Were Social Security Spousal Benefits Really Eliminated In 2016?


At present’s column addresses questions on whether or not spousal advantages can nonetheless be accessible, how survivor advantages are calculated when there are a number of spouses, eligibility for spousal advantages and the way SSA views partnerships when figuring out spousal profit eligibility. Larry Kotlikoff is a Professor of Economics at Boston College and the founder and president of Financial Safety Planning, Inc, which markets Maximize My Social Safety and MaxiFi Planner.

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Have Social Safety questions of your personal youd like answered? Ask Larry about Social Safety right here.


Have been Social Safety Spousal Advantages Actually Eradicated In 2016?

Hello Larry, Once I went to the SSA workplace to use for spousal advantages, I used to be advised they had been eradicated in 2016 so I utilized for my retirement advantages by myself document after I turned 66. Did the spousal profit get eradicated or was I given unhealthy information? My husband began advantages at his full retirement age of 66. I attempted to get spousal profit after I was 64 however they mentioned he needed to file for his retirement profit first. Thanks, Mary

Hello Mary, Spousal advantages have not been eradicated. What modified in 2016 is that folks born after 1/1/1954 can now not file for spousal advantages with out additionally being required to file for their very own retirement advantages on the identical time. Even earlier than 2016 and no matter when an individual was born, although, they could not declare spousal advantages previous to full retirement age (FRA) with out additionally being required to file for their very own advantages on the identical time.

If you file for each your personal retirement advantages and spousal advantages, you possibly can solely be paid basically the upper of the 2 profit charges. And in case you begin drawing previous to FRA, your profit fee is diminished for age. Finest, Larry


Will My Mother’s Survivor Price Go Up Now That My Dad’s Second Spouse Has Died?

Hello Larry, My dad married my mother, had an affair and remarried. My mother is getting divorced spousal advantages and his new spouse was getting spousal advantages on his document as effectively. My dad handed final yr and his new spouse simply handed just a few months in the past. Will my mother’s profit enhance now since shes the only real survivor? Thanks, Invoice

Hello Invoice, If a couple of partner or divorced partner is drawing advantages on the account of a employee, their profit fee will not be affected by the opposite partner or divorced partner’s eligibility. So your mom’s profit fee will not go up on account of your father’s widow’s dying as a result of your mom’s fee wasn’t adversely affected by the truth that your father’s different partner was beforehand drawing advantages based mostly on his document.

Unreduced spousal or divorced spousal advantages payable on the account of a dwelling employee are calculated based mostly on 50% of the employee’s main insurance coverage quantity (PIA). That fee is not diminished even when a partner and a number of other divorced wives are drawing advantages on the employee’s document.

If the employee dies, a widow and any variety of surviving divorced spouses who qualify for advantages on the deceased employee’s document may be paid as much as the upper of the employee’s full profit fee or 82.5% of the employee’s PIA. And their profit charges usually are not affected by the truth that one other partner or former partner is likely to be amassing survivor advantages on the identical time.

When your father died, each his widow’s profit fee and your mom’s profit fee ought to have been elevated in the event that they had been beforehand drawing advantages as a partner and divorced partner. However the dying of your father’s widow would don’t have any impression in your mom’s profit fee. Finest, Larry


Am I Eligible For Spousal Advantages?

Hello Larry, My husband is 74 and receives a $2,000 Social Safety retirement profit and in addition a pension. I’m 74 and I obtain a $500 Social Safety profit and a county authorities pension. We began receiving Social Safety at 62. I did not learn about spousal advantages. Am I eligible for spousal advantages since my husband’s retirement profit is larger than mine? Thanks, Cindy

Hello Cindy, Whether or not or not you could possibly be paid spousal advantages probably is determined by the quantity of your county pension. If an individual receives a pension based mostly on their earnings from a authorities company the place they did not pay Social Safety taxes, then any spousal or survivor advantages for which they’d in any other case qualify would probably be offset by 2/3rds of the quantity of their authorities pension. That is as a result of Authorities Pension Offset (GPO) provision.

So if 2/3rds of your county pension is greater than the quantity of your potential extra spousal profit, then your spousal profit fee could be diminished to zero except you meet an exception to GPO. Your potential unreduced extra spousal fee previous to offset could be calculated by subtracting your main insurance coverage quantity (PIA) from 50% of your husband’s PIA. An individual’s PIA is the same as their Social Safety retirement profit fee if they begin drawing at full retirement age (FRA). Finest, Larry


Does Social Safety See State Partnerships The Identical Manner As Conventional Marriages For Profit Functions?

Hello Larry, I used to be married for 35 years earlier than we divorced. I’m now in an official authorized Washington state partnership. Does Social Safety sees state partnerships the identical manner as conventional marriages for advantages functions? Additionally, I’m already receiving advantages after FRA. She is making use of for advantages as of December 2020 after her FRA. If I cross, will she obtain larger advantages? Thanks, Rod

Hello Rod, Social Safety would not view home partnerships the identical as a wedding for profit functions. Social Safety acknowledges state regulation when figuring out whether or not or not an individual is or has been legally married, so you possibly can usually solely qualify for spousal, divorced spousal, widow(er), or surviving divorced spousal advantages based mostly on a non-marital relationship if the connection is assessed as a authorized conjugal relationship underneath state regulation. I am not an knowledgeable on the varied state legal guidelines, so I can not inform you whether or not or not your partnership will rely as a wedding for Social Safety functions.

Whether or not or not your companion may qualify for spousal advantages if she meets the wedding requirement is determined by your relative profit charges. Assuming that your companion was born after January 1 1954, she may solely qualify for spousal advantages if 50% of your main insurance coverage quantity (PIA) is larger than her personal PIA. An individual’s PIA is the same as their Social Safety retirement profit fee if they begin drawing at full retirement age (FRA). Finest, Larry




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