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Stephanie O Joy, Esq
Stephanie O Joy, Esq, Soc. Sec. Attorney
Category: Social Security
Satisfied Customers: 13551
Experience:  22+ years legal exp. - 12+ years owning/operating her own SSD Law practice.
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Is there a better way to handle my SS? I am 70 and collect

Customer Question

Is there a better way to handle my SS? I am 70 and collect my payment and my wife collects based on my benefit. Larry
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Social Security
Expert:  LawTalk replied 1 year ago.

Good morning Larry,

I'm Doug, and I'm sorry to hear of the confusion. My goal is to provide you with excellent service today. In order to give you a clear and concise answer, I will need some additional information about the circumstances, please.

1. What exactly do you mean by "a better way"? Are you asking if you and your wife have maximized your benefit possibilities?


Customer: replied 1 year ago.
How to get more money!!!
Expert:  LawTalk replied 1 year ago.

I am unable to further assist you in this matter, and I am going to opt out of your question and open this up for other professionals.

Your question is being placed back in the question list for other professionals to see, and to respond to. You do not have to stay online for the question to be active. Should another professional pick it up, you should be alerted by email unless you actively disable this feature.

There is no need for you to reply at this time as this may "lock" your question back to me, thus inadvertently delaying other professionals' access to it.

I apologize for any inconvenience and wish you well in your future.


Expert:  Stephanie O Joy, Esq replied 1 year ago.

Larry, why does your wife collect on your work record. Did she not work in her lifetime very much?

1) At what age did she start collecting a spousal benefit?

2) How old is your wife?

3) At what age did YOU start collecting?

4) Are either one of you disabled from working?

5) How much are each of you collecting?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
1. My wife started at 65
2. Carol, my wife is 68
3. I started at 65
4. No disabilities
5. I collect $2402 after medicare premium
Carol gets $1096 after medicare premium
Expert:  Stephanie O Joy, Esq replied 1 year ago.

OK, you yourself can ONLY increase your benefit amount by working and earning more in at least one year, then you did in at least one of your existing top 35 years. Because your benefit is calculated off of your top 35 years (to derive a monthly average), you need to replace some of the lower of the 35 with higher earnings. That can be tough, depending. And requires to go back to work if you aren't already. You collected early, so remember you not only permanently reduced your rate by about 8%, but you forfeited the abilty to defer til age 70, which would have given you about a 40% boost just because you waited.

Your wife, on the other hand, IF it would get her a bigger benefit than a piece of yours (her spousal) can increase her OWN benefit by 16% if she is 68 even, and suspends her payments until she is 70. If she is more than 68, it will be some increase between 8 and 16% - and this is an option IF growing her own would cause her to have a bigger benefit than spousal. Since currently her spousal is her biggest, it tells me she did not work much in her lifetime - so, this also means that each year she does choose to work and pay those SS taxes, could result in a separate boost to her own benefit amount, because she will be replacing one or more zero years that currently make up her top 35 years of income, with an actually positive earnings amount.

SInce you are both young, and not disabled, working more and saving may also be a great way to increase available funds in later years when you actually are unable to work (if that happens).

I am sorry you didn't ask these questions before you both decided to collect early, reduced retirement benefits - the ability to defer collecting to grow your monthly amount is behind you, and nearly behind your wife, although as I noted, she has between 1 and 2 years to do so and may want to IF it is better than her spousal. But, you do have your health, so continuing to work is likely your mutual best option in order to grow your monthly income.

Expert:  Stephanie O Joy, Esq replied 1 year ago.

I hope this helps! My goal is toprovide you with excellent and accurateservice – if you feel you have gotten anything less, please reply back, Iam happy to address follow-up questions.

Kindly rate me "excellent"when you are done. I look forward to assisting you in the future, shouldyou have legal questions. Be sure tostart future posts with "To ***** Esq., ONLY" ifyou want me to specifically answer it.

Sincerely, ***** ***** Joy, Esq.

Your online SS legal resource!

Expert:  Stephanie O Joy, Esq replied 1 year ago.

Hello again. It is month end -Please, if you haven't yet had the opportunity to do either of the items below, I ask that you do so now, because itis the only way I can receive credit for time spent with you. Please:

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If there's more I can do, please use the reply tab and let me know how I canbe of further assistance. It's my goal to provide you with excellent service- to make sure I answered the question you asked about. Please rate mehighly and provide me with feedback. And thanks for understanding how we receivecredit from the Site for contributing our time here!


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