apply for survivor’s benefits online. If you decide to apply, or wish to make an appointment to speak with one of our representatives, you will need to contact your local office, or call our toll-free number at 1-800-772-1213, Monday through Friday, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. for assistance. Thanks!

  125. I already apply my own Social Security benefit at age 62 with discount benefit. Now my spouse start apply retirement benefit at age 68. I still have another 5 months to reach full retirement age. Can I postpone my spouse benefit until full retirement age 66?

  126. My husband is 72, he has been collecting SSI since he was 62. he does not work. I am turning 66 end of Sept 2016. He is more than 4 years older than I am and I was born in September 1950. I am still working – and plan not to apply for my benefits until 70. If I understand what I have read on SS website – I can file for spousal benefits – do a restricted application – and not file for my benefits until 70,- is that correct?

    • Thank you for your question Pam. For clarification, there are no spousal benefits with SSI benefits, your husband must be entitled to retirement benefits if you want to apply for spouse’s benefits. Perhaps you meant Social Security Retirement Benefits. According to the new law, anyone who was at least 62 in 2015 can still file a “restricted claim” for spousal benefits after reaching their full retirement age (currently age 66) and wait to file for his or her own retirement benefits later (while earning Delayed Retirement Credits). We hope this helps.

  127. Hi Ray – Quick question for you on suspending benefits. Am I required to pay back all the benefits that I have received when I request to suspend retirement benefit payments? I will have reached my full retirement age and I will have been receiving benefits for more than 12 months when I make this request. The below SSA.gov link is confusing and I have heard that you are not required to pay back benefits with this suspension scenario.
    https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/suspend.html

    • Hi Marty! You are only required to repay all the benefits you received when you withdraw your application for retirement benefits. However, you cannot withdraw your application if 12 months or more have elapsed after you became entitled to retirement benefits.

    • Thank you for your question Billy. Remember that benefits paid through the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) are based on income and resources. Your income and resources can affect your SSI benefits. We conduct “redeterminations” periodically to identify SSI recipients who –at any time- are potentially eligible for any or other Social Security benefits on their own record and the records of others (e.g., retirement, or survivor’s benefits). If you qualify for other benefits, you need to apply as soon as you are eligible. Failure to apply for additional benefits will result in suspension or termination of their SSI benefits. We hope this information is helpful.

  128. Hey ray, I’m 64 and filing for SS now.. @1100 a month. if I get married next year will I be able to change and collect on my spouses SS when he files @66 in 3 years? And will I get 50% of his SS ?

    • Hi Joanne! Generally, you must be married for one year before you can get spouse’s benefits, and then you will have to -officially- apply for spouse’s benefits. To qualify for spouse’s benefits, your husband must be receiving retirement or disability benefits. When you qualify for Social Security benefits on your own record, we pay that amount first. But if you also qualify for a higher amount as a spouse later on, you’ll get a combination of benefits that equals that higher amount. Your benefit as a spouse can be equal to one-half of your husband’s full retirement amount only if you start receiving those benefits at your full retirement age. Visit our Retirement Planner: Benefits For You As A Spouse for more information. Thanks!

  129. I don’t intend to start collecting Social Security until I reach 70 in 2019. When I started Medicare, I paid $104 per month for part B in 2015. In 2016 that went to $121 with rumors that will increase to $149 next year. Those collecting Social Security and having Medicare deducted directly were held harmless, paying $104 in 2015 & 16 and probably will again in 2017. My question: when I start taking Social Security, will Medicare deduct the $149 or whatever amount at the time from my Social Security? Or revert to the 2015 amount when I first started Part A plus any COLA increases?

  130. I will be turning 66 next month and have not claimed ny Social Security benefits yet because I thought with my spouse still working I would be penalized with taxes due to his income, but someone recently told me a CPA had told him that was incorrect if I waited until full retirement age to claim my benefits. Can you tell me if this is true? I have no other income than my spouse’s support, and we file jointly for our taxes.

    • Hi Sandra, please visit our Frequently Asked Questions web page for information about paying taxes on Social Security benefits. For general tax questions, you will need to contact the IRS. Their toll-free number is 1-800-829-1040. We hope this helps.

  131. Hello there!

    How can I change my age to the correct age. I came from a country in which they don’t record the new born in the 1950’s. I was born around 1954/55, and in 1970 my parents decide to send me to school, and because I have no age record, the superintendent at primary school, told my father your son is very old and accepted age was 7 years old. And because we don’t have any record, my father had suggested to put as born in 1963, and that why they had decided to put it as 01/01/1963.

    I would like to know how can I resolve this issue.

    You clarification is greatly appreciated.
    Thank you,

  132. Hello,
    I want to confirm my understanding regarding early retire and delay benefits claim. Please point out if my thinking is correct:
    1. If I retire at 62, my benefit will be calculated based on tax I have paid until 62.
    2. If I start claim my benefits, the amount should be about 75% of that I retire at full age.
    3. If I don’t claim benefit and wait until age 66 (Full age), I will get 100% benefit. My question here: Does that mean I will get the same amount of money as I retire at 66? If not, How much?
    4. After age 66, if I still don’t claim benefit, my benefit will be increased 8% each year until 70. Question here: 8% increase is based on prior year amount (Calculated if not actually claimed).

    Please let me know if above is correct and answer my questions.
    Thank you!

    • Thank you for contacting us Wyne. The amount of the Social Security benefit you receive is established at the time you apply for retirement benefits. It is based on the amount of your average lifetime earnings and your age at the time you apply. Generally, we use the highest years of earnings to calculate your monthly benefit amount. If you start receiving retirement benefits at age 62, you will only get 75% of the full retirement benefit amount. To help you plan for the future, you can use our Retirement Planner and our online calculator where you can test various scenarios and retirement ages to estimate your benefits. You can also create a my Social Security account to review your earnings record, and the estimated Social Security and Medicare taxes you’ve paid. To find information related to Delayed Retirement Credits (DRC) click here. We hope this information helps.

      • Thanks, Ray
        I still want to know if I retire at 62, but start applying benefit at 66. Is the amount increased compared to the amount collect at 62?
        Wyne

        • Hi Wyne. You can start your Social Security retirement benefits as early as age 62 or as late as age 70. Your monthly benefit amount will be different depending on the age you start receiving it. If a person starts receiving retirement benefits at age 62 or any time prior to their full retirement age, their benefit amount is reduced. To discover your retirement options, please visit our Retirement Planner. If you have specific questions, please call our toll-free number at 1-800-772-1213 and speak to one of our representatives. Representatives are available Monday through Friday, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Thanks!

  133. My husband turned 65 in 2016, but started drawing SS early at 62. I am turning 66 in October and still working. I applied online for my retirement benefits to begin at full retirement. The Chicago office of SS called and gave me three options. One was to opt to start spousal benefits in 10/16 and to delay receipt of my own retirement benefits at full retirement age. She said I was entitled to wife’s benefits beginning at Oct 2016 of one half my husband’s benefits at his full retirement age.
    My local SS office cancelled my first application and reapplied for me. The new claim states “a previous application has been filed with the Social Security Administration by me. The remark section reads “I am filling for spousal benefits and delaying filing on my own record to earn delayed retirement credits. I wish to exclude retirement benefits from the scope of this application.”
    I received a letter approving the withdrawal claim for all social security retirement benefits. A few days later I received a letter confirming the spousal benefit. It said “This benefit is the only benefit you can receive from us at this time. In the future, if you think you might qualify for another benefit from us, you will need to apply again.”
    Am I going to have a problem in the future filing for my own benefits? Did the withdrawal of my first online application cause anything to change? Do I still qualify for a one time do-over in the next 12 months? In other words how did the new law affect my claim?

  134. I will turn 65 in January. My gross income is approx. $55,000. I plan to retire at the end of this year and draw my pension from my place of employment. When I turn 66 I will apply for Social Security. Will my 1 year of reduced income affect my Social Security earnings?

    • Your Retirement Benefits are based on the amount of your average lifetime earnings and your age at the time you apply. Generally, we use the highest years of earnings to calculate your monthly benefit amount. You can use our online calculator where you can test various scenarios and retirement ages to estimate your benefits. You can also create a my Social Security account to review estimates of your retirement, disability, and survivors benefits, your earnings record, and the estimated Social Security and Medicare taxes you’ve paid. We hope this information helps.

  135. My father had an accident on his job and he was injured. He was put on disability payments. He turned 70 years old in 2016. How come he was not eligible to receive more money when he turned this age?

    • Hi Tonya. If your father received disability benefits under the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program, we automatically converted his disability benefits to retirement benefits, when he attained his full retirement age (currently 66). The benefit amount remains the same at the time of the conversion.

  136. I was born in 1950 and turned 66 in July, 2016. I do not plan to file for SS on my own record before I turn 70 as I am still working. I was married for over 30 years. My ex husband turns 66 this week and plans to retire in Feb, 2017. Can I file on his record without interfering with the benefit I would receive on my own record at 70? Can I file on his record before he retires? I understand that, when I file on my own record at age 70, my benefit will be adjusted against the amount I receive on his record.

    • Thank you for contacting us Kathy. If you are divorced, but your marriage lasted 10 years or longer, you can receive benefits on your ex-spouse’s record, as long as you meet the other eligibility requirements. If your ex-husband has not applied for retirement benefits, but can qualify for them, you can apply and receive benefits on his record, if you have been divorced for at least two years. In your case, since you have already reached your full retirement age (66), you may also restrict your application to apply only for divorced spouse’s benefits and delay filing for your own retirement in order to earn delayed retirement credits. You can apply for Divorced Spouse’s benefits online or you can call our toll free number at 1-800-772-1213. Representatives are available Monday through Friday, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.

  137. My father passed away in 2004 and my mother never applied yet for his social security benefits. She just turned 70 this year. Can she go back and get his benefits from all that time ago

    • Thank you for your question David. A widow of a person who worked long enough under Social Security can be eligible for benefits at age 60 (age 50 if disabled). Generally, we allow retro-activity payments up to six months for retirement and survivor claimants, only after the applicant has reached his or her full retirement age. If your mother needs information about possible survivor benefits, or to find out if she qualifies for benefits, she can call our toll-free number 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778). Representatives are available between 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, but you will generally have a shorter wait time if you call later in the week. We hope this helps!

  138. I started receiving social security at 62 two years ago. My husband will be 66 next year. Can I receive spousal benefits then? Does he need to retire or can he suspend in order for me to claim spousal benefits which would be much higher than my own?

    • Hi Marie. Your husband would have to be receiving retirement or disability benefits in order for you to receive benefits on his record. Also, under the new law, your husband could still voluntarily suspend his benefit payments at his full retirement age (currently 66) in order to earn higher benefits for delaying. But during a voluntary suspension, other benefits payable on his record, such as spouse’s benefits for you, are also suspended. Please call our toll-free number at 1-800-772-1213 for further assistance. Representatives are available between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., Monday through Friday but you will generally have a shorter wait time if you call later in the day, or later in the week. Thanks.

  139. I would like to get my social security under my ex-spouses social security. Does he have to be receiving social security before I can file for it under him?

  140. I started SS benefits last year at 70.
    My wife was born in 1953.
    How soon (at what age), under the revised SSA law, can she begin spousal benefits using the “spousal exemption”?

  141. If an individual is eligible to receive spouse’s benefit only while delaying their own retirement benefit until a later date must the application be the first application to be filed and not have previously filed for his own benefits? If this is true explain.

    • Unfortunately we are unable to recognize the basis of your inquiry. Please feel free to elaborate or call our toll free number at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) Monday through Friday, between 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. to speak to one of our representatives. Thanks!

  142. I am 70 years old my husband is 69. He waited until full retirement age to collect SS. We have been married for 24 years. He has a x wife they were married 17 years. Do we both get his SS if he dies? We are in Wisconsin.

    • Thank you for your question Diane. Yes, a surviving divorced spouse could get benefits just the same as a widow, if he or she meets all of the eligibility requirements. Benefits paid to a surviving divorced spouse won’t affect the benefit rates for other survivors getting benefits on the worker’s record.

  143. I’m age 60 on SS disability my wife is age 64 a retired teacher in Ct Can she get medicare parts A&B through me and when can she start ??

  144. Im 49 and on Social Security disability. my husband is working and will continue to work to full retirement age. when he retires will I be able to file under him to get more money because he worked more than me ? and will I be able to collect widow’s pension when he passes

  145. I have a question…..I started on Survivor’s Benefits at age 60. Can I switch to my Social Security record at age 70? I understand that it increases at 8% per year until age 70.
    Thanks for a reply.

    • Hello Della. If a person receives widow’s or widower’s benefits, and will qualify for a retirement benefit that’s more than their survivors benefit, they can switch to their own retirement benefit as early as age 62 or as late as age 70. Social Security retirement benefits are increased by a certain percentage (depending on your date of birth) if you delay your retirement beyond your full retirement age. If you delay your retirement benefits until after your full retirement age, you also may be eligible for delayed retirement credits. The yearly rate of increase for those born in 1943 or later is 8%. The rules can seem complicated and vary depending on the situation, so talk to a Social Security representative about the options available.

  146. We are so confused… My wife has been on SSDI since 2009 and we just got married in 2014. 1.Would suspending her SSDI, benefit us? 2. Will she be eligible for my benefits,if I passed? 3. Will I be able to retire at 67 or will I be forced to retire at 62 because of her disability changing to retirement at 62?

  147. My daughter will be 17 years old at the time that her father turns 62 in February of 2017. We won’t know if he has applied for retirement benefits because he ‘disappeared’ in 2006 (and hasn’t paid court-ordered child support since that time). Should I try applying for dependent benefits for our daughter after his 62nd birthday or will any potential dependent benefit be automatically denied because we lack knowledge of his whereabouts or because he quit supporting our children in 2006? (He is also the father of our sons, aged 18 and 20, who I understand are too old to be eligible for dependent benefits.)
    Also, is there any possibility of getting unpaid child support garnisheed from a Social Security retirement benefit?

    • I am so sorry Donna, he has to look at himself everyday knowing he abandoned his family.. My heart goes out to you. I believe Social Security knows exactly where he is… He must be working so he pays into it!

      • Thank you for your comment. I just don’t know why some parents can walk away from their own children and never make an attempt to reestablish a relationship with them. Fortunately, most children have at least one parent who determines to stick it out and experience all the sorrows and joys of raising the children to be decent, respectable people.

    • Thank you for contacting us Donna. Eligible children can receive benefits from a parent who is currently receiving Social Security benefits. You can contact us and try to apply for benefits for your daughter. We may need to see certain documents in order to pay benefits, and you will need to provide us with basic information about your daughter and her father. In some cases we may be able to help you verify information needed to establish benefits. State laws determine a valid garnishment order. See our Frequent Asked Questions web page for more information. We hope this helps.

      • Yes, your response was very helpful and I appreciate your timely reply. I’ll check with Social Security in February. In the meantime, I’ll contact the Florida Department of Revenue to determine how to proceed with this new possibility for collecting the unpaid child support. Thank you.

  148. My husband retired at age 59 with a full state pension. Prior to working for the state he paid into social security. His social security benefit was eliminated due to the new laws and the amount of his pension. Shortly after he retired he went back to work at a non-profit facility and social security taxes are still deducted from his pay even though he is not eligible to collect social security benefits. Why then does he still have to pay into social security? I am the same age as him and not yet retired. I paid into social security for many years and I was eligible for benefits but since I have now been working for the past 20 years where I will receive a teachers pension when I eventually retire, (and again due to the size of my husband’s pension,) my social security benefit will be reduced to next to nothing. I do not understand the logic in this. How can something be considered double dipping when the taxes were deducted from all our wages for all the years we have worked? People who never worked a day in their life and their kids receive benefits from social security without ever putting a dime into the system! I realize we will receive the social security benefit of medicaid when we are age 65, but again, we have always paid for our insurance benefits and still are while others pay nothing and never have so we have earned our medicaid benefit when we get to that age and that still does not justify our not receiving monetary social security benefits! So my question is-why should my husband still have to pay into social security? He would have been eligible for medicaid when he turns 65 whether he took this after retirement job or not -which he took to pay for college for our children because we feel it is our responsibility to pay for their education and since we actually work for a living no one would be giving it to them for nothing anyway! It just seems that the harder and longer you work the more the government takes advantage of you and the less you do the more that is handed out to you for doing nothing!

    • Thank you for your comment Jeri. Under current law, everyone working in covered employment or self-employment regardless of age or eligibility for benefits must pay Social Security taxes.
      Also, a pension based on work that is not covered by Social Security (for example, Federal civil service and some State or local government agencies) can affect your Social Security benefits. Your own Social Security benefit can be reduced based on the Windfall Elimination Provision. Your spouse’s, divorced spouse’s, surviving divorced spouse’s or widow’s benefits under Social Security may be affected by the Government Pension Offset.

  149. My mom is having a GOOD DEAL of difficulty sorting through the details of trying to make certain that she and my dad will have enough income once she officially retires. She has spoken to the local SS office and even set up an appt. and went in person, but received very different details each time. She cannot keep taking off from work to go to that office, especially if she is not going to get direct answers. She turned 65 last month, and wanted to start collecting SS in January and applied to do so (but was just told she can’t – the information she initially received was incorrect). My initial question on her behalf is: what is the maximum number of hours she can work and still collect SS? Also, is there a more educated expert that she can speak to during her lunch hour without giving up that entire hour waiting to speak to someone / get answers? We live in PA…
    Thank you so much for any help you can provide!

    • Thank you for contacting us Carolyn. Your mother could get Social Security retirement benefits and work at the same time. However, there are some restrictions as to how much she can make, depending in her age. If she is younger than full retirement age (currently 66), and makes more than the yearly earnings limit, we will reduce her benefit. For 2016 the yearly limit is $15,720. For 2017 the limit will be $16,920. See “What happens if I work and get Social Security retirement benefits” and read our publication How Work Affects Your Benefits for more information. As a reminder, your mother may need to sign up for Medicare at age 65, even if she continues to work. She can apply for Medicare-Only or for retirement benefits online.
      For specific questions about her situation, your mother can call our toll free number at 1-800-772-1213. Representatives are available Monday through Friday between 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. Generally, you’ll have a shorter wait time if you call later in the day or later in the week. Thanks!

  150. How do you advise someone who learns for the first time at the age of 55 that they have not accumulated enough credits to qualify for benefits at any age because they have never paid into the program and were never technically married?

    The only thing I could think to do was to advise the US Citizen and taxpayer in question to go get a job for 10 years making at least $6,000 per year.

    • Thank you for trying to help John. Generally, individuals need 40 credits (10 years of work) to qualify for Social Security benefits. Individuals can earn up to a maximum of four credits per year. In 2016, you receive one credit for each $1,260 of earnings. Each year the amount of earnings needed for credits goes up slightly as average earnings levels increase. In 2017, you’ll need to make $1,300 to earn one credit. Also, to get survivors or spouses benefits you generally must live in a state that recognizes common-law marriage. Social Security follows the state laws. So, individuals in these situations, should check the laws in their state of residence. We hope this information helps.

  151. my wife applied for spousal social security benefits at age 61, as to care for our two adopted children, under the age of 16. Can she re apply for benefits under her own earning when she turns 62. All three are receiving benefits under my record earnings. her current amount is $303 per month, but can qualify for a higher amount at age 62 on her earnings.

    • Yes, if your wife is eligible for a retirement benefit based on her own earnings, and if that benefit is higher than the spousal benefit she is currently receiving, then we pay the retirement benefit. She will have to contact us and file a new application. Our system is set up to take applications three months in advance, and individuals can now apply online, by phone or in person at any Social Security office. She can call our toll free number at 1-800-772-1213 for further assistance. Representatives are available Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. We hope this helps!

  152. I’m turning 62 at the end of 2017 and am wondering if I can start collecting benefits in January of 2017. I’d also like to know how spousal benefits work. Specifically, does my wife have to also be at least 62 years of age to collect this and would my benefit be reduced since she’s collecting from my work record. She has only worked part time and only for the last few years so has very little in the way of work credits.

    • Thank you for contacting us Joe. The earliest age you can apply for reduced retirement benefits is 62. You must be age 62 for the entire month to receive benefits. When you apply for your retirement benefits, your wife may be eligible for a benefit based on your earnings record. However, she must also be at least age 62 to qualify. Benefits paid to your spouse will not decrease your retirement benefit. We suggest you create a My Social Security account to review your earnings record and get an estimate of your future benefits. We hope this information helps!

  153. My spouse and I were both born in 1952. I turn 64 this month, continue to work, and intend to defer Social Security benefits until age 66. My Social Security benefits are estimated at $2612 a month at full retirement.
    My wife is the lower-earning spouse, no longer working, already 64, and qualifies for Social Security based on her work record. Her Social Security benefits are estimated at $708 at age 64.
    My questions are in regard to the following scenario. My wife begins drawing Social Security benefits of $708 a month on her work record now. Two years later when I reach full retirement age I begin drawing Social Security benefits of $2612 a month on my work record. Then my wife having also reached her full retirement age files an application for the spousal benefit.
    In this scenario will she receive her own benefit portion of $708 plus $598 based on my earnings record — for a total spousal benefit of $1,306?
    Understanding that we both miss the additional age related increases; does this scenario cause either of our benefits to be reduced in any other way?

    • Thank you for your question Mr. Crawley. If your wife begins to receive benefits at age 64 or prior to her full retirement age, her benefits are reduced. Keep in mind that the reduction factors are permanently applied to all of the benefits she may qualify for. When you apply for your benefits at full retirement age, we will also check to see if your wife is eligible for a higher benefit amount on your record. If the benefit on your record is higher, she will get an additional amount on your record so that the combination of benefits equals that higher amount. She will have to file a new application to receive Spouse’s Benefits. If you have more questions, please call our toll free number at 1-800-772-1213, Monday through Friday, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. and speak with one of our representatives. Generally, you will have a shorter wait time if you call later during the week or later during the day. We hope this helps.

  154. My spouse started collecting SS retirement benefits at age 62. Will she still be able to switch to spousal benefit when i reach full retirement age under the new rules?

    • Thank you for your question Tom. When you apply for your benefits at full retirement age, we will also check to see if your wife is eligible for a higher benefit amount on your record. If the benefit on your record is higher, she will get an additional amount on your record so that the combination of benefits equals that higher amount. She will have to file a new application to receive Spouse’s Benefits. For information about the new changes in the law, please visit Recent Social Security Claiming Changes and our Retirement Planner.We hope this information helps.

  155. Hello. My wife and I are going through a Legal Separation – not a divorce. Currently I have to pay for my health care through SS due to my wife making too much money. Once we are legally separated, does her income still affect me? Will the state then take over and not make me pay each month?

    • Thank you for contacting us Chad. Unfortunately and because of security reasons we do not have access to personal records in this blog and cannot answer your question at this time. In your situation, it is best to call our toll-free number at: 1-800-772-1213 and speak to one of our representatives. Representatives are available Monday through Friday, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Or contact your local Social Security office directly.

      • I thought it was a pretty general question. Will her income still affect me if we are legally separated or do we have to be divorced. I don’t need anyone to look at my information.

  156. does a survivor’s benefit (age 69) amount include the spouse’s delayed retirement credits who did not claim until age 70, or is the benefit only calculated on the amount earned at full retirement age? Ex: at age 70 husband SS is $3000, at age 66 it was $2200. Does the surviving wife (including her own lesser SS) receive the $3000 or the $2200?

  157. I am 38 yrs old. Married for 10 yrs 11 months. And divorce for almost 2 yrs. My ex spouse he already get his SS pension because he is 62 yrs. And my daughter getting a pension too because she’s under 18. Do I in titled to my ex spouse pension now? Or I have to wait till I turn 62?

  158. Question. My father-in-law just passed away. He was full retirement age and was receiving full benefits. His wife doesn’t turn 66 till January. Can she delay her benefits, take the full survivor benefit until she’s 70, then switch to take hers instead?

    • Sorry to hear about your loss, Jesse. If your mother-in-law has yet to file for retirement benefits, she absolutely can file for widow’s benefits first and delay filing for retirement benefits up to age 70, when she would receive the maximum delayed retirement credits. For more information, please check out our Retirement Planner: Other things To Consider. We hope this helps.

      • Thank you very much. She turns 66 in January–but I don’t want her to miss November or December payments. Will she be eligible for 100% of spouse benefits, lets say next week when she is ready to go?

        • Hi Jesse. Your mother in law can get widow’s benefits now. However, she attains her full retirement age in January, at age 66. This is when she can –potentially- receive her full widow’s benefit. At this time, we do not offer an online application for survivor’s benefits. We recommend that she contacts her local Social Security office as soon as possible. An appointment is not required, but if she calls ahead and schedules one, she will establish “protective filing” for benefits and it may also reduce the time she spends waiting to speak to someone. She can call our toll free number at 1-800-772-1213. Representatives are available Monday through Friday, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Please read our publication: How Social Security Can Help You When a Family Member Dies for more information.

          • In most cases, the funeral home will report the person’s death to Social Security. If she has the death certificate, she should bring it with her. Click here to see what other documents she may need to provide. We hope this helps.

  159. November 30th I was reading on the http://www.socialsecurity.gov site a Social Security Administration publication titled “Thinking of Retiring” under a section labeled “Retirement age considerations” it states: If your full retirement age is 66, benefits will be reduced:
    25 percent at age 62;
    20 percent at age 63;
    13 1/3 percent at age 64;
    6 2/3 percent at age 65.
    Does this mean that at age 62 my monthly payment would be 25% less until I reached the age of 66 and then my at 66 I would then begin to get the full retirement amount? And then at age 70 I would get another increase? Or would I get the 25% reduced monthly payment until I no longer was alive? (example 90 years of age)

    Thanks in advance for taking the time to read my post as well as locating an answer and replying.

    • Hi Sonny Lee.The reduction factors are permanently applied to all benefits an individual may qualify for once they opt to start benefits at age 62 or at any time prior to their full retirement age.

  160. I am currently 65, my full retirement age is 66. I began taking ss on my record at age 62. My husband took his at age 64. I understand that both of us took reductions on our payments. My husband recently died, and I want to start collecting on his record instead because it is higher. However, I have read something that stated that in order for me to collect widow’s benefits of the total (reduced amount) that he has been receiving on his account I must wait until MY full retirement age to apply to start collecting on his record and quit collecting on mine. They said that if I switch to collecting on his record before my full retirement age I will not receive that full monthly amount that he was receiving at the time of his death.Is this correct? I really don’t want to miss out on the additional money from now until I reach 66 (5 months) however, I do not want to take a reduced amount of what he was collecting — I’d rather wait the 5 months to get the full amount that he was collecting. HELP?!

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