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Ask Stephanie O Joy, Esq Your Own Question
Stephanie O Joy, Esq
Stephanie O Joy, Esq, Soc. Sec. Attorney
Category: Social Security
Satisfied Customers: 13388
Experience:  19+ years legal exp. - 10+ years owning/operating her own SSD Law practice.
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My question is in regards to the upcoming, Sorry, I t a

Customer Question

Hi ***** *****, my question is in regards ***** ***** upcoming
JA: Thanks. Can you give me any more details about your issue?
Customer: Sorry, I hit a wrong key! Anyway, my question is in regards ***** ***** new changes coming on May2 with SSA file and suspend. I'm 67 and my wife is 64.9 yrs of age. I started my benefit at 66 (file date4/13/2015). I have been to the
JA: OK got it. Last thing — Social Security Experts generally expect a deposit of about $18 to help with your type of question (you only pay if satisfied). Now I'm going to take you to a page to place a secure deposit with JustAnswer. Don't worry, this chat is saved. After that, we will finish helping you.
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Social Security
Expert:  Stephanie O Joy, Esq replied 10 months ago.

Hi, my name is***** and I am here to assist you. I am a social security attorney in my private practice – that is ALL I do. Please let me know that my post here is coming through for you by typing a quick reply.

Expert:  Stephanie O Joy, Esq replied 10 months ago.

OK, so do you have any desire to stop receiving your own benefits, such as, to make them grow by 8% per year up to age 70?

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Stephanie,
you did not get the full question since I was cut off in submitting it. I know the benefits of waiting until age 70. I have also made two trips to the SSA office and three phone calls to the national SSA help line.
My full question is as follows: I'm 67 and filed for benefits on 4/13/2015. I have been receiving benefits since 4/23/2015. My wife is 64.9 yrs old. What we want to do is submit a file and suspend action on my benefits ( I realize I will have to pay back the benefits I have received and I'm willing to do this). I then wanted to have my wife file for a restricted spousal benefit. My understanding is that if we can do this, she will be able to get the spousal benefit when she reaches 66 yrs (FRA) and she can also file and suspend her benefit to age 70. IS THIS THE CORRECT AND LEGAL UNDERSTANDING of the process we are eligible for since we will be filing before the deadline of May 2, 2016. I have received feedback from the national SSA contacts that I have the correct understanding but on my two visits to the SSA office, they indicated that my wife cannot file as described and she would have to take early benefits now that would decrease her benefits permanently.
Expert:  Stephanie O Joy, Esq replied 10 months ago.

No worries, I will read your latest post now. Thank you for the alert!

Expert:  Stephanie O Joy, Esq replied 10 months ago.

"I'm 67 and filed for benefits on 4/13/2015. ----- OK.

"I have been receiving benefits since 4/23/2015. My wife is 64.9 yrs old. What we want to do is submit a file and suspend action on my benefits ( I realize I will have to pay back the benefits I have received and I'm willing to do this). ------- No, you don't pay them back with a suspend. You only pay them back with a "withdrawal of the application" - which you must do before your 12 months is up.

"I then wanted to have my wife file for a restricted spousal benefit. --------- She can do that IF you suspend, but not if you withdraw, because your filing is what triggered her right to file for spousal at all. And her right to file a restricted kicks in at her FRA, not now.

"My understanding is that if we can do this, she will be able to get the spousal benefit when she reaches 66 yrs (FRA) and she can also file and suspend her benefit to age 70. IS THIS THE CORRECT AND LEGAL UNDERSTANDING of the process we are eligible for since we will be filing before the deadline of May 2, 2016. -------- Be careful of the date - I'd do it before the last few days of end of April. OK, only if you plan on suspending, do you have to worry about that date. That is why I asked you about if you planned on suspending your own. If you are, you MUST do it before the deadline, so your wife can file for her restricted application in a few years, at 66. If you are not going to suspend, then it is OK because she can file a restricted without you suspended, since you DID file.

"I have received feedback from the national SSA contacts that I have the correct understanding but on my two visits to the SSA office, they indicated that my wife cannot file as described and she would have to take early benefits now that would decrease her benefits permanently. ------ The latter is correct IF she plans on filing now - NOW is early, and it has always been and continues to be that if we file early, we always auto-take our own, topped off with any spousal supplement if our spousal is early. But, for a restricted spousal where we don't implicate our own, she must wait til 66. Be wary of the SSA staffers at both locations, it is right about 20% of the time, wrong or dangerously incomplete 80% (my stats, nothing official).

Let me know if any part of this is unclear - I know it is a bit mind-bending.

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Stephanie, to clarify our strategy, I was trying to do the action in two steps as not to confuse the SSA reps when I go back to make the applications. 1. Withdraw my application made last year (4/13/2015) and pay back all benefit monies. I verified with the office contact & her supervisor that I'm still within the 1 year time period to withdraw my application. I want to do this to allow MY SSA credits build to age 70 to the max amount allowable (32%). 2. Once this is done, my wife would then go in and file for spousal benefits (the SSA reps ref to this as Auxillary spousal benefit if done before the May 2 deadline). This allows my wife to be grandfathered into the pre-deadline benefit: She will not be applying for early benefit , instead, she will apply for spousal benefits on MY record at 50% and then she will file and suspend her own benefits until age 70. Note: the net of our strategy is allow for both of us to wait until age 70 to receive the Max benefits as well as allowing her to receive the spousal benefit from age 66 to 70. Hopefully I have clarified all of the components of our strategy. Joe
Expert:  Stephanie O Joy, Esq replied 10 months ago.

"Stephanie, to clarify our strategy, I was trying to do the action in two steps as not to confuse the SSA reps when I go back to make the applications. ------- OK.

1. Withdraw my application made last year (4/13/2015) and pay back all benefit monies. -------- This is not a suspension. If you withdraw, your wife can not file for spousal. Spousal is only triggered by your filing yourself, with or without suspension and such suspension must now be before 5/1 or so.

"I verified with the office contact & her supervisor that I'm still within the 1 year time period to withdraw my application. ------- OK. It never hurts to use it, if you can pay back, so that YOUR benefit can be defered and grow. So you'd withdraw, pay back, and file and suspend, is that what you are thinking? So your wife can collect spousal while you collect nothing? Growing yours? But remember, she has to wait to do that, til age 66.

"I want to do this to allow MY SSA credits build to age 70 to the max amount allowable (32%). --------I totally get that!

"2. Once this is done, my wife would then go in and file for spousal benefits (the SSA reps ref to this as Auxillary spousal benefit if done before the May 2 deadline). ---------- No, your suspension must occur before deadline, so it never counts as a blanket suspension. But she can not file for a spousal and defer her own unless she is 66. Moreover, she can't get a spousal at all unless it is bigger than her own, if she files anything before 66. Before 66 is an auto - application for her own, she is "deemed" to have filed for her own as well as the spousal - and her own will pay first, added to by any spousal that may exist beyond that.

"This allows my wife to be grandfathered into the pre-deadline benefit: She will not be applying for early benefit , instead, she will apply for spousal benefits on MY record at 50% and then she will file and suspend her own benefits until age 70. --------- Nope, can't work. She can not file a restricted application for spousal prior to her FRA. It has always been this way. AND, they are even eliminating doing it at FRA, for those of us under 62+.... Also, spousal unrestricted prior to FRA is never 50%, but always less than that due to collecting all those extra months before rettirement age.

"Note: the net of our strategy is allow for both of us to wait until age 70 to receive the Max benefits as well as allowing her to receive the spousal benefit from age 66 to 70. ---------- Yes, 66 is not early. If you suspend before the deadline, LATER, at 66 she can file that restricted application, collecting spousal only til 70, then switching. But above, you suggested she collect spousal now. But if you mean she collect at 66, that will work if you suspend before end of April. Or, go ahead and continue collecting your own, but foregot an increased 32% at age 70.

"Hopefully I have clarified all of the components of our strategy. Joe ------ Yes, Joe, and I hope I have confirmed the above, with each of your statements.