On todays show, Marc and Jim review a handful of situations surviving spouses are encountering as they consider retirement strategies.
2:06 – Martha is age 59 with a PIA of $1,000. Her husband recently passed away at age 62. His death PIA per SSA is $2,400. Martha is confused regarding her Social Security options. She has enough work on her own to take her own benefit, although it would be a higher amount using her husband’s work record, which she can take as early as age 60(reduced by 28.5%). If she would like to wait until Full Retirement Age(or Full Benefit Age) to receive the full benefit, she can file on her own work record early to receive her own reduced benefit. One additional factor to consider is that if she is still working, the Annual Earnings Test(AET) will apply.
7:13 – Sam passed away leaving behind his wife, Chloe, and a 7 year old son, Charlie. Chloe heard about the child in care benefit but does not understand if she qualifies. As Charlie is unmarried and under the age of 18, he is eligible for his own benefits, and Chloe is eligible for child-in-care benefits until he reaches age 16. Chloe, (and Charlie), are both subject to the Annual Earnings Test which may reduce or complete offset her benefit.
10:39 – Sue is age 63 and has a PIA of $1,250. Her husband passed away a year ago. His death benefit is $2,300. Sue is working with an annual salary of $25,000. She was not sure about her options, or the impact of her earnings on her widow or retirement benefits. She can file on her own now, and wait until Full Benefit Age to take her survivor benefit; or she can take the survivor benefit right away.
14:54 – Sid’s wife passed away a couple years ago. He is now age 64 and did not realize that he could have begun receiving a widower benefit sooner. He wants to file an application to claim benefits effective two years ago when his wife passed away. He learned that there is a 6 month retroactive rule, but does not understand if it applies to him. Unfortunately for Sid, the retroactive benefit does NOT apply because he is not yet Full Retirement Age.
16:12 – Claire’s ex husband passed away in January at age 62. Claire is age 61 and wants to begin benefits. She is working and her earnings are around $50,000 a year. She contacted SSA at 800 772 1213 to apply for widow benefits. Claire was asked about her earnings. She is not a happy camper! Technically, Clair IS eligible for surviving divorced spousal benefits (married 10+ years, over age 60), but the Annual Earnings Test will probably wipe out her entire benefit due to her annual income being so high. The amount of offset depends on the amount of eligible benefits.
Tune in to find out!