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R. Klein, EA
R. Klein, EA, Accountant
Category: Social Security
Satisfied Customers: 3375
Experience:  Tax & Social Security Benefits specialist
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My husband is deceased. Can I take my SS now that Im 62 and

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My husband is deceased. Can I take my SS now that I'm 62 and get his when I turn 65

R. Klein, EA :

Hello and thanks for your SS question today.

R. Klein, EA :

You may choose to take your retirement benefit early starting at Age 62, although your monthly benefit will be reduced about 30% for your lifetime if you start early.

R. Klein, EA :

If you wait until Age 66, you will qualify for your full retirement benefit

R. Klein, EA :

No matter when you start, you may always choose the HIGHER of your own earned benefit or 50% of your spouse's earned benefit

Customer:

I knew that. What Im asking is will SS allow me to use my SS and then when I turn 66 switch to his SS

R. Klein, EA :

If you start at Age 62 with your benefit and switch at a later age (which really makes no sense), you will always have a reduced benefit because you started the retirement program before Age 66.

R. Klein, EA :

If you did what you are suggesting and 50% of his benefit is higher than 100% of yours, then you would be missing out on some money for 4 years.

Customer:

I still think your missing my ?. I want to use "both" mine and deceased husbands SS benefits. Can I start with my SS now and then stop my SS and claim my husbands when I turn 66?

R. Klein, EA :

Right. I got it.

R. Klein, EA :

OK, so let's pretend your benefit is $500 starting at Age 62, but 50% of your spouse's is $600.

R. Klein, EA :

You want to switch 4 years later to his $600.

R. Klein, EA :

But you could have the $600 now at Age 62. Why would you want to have the lower amount for 4 years?

R. Klein, EA :

The benefit amount of your deceased spouse will NOT grow over the 4 years. (not including Cost of Living adjustments- COLA)

Customer:

If he were alive his SS at 66 would around 1200. I wouldnt get that full amount if I were 66? Or doesnt my age matter when applying for survivor benefits

R. Klein, EA :

You can never get BOTH benefits combined at ANY time.

R. Klein, EA :

Your age matters when you START your benefit. If you start at Age 62, your monthly benefit is reduced 30% over your benefit if you wait 4 more years.

R. Klein, EA :

Imagine your benefits only for a moment

R. Klein, EA :

You may qualify for $900 a month at Age 66.

R. Klein, EA :

If you start at 62, that $900 is only $600 a month.

Customer:

I understand that. I'll state it another way. If I only apply for survivor benefits does it matter at what age I apply? would I get more $ is I applied at 66 rather than 62 (husbands benefit only)

R. Klein, EA :

HIS benefit for you, should you WAIT until age 66 might be $700 a month.

R. Klein, EA :

if you start on HIS benefit now, you might only qualify for $500 a month.

R. Klein, EA :

You get a reduction for LIFE no matter WHOSE benefit base is used if you start your benefits before 66

R. Klein, EA :

Your benefit is based on actuarial tables based on the AGE YOU START your benefit, no matter what kind of benefit it is.

R. Klein, EA :

The LONGER you delay, the larger the monthly benefit grows

Customer:

So can apply for mine now and then when I turn 66, can I drop mine and take my husbands?

R. Klein, EA :

Apparently, my explanation is not getting through because you are expecting me to tell you that you can get more benefits by switching to your spouse's base benefit at a later date. I'm trying to tell you that it does not work that way.

Customer:

Ok thank you

Customer:

That's what I wanted to know

R. Klein, EA :

Sure you can do what you suggest, but you are cutting out some benefits you are entitled to.

R. Klein, EA :

Your BETTER strategy is to start taking your SPOUSE's benefit while yours GROWS up until you turn Age 70 (assuming your 100% benefit will be larger than a 50% benefit based on his work base)

R. Klein, EA :

Then when you turn 70, you switch to YOUR benefit record.

Customer:

It won't be greater

R. Klein, EA :

Then there is no benefit in switching benefit base.

R. Klein, EA :

Are you currently working?

Customer:

Yes

R. Klein, EA :

And your current age?

Customer:

But I am a teacher's aide, I don't get social security

Customer:

62

R. Klein, EA :

Do you earn more than 14K?

Customer:

Yeah about 20

R. Klein, EA :

Until you turn 66, your potential SS benefit is reduced by $1 for every $2 you are over the SS limit (About $14.5K). So if you are earning $5500 over the limit, your benefit is reduced by (5500/2) = 2750 or about $225 a month!

R. Klein, EA :

This penalty is only in effect until your 66th birthday

R. Klein, EA :

So if you start a benefit now, you might not get much AND your lifetime benefits will be reduced by 30%

Customer:

Well you talked me out of it. Thanks for your time.

R. Klein, EA :

As long as you believe you can live longer than about Age 82, the LONGER you delay starting SS, the bigger your lifetime benefit wlil be.

R. Klein, EA :

If you have reason to believe that you won't make it to 82 or so, then the SOONER you start your benefit, the more you will get lifetime....

R. Klein, EA :

It's just the mathematics of it.

R. Klein, EA :

Unfortunately, there is no way to now how old we will get to be. For if we knew, we would save JUST ENOUGH money to get there and not have a penny left over!

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