Good afternoon Mary,
I'm Doug, and I'm very sorry to hear of your situation. My goal is to provide you with excellent service today. I am a GA licensed attorney and I handle social security issues.
There is a tremendous amount of misleading information as well as outright misinformation floating around the internet and on radio and TV about the recent changes in the law. In reality the changes effect only a very small percentage of Americans and they relate to a spouse benefit.
The reality is that there is not really unclaimed benefits (and this is where the big lie really is), but there are 2 loopholes being closed that would allow a very select few people to get more benefits over the remainder of their lives.
Unless you are presently married, at least 62 years old and not receiving a social security benefit yet, then the changes will not effect you and will not allow you to get any extra money from social security when you retire. Neither will the changes mean that you will get less of a retirement benefit when you do retire. The monthly benefit amounts have not changed.
The loopholes being closed---there are 2 of them---allow the following:
1. A person over 66 who is not taking their own benefit yet to File and Suspend a retirement claim, and allow their spouse to take an immediate spouse benefit. This loophole ends on May 1,2016 for everyone, regardless of age.
2. Allow you to take a Restricted Spouse Benefit after age 66 and still allow your own retirement benefit to grow to age 70 by8% per year----but in order to qualify for this loophole, you MUST be born before February 2, 1954 and not yet be receiving any kind of a social security benefit when you first apply for the spouse benefit.
So unless you fall into one of the 2 categories above, then the change in the laws have no direct impact on you.
There has been another "scam" going around claiming that anyone can significantly increase their social security benefit----but what they don't tell you is that it applies to only a very few people---and not to everyone.
I have seen these ads and blogs telling seniors and others that they can get $1,000 more a month in social security.
Unfortunately, what the headlines don’t tell you is that there is no social security giveaway, and anyone who plans ahead can do this. But if you are already receiving benefits there is nothing you can do to increase the benefit you are presently receiving.
Where the mysterious $1,000 a month comes from is by choosing when you are age62, not to take your social security benefits and wait until age 70 to do so. In doing that the average worker will get about $1,000 per month more in their benefit payment from social security.
If you have already started taking your retirement benefit from social security and have been receiving it for more than a year, it is impossible to do anything about delaying your retirement and getting that additional thousand dollars a month.
While the message about the extra money is not a scam, it really only applies to certain people who are able and willing to postpone taking their benefit until age 70---which few retirees’ are able to do.
I understand that you may be disappointed by the Answer you received, as it was not particularly favorable to your situation. Had I been able to provide an Answer which might have given you a successful legal outcome, it would have been my pleasure to do so.
If you have additional questions, you may of course reply back to me and I will be happy to continue to assist you further until your questions have been answered to your satisfaction.
Would you please take a moment to positively rate my service to you based on the understanding of the law I provided by clicking on the rating stars---three stars or more. It is that easy. That is the way I am compensated for having helped you.
Thank you in advance. I wish you the best in your future,