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Stephanie O Joy, Esq
Stephanie O Joy, Esq, Soc. Sec. Attorney
Category: Social Security
Satisfied Customers: 13285
Experience:  19+ years legal exp. - 10+ years owning/operating her own SSD Law practice.
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I started to collect disability SS at age 62 R/T severe

Customer Question

Hello! I started to collect disability SS at age 62 R/T severe arthritis. This ended when I turned 66 1/4. I was married for 22 years, which ended in divorce in 1991. I've collected to the present date on my own SS. Can I change that to stop my own now, and collect from my former husbands until I reach 70?? This will hopefully increase my monthly benefit. I was misinformed in 2010 when I retired.
Thank you in advance for your assistance with this. I knew nothing at the time R/T collecting on a spouse SS and waiting until age 70 to collect on my own at a higher rate.
Sincerely,
Marion Jablonski
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Social Security
Expert:  Stephanie O Joy, Esq replied 1 year ago.

Good morning Marion, with regard to you post.

What is "R/T"?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
A shortcut for "related to". Sorry if it was confusing.
Expert:  Stephanie O Joy, Esq replied 1 year ago.

No worries. OK, with regard to your post:

"Hello! I started to collect disability SS at age 62 R/T severe arthritis. ----- OK.

"This ended when I turned 66 1/4. -------- I presume you mean that your full retirement age was 66+ and at that time, your SSDIB benefits converted to Retirement benefits in name, with the amount remaining the same. Correct?

"I was married for 22 years, which ended in divorce in 1991. -------- OK.

"I've collected to the present date on my own SS. ----- OK.

"Can I change that to stop my own now, and collect from my former husbands until I reach 70?? This will hopefully increase my monthly benefit. --------- OK, you SHOULD be able to "suspend" your benefit because you are now over full retirement age. However, to collect a divorced spousal benefit, generally you can only do that if your own benefit you are "entitled" to (and your are 'entitled' to it and not just 'eligible' for it, if you already applied for it, which you did) is not more than the spousal. Spousal is generally 50% of your ex spouse's primary insurance amount. So if spousal is bigger than yours, you should be able to suspend and file for spousal. If it is smaller, you would typically not be able to.

"I was misinformed in 2010 when I retired. ------- I am not sure what you mean by this. If you retired in 2010, that means you were 66+, which means you'd be over 70 now. But you indicate you are under 70. So perhaps you mean a different kind of "retired", like, from your job when you stopped working because you became disabled...And I am not sure what you were misinformed about?

Thank you in advance for your assistance with this. I knew nothing at the time R/T collecting on a spouse SS and waiting until age 70 to collect on my own at a higher rate. Sincerely, ***** ***** " -------- The conversion of your SSDIB to Retirement is 'automatic', so you didn't really have a choice. But, generally, those that affirmatively file for SSR can "withdraw" that application and pay back receipts if done within a year of the application. One could then, in theory, file a 'restricted' application for spousal only... deferring one's own retirement for those 4 years to 70 for a 32% increase. What is not clear (and SSA does not mention) is if a person who was on SSDIB when under FRA (full retirement age), who automatically "converted to" retirement at age 66+, can "withdraw" that automatic conversion so that they reverse it, are then never "entitled" to SSR, and therefore are not subject to the rule that you can only take spousal if bigger than your own. You CAN likely suspend benefits regardless, but if you can't survive without any SS at all, then that won't work. This "idea" of withdrawing an auto conversion to SSR from SSDIB like one could withdraw a proactive application (if within 12 months) is not found in the SS rules and regs, as far as we can see - one way or another - so one would have to test it out, perhaps even APPEAL if they lost. But, it is a strategy one could try.

Expert:  Stephanie O Joy, Esq replied 1 year ago.

I hope this helps! My goal is to provide you with excellent and accurate service – if you feel you have gotten anything less, please reply back, I am happy to address follow-up questions.

Kindly rate me "excellent" when you are done. I look forward to assisting you in the future, should you have legal questions. Be sure to start future posts with "To ***** Esq., ONLY" if you want me to specifically answer it.

Sincerely, ***** ***** Joy, Esq.

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Expert:  Stephanie O Joy, Esq replied 1 year ago.

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