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Christopher B, Esq.
Christopher B, Esq., Attorney
Category: Social Security
Satisfied Customers: 2650
Experience:  associate attorney
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I heard today there is something Obama has passed that could

Customer Question

I heard today there is something Obama has passed that could cut my S.S benefit by $60,000 if I do not make some response by 3-31-16. The few details shared with me pointed to an increase in Medicare. I have often worked two jobs and been paying into this fund since I was 15 1/2 and will be 60 this August so obviously want to preserve what I have paid in. Additionally, I left CA where I was earning just under $90K a year and have only been able to earn $30K to 43K in NH and VT. What do I do to preserve what I can of the money I have paid in? When working two jobs, one was always F.T and the second P.T.
Submitted: 6 months ago.
Category: Social Security
Expert:  Christopher B, Esq. replied 6 months ago.

My name is***** and I will be helping you with your question today. This is for informational purposes only and does not establish an attorney client relationship.

There has been a lot of misinformation out there regarding HR 1314. The changes made in the bipartisan act are being hyped in the media but it is only a small loophole that is being closed. It is not a magical lump sum that has to be elected or banned benefits that you will lose. You will not lose $60,000 from your benefits. It deals with "file and suspend" spousal benefits and the "restricted benefit". Let me explain, a spouse can only take the spousal benefit if the other spouse has elected to take their benefit. Another requirement is that the spouse must be at least age 62 or have a qualifying child in her/his care. By a qualifying child, social security means a child who is under age 16 or who receives Social Security disability benefits. Currently the law is changing and a "suspend and file" cannot be elected starting on may 1, 2016. In this circumstance at full retirement age (66) one could file and suspend their benefits and continue earning credits until age 70 and their spouse could elect to take the spousal benefit. The spousal benefit can be as much as half of the worker's "primary insurance amount," depending on the spouse's age at retirement. If the spouse begins receiving benefits before "normal (or full) retirement age," the spouse will receive a reduced benefit. However, if a spouse is caring for a qualifying child, the spousal benefit is not reduced. Also the "restricted benefit" is being eliminated. If you turned age 62 be the end of December 31, 2015, you would be grandfathered in and at full retirement age you will still be able to restrict your benefit. This means that if you or your spouse would like to elect to take only the spousal benefit as opposed to your normal retirement benefit, you can restrict your election to ONLY the spousal benefit. This would allow you to collect the 50% spousal benefit while still gaining credits to your normal retirement benefit from ages 66-70 (the credit increases your benefit approximately 8% per year). After the law changes, at full retirement age, you would have to take the higher of the spousal benefit and your retirement benefit. You can no longer choose just the spousal and let your normal retirement benefit grow while still take the spousal benefit. Since you do not have a spouse and because you are receiving a survivor benefit, your benefits will not be affected.

Please let me know if you have any further questions and please positively rate my answer if satisfied. There should be smiley faces or numbers from 1-5 to choose from. This extra step will cost you nothing extra and will ensure that I will be compensated for my time by the site.

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Very concerned with using my VISA information online because I was breached just last month but need some answers to protect myself. 10years ago I worked for a major insurance company as a regional disability manager for many years so understand the need to ask questions and gather facts before making decisions. Before rating you, must say somewhat dissappointed you leaped to the decision that I no longer have a spouse and am collecting a survivor benefit. Not true. Unfortunately my spouse let me support him for many years, had bipolar disorder which he refused to admit, refused to take prescribed meds for the condition and ultimately shot me in the back while sleeping. I was life flighted to a hospital and am a survivor. He wnet to prison for several years but to this day has not signed divorce paerwork I had prepared and sent. So what now?
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Am hesitant to rate you until I feel my circumstances and question is understood. Please reassure me as your ratings were good.
Expert:  Christopher B, Esq. replied 6 months ago.

At age 60, you will not be affected by this as you are not grandfathered into either the file and suspend (you had to be age 66 by May 1, 2016) or the restricted benefit (you had to be age 62 by December 31, 2015). This is a narrow loophole, as I said before, so it probably wouldn't affect you greatly anyway. I understand your question and your age makes this point moot.

Expert:  Christopher B, Esq. replied 6 months ago.

As to the spouse thing, I apologize, I thought I had read that in your question, but it must have been on a previous question. I reread your question and I do not know where I got that.

Expert:  Christopher B, Esq. replied 6 months ago.

Did you have any further questions?

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