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I am looking for an information on a number of issues

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I am looking for an information on a number of issues concerned with retirement benefits for an alien relative. May you offer someone capable of explaining such issues? Thanks!

Lawyer's Assistant: What state are you in? It matters because laws vary by location.

Maryland. That most... Read full answer

I am looking for an information on a number of issues concerned with retirement benefits for an alien relative. May you offer someone capable of explaining such issues? Thanks!

Lawyer's Assistant: What state are you in? It matters because laws vary by location.

Maryland. That most likely concerns only the federal retirement benefits.

Lawyer's Assistant: Has anything been filed or reported?

No. I want to know beforehand what the regulations are. I don't think I can apply for anything right now. That is for my alien wife.

Lawyer's Assistant: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?

When there is a layer knowledgable in the matters, I would send him a number of pointed questions. Once again, I don't think we can apply for any benefits right now; I want to have a picture of what will be available and get ready for it beforehand; then, in some future, most likely a lawyer help will be called for.

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Answered in 1 hour by:
1/11/2018
Edward Young
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 1,038
Experience: Principal Attorney at The Law Offices of Edward D. Young, III
Verified

Hi. My name is ***** ***** I am a licensed attorney. I would be happy to provide assistance. Please give me a moment to formulate a response. Also, please keep in mind that our conversation does not include an attorney-client relationship and this is for general information purposes only.

What are your questions?

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Customer reply replied 1 year ago
Here are my questions:RE: Federal retirement benefitsMy wife, DOB 4/10/1948, citizen of Poland
Myself, US citizenMy wife arrived in the USA on July 3rd, 2016
We got married on July 5th, 2016
She is a permanent resident since 9/29/2017Q1. When will she be eligible for Medicare Plan A? I believe she gets those benefits after 5 years. Is it 5 years from the date of the marriage, or five years since she acquired the permanent resident status, or from some other point?
Q2. When will she be eligible for ½ of my retirement benefits? Is it 10 years, no exceptions? Does the elibility is counted from the date of the marriage or from her permanent residency date?
What is the baseline of the benefits for the calculations: the benefits that I was eligible for at the age of 66?, or at the age when I started drawing SS retirement distribution (I was 70 then)?, or the actual retirement distribution from the SS (which is higher than when I was 66 and when I was 70, and I am still working, so my retirement check is still growing). And, is it 50% of the base amount? (She is in the retirement age now, so the benefit reduction for under-retirement-age persons does not apply.)
Q3. Survival benefits. From what I found out, she is eligible for the federal survival benefits after 9 months of marriage. Is these 9 months conditioned by the permanent residency status or not? In other words, is she eligible for those benefits now (we are married for 1.5 years now) or will be at the end of June 2018 (9 months from acquiring the green card)?
The amount of the survival benefits:
Would it be the amount of my SS retirement check at the time of my death or some other amount? How calculated?
Would she need to reside in the US (I assume that means spending 6+ months in the country) to be eligible for those benefits? I think that depends for how long she lived in the States; if so, I need information how long would that requirement be, and counting from which date (marriage, permanent residency, other). I also found out that the residency condition may not apply, if there is some inter-government agreement on that, and in such a case I would like to know if there is any specific regulation with that respect concerning the citizens of Poland. There may a minimum residency period (perhaps 10 years as permanent resident) to be eligible for those survival retirement benefits even when living abroad. Please explain the details. If she decided to move abroad instead of living still in the US, would she still be eligible for some retirement benefits based on my retirement benefits? She is working now, and plans to work for some more time, so by paying SS tax she could be eligible for some retirement benefits based on her own taxes. However, it is not likely that she will be working long enough to get 40 working credits. So, under the present circumstances, could she be eligible for any retirement benefits based on her own work?
What if we moved abroad? What retirement benefits could we have, each of us? I know that no medicare benefits could be obtained when outside the US. What about the federal retirement distributions in such a case? What are the limitations and conditions, if any? Three scenarios: we move out together, I move out, she moves out (I expired).Perhaps I am missing something that might be of importance but I am not aware of it right now. If you see something like that, please provide relevant info on that also.These are the questions. Hopefully you will be able to provide explanation to all of them. Thanks!
WitoldPlease type your responses. A phone conversation wouldn't work well. Thanks!

Thank you. I have received your questions. I have appointments all day today but I will try to answer you this evening if not sooner.

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Customer reply replied 1 year ago
That's fine, thanks! Have a good day (good business too!).
Witold

Yes. Upon your death, if you have been married five years, your wife is eligible for a Social Security survivor benefit as long as you have been married for at least nine months.

Survivor’s benefits include the effect of delayed retirement credits. Since you are already past age 66 or 67, it may result in a higher survivor benefit for your wife than if she had filed earlier. She will receive what you would have gotten at that later age.

Because your wife is a Polish citizen and Poland one of the designated Social Insurance countries, after she meets the five-year residency and marriage requirements, she can leave the US and still be eligible for spousal or survivor benefits. See https://secure.ssa.gov/poms.nsf/lnx/0302610025

Because your wife will not reach 40 credits, she will not be eligible for social security benefits.

So, to sum it up:

1. Your wife needs to reside here and be married to you for five years to be entitled to everything she could receive.

2. You are eligible for your social security benefits no matter where you reside.

3. She needs to reside here for 5 years and be married you for five years to get a survivor’s benefit.

I know that this is a lot of information to digest and it is hard to find clear, accurate information online. I am here to help.

I hope this helps.

Please go ahead and rate me. If you have any follow-up or clarification questions, please ask! There is no additional fee. If I have fully answered your question(s) to your satisfaction, I would appreciate you rating my service (hopefully Excellent/5 stars!) at the top of the screen. Otherwise, I receive no credit for assisting you. I thank you in advance for taking the time to provide me a positive rating! A BONUS is also appreciated if you feel I've earned one today.

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Customer reply replied 1 year ago
Thanks for you explanations. There is still some unclear points that I would like you to explain to me.“Upon your death, if you have been married five years, your wife is eligible for a Social Security survivor benefit as long as you have been married for at least nine months.”
The above sentence is quite ambiguous: first you say “…if you have been married five years…”, and then you say “…as long as you have been married for at least nine month…”. So, is it 9 months or 5 years of being married to be eligible for SS survivor benefit?“The residency”. Does it run from the date of the marriage, or from the date of acquiring the permanent residency status? In other words, will she be eligible for the spousal benefits after 5 years of marriage, or later by more than a year, since she got her permanent residency 15 months after the date of out marriage?If she lived in the US seven months a year, and 5 other months outside, would that count as a full year of residency, or only 7/12 part of a year (in which case the 5 year residency condition would be reached after more than 8 years time)?Does fulfillment of the benefit requirements is the same for survival benefits (which would be my retirement check), for medicare, and for the supplemental retirement benefits (which would be 50% of my retirement check). In other words, does your statement “…Your wife needs to reside here and be married to you for five years to be entitled to everything she could receive.” apply also to Medicare and 50% of my retirement check from SSA? Are there any other spousal benefits from SSA that we may not be aware of?And, to double check: is the supplemental retirement benefit (the 50% of my retirement check) based on my current retirement check from SSA, or on the amount that I was eligible for at the age of 66? I started drawing my retirement check from SSA at the age of 70. So, is it the basis of supplemental retirement benefits for my wife (after meeting the above requirements), after due COL adjustments, or my current benefits (I am still working and earning extra credits which increase my retirement check beyond the COL adjustment).Please clarify those things. Thanks!

You are right! My answer was confusing. I apologize. My internet is back up again and I will answer your questions more clearly tomorrow.

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Customer reply replied 1 year ago
What's going on? Why was I left w/o getting the remaining information, and for so long already?

Good to hear from you! For some reason, I was not able to contact you and I thought you had opted out. I will answer your further questions soon

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Customer reply replied 1 year ago
Thanks. Looking forward...

Ok, I have re-examined the rules for Medicare and Social Security as they apply to you. The social security benefits are different from what I told you before. By the way, what you call supplemental retirement benefits, I call spousal benefits. Here is what I have found:

  1. Medicare: Your wife, as a permanent legal resident of the U.S., is already eligible for free Medicare Part A coverage (inpatient hospital and skilled nursing home care) because she is older than 65, based on your work record, whether or not you have actually claimed Social Security benefits. She will also be eligible for Medicare Part B coverage (outpatient medical costs) when she has lawfully resided in the U.S. for five consecutive years before enrolling. So, her eligibility for Medicare Part B will depend on when she actually became a legal permanent resident, not on the date of your marriage. When she is eligible for Medicare Part B, she will also be eligible for a Medigap supplemental insurance policy, or a Medicare Advantage (Part C) health plan, and a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan.
  2. Social Security: Here is what is different from what I told you before. Because Poland is both a country with which the United States has a totalization agreement and also meets the social insurance or pension system exception, the five-year residency requirement does not apply.

  3. Since you have reached full retirement age an so has she, her benefits would be exactly half of your full retirement benefits. They will be subject to annual cost of living adjustments. The benefits for your spouse do not include any delayed retirement credits you may receive. Therefore, unlike delaying your own social security benefits, there is no credit for delaying your wife’s spousal benefit beyond her full retirement age (70).

  4. Under present circumstances, your wife would NOT be eligible for social security benefits based on her own work because she has not earned 40 credits.
    If you decided to move abroad instead of living in the US, both of you would be eligible to receive the social security payments.

  5. Also, there is also a one-time burial fee of $255 that your wife would receive in the event of your death.

  6. Please go ahead and rate me. If you have any more questions about my response, please ask. There is no additional charge.
Edward Young
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 1,038
Experience: Principal Attorney at The Law Offices of Edward D. Young, III
Verified
Edward Young and 87 other Legal Specialists are ready to help you
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Customer reply replied 1 year ago
Mr. Young,
Thanks for the explanations. No doubt we are quite happy about the benefit situation for my wife. There are a few extra details that I asked about in my original message but forgot to include them in my "clarification" response. However, you spent some time already on the answers, and I don't want my case to become too overwhelming for you. So, right now I would like only one small clarification. you wrote: "... Therefore, unlike delaying your own social security benefits, there is no credit for delaying your wife’s spousal benefit beyond her full retirement age (70)." Full retirement age is 66, but you say "70". Does that mean, that delaying distribution of her spousal benefits until now earned her any extra benefits? That's how you calling the 70 as her retirement age may be understood. Am I right?
I will rate you now. However, if you are willing to answer the outstanding questions from my original message, I would open a new inquiry with those questions. Just let me know how to reconnect with you with the new request. Thanks!
Witold
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