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Even singles workers may opt for Start Stop Start to help with their cash flow problems. Nonetheless, this may still be the best strategy. This reflects another Gotcha explained in 8. This difference is called the excess spousal benefit. The total benefit your spouse will receive is her retirement benefit, inclusive of any reduction, due to taking benefits early, or increment, due to taking benefits late, plus the excess spousal benefit.

Take Sue and Sam. Suppose they are both 62 and a Sue opts to take her retirement benefit early and b Sam opts to file and suspend at full retirement and take his retirement benefit at Now when Sue reaches age 66, she starts to collect an unreduced spousal benefit because Sam has qualified her to do so by filing and suspending for his retirement benefit. Sue ends up getting a total benefit equal to her own reduced retirement benefit plus her unreduced excess spousal benefit. The last two terms add to something negative.

It sure seems that way because when the spouse is collecting a retirement benefit, the excess spousal benefit potentially reduced for taking spousal benefits early comes into play. Note, the spouse has to collect a retirement benefit before full retirement age if she applies for her spousal benefit. The answer, in fact, is no. There is only one formula. The formula for the spousal benefit is always the excess benefit formula.

In other words, your Primary Insurance Amount is viewed as non-existant until you apply for a retirement benefit. But there are, in effect, two spousal benefit formulas and which one you — the person who will collect a spousal benefit — faces will depend on whether or not you take your retirement benefit early. If you are divorced, both you and your ex can collect spousal benefits on each others work histories after full retirement age while still postponing taking your own retirement benefits until, say, age 70, when they are as high as can be.

This is an advantage for divorcees.

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There is no advantage to waiting to start collecting spousal benefits after you reach your full retirement age. There is no advantage to waiting to start collecting survivor benefits after you reach your full retirement age. If you wait to collect your retirement benefit after you reach your full retirement age, but before you hit age 70, you have to wait until the next January to see your full delayed retirement credit show up in your monthly check.

Millions of Baby Boomers can significantly raise their retirement benefits by continuing to work in their sixties. This may also significantly raise the spousal, child, and mother and father benefits their relatives collect. Consequently, you should not be too concerned about working too much and losing your benefits if you elected to take them early. So there may be a significant advantage in a withdrawing from your tax-deferred accounts after you retire, but before you start collecting Social Security, b using up your tax-deferred accounts before you withdraw from your Roth accounts, and c converting your tax-deferred accounts to Roth IRA holdings after or even before you retire, but before you start collecting Social Security.

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This produces benefit estimates that can, for younger people, be significantly less than what they are most likely to receive. The Windfall Elimination Provision affects how the amount of your retirement or disability benefit is calculated if you receive a pension from work where Social Security taxes were not taken out of your pay, such as a government agency or an employer in another country, and you also worked in other jobs long enough to qualify for a Social Security retirement or disability benefit. A modified formula is used to calculate your benefit amount, resulting in a lower Social Security benefit than you otherwise would receive.

If you have children, because you started having children late or adopted young children later in life, they can collect child benefits through and including age 17 or age 19 if they are still in secondary school if you or your spouse or you ex spouse are collecting retirement benefits.

If you have children who are eligible to collect benefits because your spouse or ex spouse is collecting retirement benefits, you can collect mother or father benefits until your child reaches age Your children can receive survivor benefits if your spouse or ex-spouse died and they are under age 18 or age 19 if they are still in secondary school. You can collect mother or father benefits if you spouse or ex-spouse died and you have children of your spouse or your ex-spouse who are under age There is a maximum family benefit that applies to the total benefits to you, your spouse, and your children that can be received on your earnings record.

If you choose to file and suspend in order to enable your spouse to collect a spousal benefit on your earnings record while you delay taking your benefit in order to collect a higher one later, make sure you pay your Medicare Part B premiums out of your own pocket i. The disadvantage arises with respect to Medicare Part B premiums.

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If you collecting benefits actually were collecting them last year , the increase in the Medicare premium this year will be limited to the increase in your Social Security check. So much for helping the government limit its Medicare spending! The thresholds beyond which first 50 percent and then 85 percent of your Social Security benefits are subject to federal income taxation are explicitly NOT indexed for inflation.

Hence, eventually all Social Security recipients will be tax on 85 percent of their Social Security benefits. Read Dec 16 Giuliani: Watch Dec 15 Nils Lofgren: Watch Dec 14 How a 7-year-old migrant girl died while in U.

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Read May 22 Democrats propose funding teacher pay raises by canceling tax cuts for the wealthy. Arts Poetry Now Read This. World Agents for Change. About Feedback Funders Support Jobs. My survivor benefit is almost triple this amount. And even if you wait until you are 70 to collect your retirement benefit, when it will be as large as possible, it will, it seems, still be below your widows benefit.

Had you been able to get by on just your own retirement benefit, it would have been best, in your case, to have started your retirement benefit at age 62 and your widows benefit at full retirement age, when it would have been as large as possible.

Between 62 and full retirement age, you would have received the larger of either your retirement benefit and, well nothing, because you would not yet have taken your widows benefit. Wish I had better news, but Social Security forces people to pay FICA taxes for their entire working lives and often, as in your case, gives them nothing in exchange for all those contributions because of their receipt of a larger ancillary benefit.

This is like a company telling a widow that it canceled her pension because her husband died and left her life insurance. It has been my sole source of income since that time. How would I determine at what age I would maximize my lifetime benefits from Social Security? I assume I will live to be 90, the same age at which both of my parents died. At your full retirement age 66 and 10 months , your disability benefit will automatically convert into your retirement benefit unless you withdraw it.

The only thing that will change is the name of the benefit. If collecting on an ex, you need to have been married at least 10 years. If there is a spouse or ex-spouse on which you can collect and you do withdraw, you can restart your own retirement benefit at a roughly 25 percent larger value at age If you restart it before age 70, it will receive fewer delayed retirement credits , but it will still be larger than it was when you reached full retirement age. Delayed retirement credits are allocated on a monthly basis, but add up to an 8 percent increase per year.

If you suspend, rather than withdraw your retirement benefit when you reach full retirement age, you can also accrued delayed retirement credits, which will kick in when you restart your benefit. An advantage of suspending, rather than withdrawing your retirement benefit, is that you can, if you need a major cash infusion in the case of an emergency, request all your suspended benefits be repaid in a lump sum.

Doing so will entail giving up your delayed retirement credits going forward, however. But suspending, as opposed to withdrawing your retirement benefit, will preclude your collecting the aforementioned full spousal or widower benefits based on your current or ex-spouse s. Douglas — Ashtaula, Ohio: Am I correct that if I wait to age 70 to claim Social Security benefits there are no limits on what I can earn by continuing to work after that?

Even for those under full retirement age, the earnings test can be far less of an issue than is commonly believed. Thanks to the ARF, Social Security bumps up your benefit to fully compensate you in the future for benefits lost in the past due to your having earned too much money.

The reason is that Social Security only pays the larger or something quite close to the larger of the two benefits. I am 63 and working, widowed 20 years ago. My husband was retired and collecting Social Security. I did collect survivor benefits for our young son, but my own survivor benefits were suspended because I was earning too much.

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Your widows benefit will then be bumped up at full retirement age 66 in your case based on any months of benefits lost due to the earnings test. This is done via the adjustment of the reduction factor. You are making a high salary now, but that may not have been the case in the past. And your husband may have been a high earner before he passed away. With sophisticated software, you can also see whether continuing to work for more years will raise your lifetime Social Security benefits and, if so, by how much.

Gloria — Wenatchee, Wash.: My husband Earl had to take an early retirement at the age of 54 because he had a stroke, and also started receiving his Social Security then. He died five years ago at the age of I am 59 now and have always heard I have to be either disabled or 60 to receive his Social Security benefits. Yes, you need to be disabled to collect widows benefits early indeed, as early as age However, if you take your widows benefit then, it will be reduced. This may, nonetheless, be the optimal thing to do depending on your own work record.

My late husband and I were married for 36 years when he passed away in at the age of