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BK-CPA
BK-CPA, Certified Public Accountant (CPA)
Category: Social Security
Satisfied Customers: 933
Experience:  Owner of a CPA firm
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I'm 61 and will be 62 on 5-8-54 (Yes 9 days after the

Customer Question

I’m 61 and will be 62 on 5-8-54 (Yes 9 days after the 4-29-15 after the file and stop deadline!!)
I have a 52 year old wife (who hasn’t worked the last 10 years but would have sufficient quarters for SS) and two 9 year old twins. I’m subject to the windfall elimination provision.
According to SS assume before windfall $1150 a month and after windfall $760.
Q1 What would child benefit be? Would it be 150 or 180 % of my full base at 66.
Q2 Would child care amount be reduced by either windfall or early retirement
Q3 Does trying to also take a spousal benefit change this amount? Does it make sense to even worry about spousal benefit? Did the new law change this part of the analysis?
Q4 Even though I don’t qualify for file and stop, does it make sense for me to consider taking SS at 62 to obtain extra 4 years of child credit?
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Social Security
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Q1 clarification- In addition to information requested, Is child benefit based on full non-windfall amount at 66 or windfall amount at 66 and if I work between now and full retirement age (62-66) I know my benefit is reduced by 50% above a certain amount but does this impact child credit amount. Whatever that child credit amount is does it change if I work between 62-66 or does it remain constant?
Q3 clarification-Do I get the full 180% family benefit maximum because I have two children or does adding the spouse, if possible, increase this amount?Thanks
***** *****
Expert:  Stephanie O Joy, Esq replied 11 months ago.

Hi, I am here to assist you. I am a social security attorney – that is ALL I do. Please let me know that my post here iscoming through for you.

Expert:  Stephanie O Joy, Esq replied 11 months ago.

Also, please choose which question you wish me to answer in this limited transaction you chose - I note you have at least 4, which is fine, but exceeds a bit. If you pick one, I will respond accordingly and then I can ask that you be provided an "additional services" option for further interaction on your topic

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
I understand your concern but let me see if I can be clear.I’m really asking only one question which is in light of having two children who will be 9 years and 9 months old when I turn 62 in May 2016 does it make sense to take SS at 62 even though I will permanently lose 25% of my SS benefitThe other questions: How is the child credit calculated, % of main benefit, and will the benefit be impacted if I continue to work past 62, etc. are all designed to answer the question should I do it.For example, one calculation I came up with seemed to indicate that I would be ahead until the age of 80 when the 25% reduction would be felt.So my question is should I apply at 62 or wait until 66?Your thoughts
Expert:  Stephanie O Joy, Esq replied 11 months ago.

Merry Christmas!

OK, "in light of having two children who will be 9 years and 9 months old when I turn 62 in May 2016 does it make sense to take SS at 62 even though I will permanently lose 25% of my SS benefit" ------- this is very personal to your goals and needs. And, you will want to DO THE MATH. Do you need the money now? Are you working? If you are working, you may not need it AND, you may lose it anyway because of the earnings limit of 15720 (2015 figure). What about later? Is SS retirement your sole or major source of survival income in YOUR retirement? If so, it may not be wiser to take that 25-30% permanent reduction. And note that it if you actually wait til 70 to collect, your benefit is 80% bigger than if you took at 62. So let's say you are to get 180% as a family max. And if your windfall corrected amount is 760, (and I assume that is your reduced/early amount due to taking at 62, as you imply) your family max may be $1368. That means 608 divided amount your dependents, per month. 48 months x 1368 = 65,664 that your family collects for those 4 years to age 67. You wouldn't get this $65k if you don't collect early. And, you can't wait til 70 if wish your kids to collect, because of the "new" rules do kindly put into place by Congress and our President without giving sufficient grandfathering (IMO). So, what do you lose by waiting til 70? 1368 X 96 - 131k. And what do you 'gain' if you wait til FRA? A benefit of 1013 instead of 760 for you (your "full" amount). From 66 on. $253/mo more for you - but you'd also get that family addition starting at 66. So about 800 extra for the family. 800 + 253 = 1053 for 48 months to age 70. That is $50,544. Then, the 800 will be gone b/c the kids will age out, so you still will get that extra 253. How long will it take to make up that 15k of so of the lost 65k? 15,000/253=59 months, or about another 5 years. After that the 253 extra you get for waiting til 66 is 'gravy', EXTRA. The same math idea would apply for how costly or beneficial it is to wait to 70. I'd look at ALL these numbers (and any missing information). And my life expectancy. And my wherewithall - how much I need the highest rate later, vs. extra moneys now. Or, if you don't need the money now, but could sock it away so that it is a nice nest egg for later, that is also a consideration.

Expert:  Stephanie O Joy, Esq replied 11 months ago.

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

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

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

Your online SS legal resource!

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Frankly, although you gave it a “good college try” I’m a bit frustrated by your answer. Perhaps it is the nature of this process. Because details matter, I gave you the specific questions I needed to have answered to make this decision. The goal was to get the details so I could “do the math.” You largely, however, gave me a broad general answer which ignored these details and did not address my concerns.First, I am a government employee with a pension that’s why I’m subject to the Windfall provisions. I’m working to 66 regardless. The goal initially was to use SS to close the gap between my % pension and a full salary by using a full 66 year SS retirement payment. Thus, I would retire on my 66th birthday and have the % pension and full SS equal close to my full salary.This was the plan. I rethought this plan when I read about the child credit and spousal credit.In order to do the math, I needed the answers to some very specific questionsIs the child credit based on my full SS benefit at 66 or is it based on the windfall amount?If I work between 62-66, is the child credit reduced (I know if I work between 62-66 my benefit is reduced by half)What triggers the 150 verses 180% family benefit? Do two children raise the amount to 180 or do you also need a spousal
benefit to get to 180?When I have this information, I can do the math and determine which the better approach is for me.If you can, please provide me with this information?
Expert:  Stephanie O Joy, Esq replied 11 months ago.

Again, given the nature of your extensive search for a full financial analysis of your situation, and options, your choice of transaction simply won't work. (It would likely take hours of work.) As you can see, it is extremely TIME CONSUMING, which isn't a problem, generally, but you will have to go piecemeal, given your choice of a transaction. So while I sought to explain to you, as per your question, HOW you can go about doing this (ie. do the math), perhaps this is better. I now see your first question to be:

Is the child credit based on my full SS benefit at 66 or is it based on the windfall amount?

I will answer that question and provide supportive citation. The child dependent benefit is based on your benefit amount - so if WEP is applied to you (once you start taking the pension) then all of your dependents taking will be affected. Note that if you die, WEP is no longer applied to your benefit (since you no longer get a benefit) and so survivor benefits to spouse/children are NOT effect by WEP, but on you full unWEP'd benefit amount.

You can then go piecemeal with a new question, one at a time, asked and answered, before moving on to the next. The alternative to that, is an actual consult which, after this question, I could point you to where to go to sign up for same - but that is not the same price as here, obviously.

So, since you indicated, "In order to do the math, I needed the answers to some very specific questions" - please tell me. Do you want to start doing the "specific questions" one by one? We complete one, you choose or not choose another. Or, you ask to have access to hiring a consult - that is up to you.

In any event, I have now answered a second question, shown in bold, above. And yes, that it more specifically asked and answered.

Expert:  Stephanie O Joy, Esq replied 11 months ago.

Here is a well-read article discussing how WEP effects dependents (but not survivors): http://financialducksinarow.com/9349/windfall-elimination-provision-may-impact-spousal-benefits-but-not-survivor-benefits/

Expert:  Stephanie O Joy, Esq replied 11 months ago.

I will add that WEP is applied and THEN reductions or increases are made due to early taking or delayed retirement credits.

Expert:  Stephanie O Joy, Esq replied 11 months ago.

https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/wep-examples.html

Expert:  Stephanie O Joy, Esq replied 11 months ago.

I am going to have to opt out here, given the conflict I am sensing. Unfortunately, I don't believe there is another expert on these intricate matters, given your demands. But I wish you the very best of luck and of course, a Wonderful Merry Christmas. I think I will end the contribution time here and join the family. Be well!

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Let me just say that in my personal opinion you and the other experts who wanted to charge me $300 for my burdensome, time consuming and complex question did a terrible jobYou kept indicating my questions were complex and time consuming and you ended by stating "I am going to have to opt out here, given the conflict I am sensing. Unfortunately, I don't believe there is another expert on these intricate matters, given your demands".Ultimately, I received an email from the “experts” indicating that my answer would cost $300.I then went on the internet and within 45 minutes had the answer to all my questionsThe key I discovered to answering my entire question was simple. I statedI’m working to 66 regardless.Well under the SS earning test which applies between 62 and 66 I make too much money. If I applied I would receive no benefit. At 66 the earning test ends. So the short answer is I could apply but I’d receive no benefit so I shouldn’t applyThat’s the answer all other points are irrelevantBut I also found the answer to all my other “complex” questionsQUESTIONFirst, I am a government employee with a pension that’s why I’m subject to the Windfall provisions. I’m working to 66F regardless. The goal initially was to use SS to close the gap between my % pension and a full salary by using a full 66 year SS retirement payment. Thus, I would retire on my 66th birthday and have the % pension and full SS equal close to my full salary. This was the plan. I rethought this plan when I read about the child credit and spousal credit. In order to do the math, I needed the answers to some very specific questionsIf I retire at 62, is the child credit based on my full SS benefit at 66 or is it based on the windfall amount at 62 or 66?Answer if I apply at 62 the child benefit is based on full benefits at 66 but reduced by WEBIf I work between 62-66, is the child credit reduced (I know if I work between 62-66 my benefit is reduced by half)Yes the child benefit is reduced and can be reduced to 0 if I make too much money (SS web page)What triggers the 150 verses 180% family benefit?Answer the amount of your benefit A lower benefit (mine) is 150 if my benefit was much higher than that it could go up to 180 (SS web page)Do two children raise the amount to 180 or do you also need a spousal benefit to get to 180?Answer I don’t need a spousal benefit because the 150 limit is the limit regardless of the number of benefits. Adding another benefit would just change the proportions between the parties.When I have this information, I can do the math and determine which the better approach is for me. If you can, please provide me with this information?Answer Wait until you are 66
Expert:  Stephanie O Joy, Esq replied 11 months ago.

As you know, I certainly did not charge $300, so I have nothing to do with that. I was the one willing to address each question, but I was not going to provide day of work for $8. We would fairly work through each one in the capacity in which YOU chose.In any event, while I don't think your efforts at research provided detailed precise answers, (the amount of your benefit?? uh, how helpful is THAT? If that is all you needed on that topic, I am sure a non expert could have provided that level of answer, yes. But you prevented you and I from engaging in a far more explanatory answer, due to your limited transaction and unwillingness to ) if they serve your purposes, that is wonderful. Of course, you and I never dealt with any after the first two (the second which I provided gratis and in good faith, which proved to be poor judgment on my part, perhaps) because I was not hired on permanent retainer and had already answered your original question. I realize you may have wanted 5-10-15 questions answered on your original thread and transaction, but that is simply not do-able in my working day. Ergo, I opted out so the entire force of SS professionals could jump in should they think it wise. If they described a likely $300 fee, that is probably not unrealistic given your abundance of questions. Does everyone want something of others for free - sure, that is human nature, but we all have jobs to do to survive, make it to retirement, and so there are limits in that regard, to how much free time and expert we can spend for someone else, particularly if that person is not actually in 'need' of free work (there are many in need of free, many indigent).

I am glad you received your own answers, however simplistic and vague they may be - but if they meet your needs for your decision making, terrific. You may want to close out this post then. Have a great New Year to you and yours.

Expert:  BK-CPA replied 11 months ago.

Hello and thank you for your question.

I realize you aren't entirely happy with JustAnswers so far. I am a different expert.

As a CPA, I help people with social security strategies. I use software that takes into account all of the factors you are concerned with (child benefits, government pensions, etc) and calculates the best strategy based on assumptions such as life expectancy and future earnings. I further can take into account the tax implications of your decisions and we can discuss personal goals (education, medical, travel expenses, etc.).

the expected returns on an investment in social security strategy have been reduced in general due the law changes, but there still is some benefit to planning. I usually end up putting at least a couple hours of my time into these strategies, but perhaps more based on specifics. Generally, I charge clients a few hundred bucks and produce a strategy expected to return tens of thousands of dollars. It's usually well worth the investment.

If you are interested in a true comprehensive planning session, let me know. I'll run one for you for $100. Simply reply and I'll send you an "additional services offer" with my contact information.

Thank you again for your question.