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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: 13281
Experience:  19+ years legal exp. - 10+ years owning/operating her own SSD Law practice.
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How do my spouse and I apply and suspend?

Customer Question

How do my spouse and I apply for claim and suspend?
Submitted: 8 months ago.
Category: Social Security
Expert:  Stephanie O Joy, Esq replied 8 months ago.
First, you have to determine if you are eligible, and then if you have a purpose that will best serve you by doing that. Do you know if you are eligible, or do you need me to go through that with you?
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
My spouse is 67, I am 63. According to the SS website, we are both eligible for benefits. Are there other issues? My spouse is still employed and intends to continue employment at least until age 70. I am disabled, but by the time I realized I would not recover and be able to resume employment, I had passed the period where my "points" made me eligible for disability benefits without additional employment years.
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
I am concerned about whether there is still time for application and how to go about it within the new 4/30 limitation.
Expert:  Stephanie O Joy, Esq replied 8 months ago.
Are you collecting SS Disability? Or are you saying by the time you thought to apply for same, you were no longer insured? Are neither of you collecting?
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
By the time I went to apply, I needed to obtain an additional disability eligibility points in order to claim disability benefits. I was unable to return to work, so never did collect disability benefits. Neither of us is currently collecting any SS benefits of any kind, and we both have medical coverage through my spouse's employer, so do not want Medicare at this point. Just want to apply for and collect under claim and suspend if still possible. Not in a position to speak on phone at present, so let's continue via typing? Thanks.
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Are you still there?
Expert:  Stephanie O Joy, Esq replied 8 months ago.
Sorry, I didn't get notice that you responded, but I can see it now. Thank you for your patience! OK. First, I am concerned that you may have not filed for SSD when you could have. I am guessing the SSA office staffer incorrectly told you that you were not longer insured and that that fact barred you from applying. That is not necessarily true, because so long as your ALLEGED onset date of when you became disabled was DURING your insured period, you can apply long after you are no longer insured. It isn't ideal, because you have to prove a past fact and evidence development is far trickier and more limited, but it is possible. If you wish to discuss that further, I will ask that you be offered a service for that, at your option. OK, so, aside from the above: Yes, you are both of age to collect. And your husband is of age to suspend his benefit after filing for them if he wishes to defer his own but merely file / suspend so that you can collect. IF he does so BEFORE 4/30, his suspension will NOT be a blanket suspension barring you from applying for spousal, but if he does so after, his suspension will suspend your spousal as well. Other important facts: If you file now, being under your FRA, the SSA will pay you the higher of your own or spousal, and you own will be paid first, with the spousal supplement added to it. Also, being under FRA, your benefit will be reduced by about 30%, fo If you WAIT til your FRA, you are eligible to file a restricted application for spousal benefits only, so that your own benefit will grow to age 70. That will make it about 72% bigger than if you collected it now. This is a terrific right, and one that has been eliminated for those who didn't turn 62 before the end of 2015. So you can get 48 months of spousal benefit (50% of your husband's PIA) that others can't get, while deferring your own to age 70, to be bigger, and then switching to it at 70. This would be great if you know that your own benefit amount is greater than a spousal amount - so look into that. Your husband may wish to file and suspend before 4/30, just in case you will want to file for a spousal benefit. But it may be moot because if you will not be filing til 66, he will be turning 70 and will be filing for his own for sure anyway.
Expert:  Stephanie O Joy, Esq replied 8 months ago.
I hope this helps! My goal is to provide you with excellent and accurate service – if you feel you have gottenanything less, please reply back, I amhappy 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.Your online SS legal resource!
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Okay, my question is how exactly we go about my spouse (female) filing for claim and suspend, and me filing for spousal benefits under her claim. Do we have to wait for her claim to be processed before she can suspend? Do I have to wait for her claim to be processed before I claim? I am concerned because of the time limits. Wow - sorry to hear that I was misled by the SSA back then - I have been disabled since 2005! My primary physician from that time is dead, but if you think it is worth trying to get back benefits, I would definitely like to hear about it, but, the claim and suspend is more urgent at this point.
Expert:  Stephanie O Joy, Esq replied 8 months ago.
Your spouse is the 67 year old?
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Yes
Expert:  Stephanie O Joy, Esq replied 8 months ago.
OK, so 67 year old can file, but you, at 63, can ONLY get spousal IF it is bigger than your own. Do you know what your spouse's PIA is? And yours?
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Spousal will be 50% - correct? If correct, her is definitely larger than mine. What is PIA?
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
That would be "hers" sorry about the typo...
Expert:  Stephanie O Joy, Esq replied 8 months ago.
Primary insurance amount. What is your PIA and what is hers? Meaning, what were you to collect at your full retirement age, and what was she to collect at hers?
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
According to the SS website, if I claimed now, my benefit would be $908. At age 70 it would be $1469.
My spouse: now at current age $2811; at age 70 would be $3523 monthly
Expert:  Stephanie O Joy, Esq replied 8 months ago.
What is the amounts you'd each collect at your FULL retirement ages of 66? That is your PIA.
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Mine would be $1113 at 66/hers would be $2811 (she is already past 66 - it doesn't give an amount if she had filed a year ago, just shows the $2811.
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
I read that for each year you wait after 66, your benefits increase by 8%, which means her 66 benefit might have been as much as $208 less than the $2811. Still more than double my benefit.
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Is there additional information you need from the SS website?
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Ms. Joy - Are you still connected?
Expert:  Stephanie O Joy, Esq replied 8 months ago.
Sorry for the delay!OK, so your PIA is 1113 and hers is 2811.So your spousal IS 1400 IF you wait til 66 to collect and it is more than your own. For now. If you wait til age 70 to file for your own, your own should be 1469. Or, if her PIA is only 2600, your spousal at FRA is 1300 - but only if you wait til your FRA. Still more than your own. If if she filed and suspended before 4/30, and you wanted to file NOW, (and she deferred hers to grow) your spousal would be based on not 50% but 37.5% of hers:37.5% of 2600 = 975. Your own benefit would be about 75% of your 1113 or 834. So you'd get your 834 plus the spousal differential of 975-834=141. So you'd get 975 paid out via your own reduced amount and spousal supplement of 141. (These numbers are off a bit because I used whole year %, rather than going by the exact month, just to illustrate.) But, you see the point. If you collect spousal now (which would include your own) it would be greatly reduced, forever, because you took early. BUT, you can do it if you need to. You spouse will want to file and collect OR, file and suspend before 4/30. As soon as she files, you can file. And then she will want to make sure the SSA suspends her. I'd follow up any request with a written confirmation that I requested to file and then suspend, all before the end date, in case they screw it up. If you can hold out, your spousal will be bigger. And, you could choose to file for SPOUSAL only at your FRA, allowing your 1113 to grow that additional 32%, where it will beat your spousal.
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
How does she file and suspend within the time period?
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Does she have to wait to be approved? How do I claim in the same period - or do I even have to if she has claim and suspended before the 30th? I guess I am missing something - sorry. Do you tell the SSA when you file that you want to file and suspend? Or wait until approved to suspend? Can I file before she is approved? If she claims and suspends, do I have to claim spousal right away or can I wait and do it at another time and still get the benefit of the 4/30 cutoff?
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
I don't see how my amount will ever be larger than the spousal amount - for the 48 month period you mentioned. Am I missing something here or is there something else I should be doing? She will definitely defer payments - until 70, health permitting, and will continue to earn above the cutoff, so will gain the maximum benefit. If her benefit goes to the $3500+ by waiting for age 70, does my spousal amount also increase or is it limited to half of her age 66 benefit?
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
btw, thank you - I do not exactly understand all that you are telling me, but appreciate your help and patience with explanations. Please let me know if there is a point at which it becomes a new question or however the system works. Thanks
Expert:  Stephanie O Joy, Esq replied 8 months ago.
She files and says she wants to suspend. I understand she does NOT have to wait til it is approved to suspend. But, given the drama around this whole new thing, I'd do it in person and then send a confirming letter mailed cert. rrr about what transpired as you understood it. Time is running, so I'd not wait too long. YOU can claim reduced a benefit of spousal as when she files, right after. I'd do it together, and, again, include your involement in the plan in the cert. rrr. mailing. You do NOT have to file at all now, no. The deadline ONLY applies to her SUSPENDING (which of course means she has to file). You don't have to take early - in fact,the longer you wait the higher your spousal will be - up to your FRA. After your FRA, spousal does not grow. and her delay does not increase your spousal. (It would increase your survivor benefit though, since that is based on her Grown amount, not her PIA.) Yes, I'd tell them (your spouse) that she wants to FILE and SUSPEND - to make sure it is clear. I would not wait til approval, as that can take months - this is why you need to confirm that you did what you did, since it will call come out in the wash later - and it is my understanding that it is protectively dated on the date you ask for the suspension - so proof that you did it (should it be necessary) is important (ergo the certified mailed letter confirming). I believe you CAN file before she is approved, but you want to make clear that you wish for the spousal benefit that will occur BECAUSE she is fling, which triggers your spousal. You can wait to file for spousal, the 4/30 cut off does not apply to filng for spousal, only for the effects of her SUSPENDING. Yours will only POSSIBLY be bigger than spousal IF you don't collect it til 70. This will only happen if you wait to your FRA and collect SPOUSAL ONLY (restricted) til 70 (or, collect nothing til 70, but why do that when you are grandfathered for a restricted spousal??) So if your full spousal is 1300 forever, and your PIA is 1113, then your benefit on your own record if you don't touch it til 70 would be 1469 - which is higher than your 1300. Remember, your spousal is frozen at 50% of her PIA, it does not enjoy a piece of her deferment. You are welcome, and a pleasure. Please don't forget to rate with the 5 stars. You have, I believe, an offer for another question with me via "premium service", which can be by email or by more Q&A on this publish forum, whichever you wish.

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