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My spouse wants to apply for spousal benefits on my earnings…

My spouse wants to apply...
My spouse wants to apply for spousal benefits on my earnings when he turns 66 in 3 months, then switch to his own account when he turns 70. I will be 63 in 6 months but want to delay retirement to 66 or older. Social security tells us because he turned 62 by the January 1, 2016 deadline he would qualify, but I would have to be either retired or age 66; however if we were divorced 2 years The retired ror age 66 restriction wouldn't apply. Can we appeal this policy? It is unfair to married couples. Unfair because I continue to work rather than retire at 62. And unfair because my husband is 3 years older than me. It seems arbitrary and I understand part of the policy interpretation was decided only a few months ago.
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Answered in 3 hours by:
5/17/2017
Matthew Breecher
Matthew Breecher, Certified Public Accountant (CPA)
Category: Social Security
Satisfied Customers: 287
Experience: Director
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This is not so much unfair as it is a protection for divorced or widowed individuals. Second, a married individual can only apply for more benefits if they didn't work as much as thier spouse; and the max is 50% of thier spouses current benefits.
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Also, you mention unfair because you continue to work at 62; that is not full retirement age, if you retired at 62 you would receive something like 80% of your full retirement Primary Insurance Amount (PIA).
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Customer reply replied 1 year ago
I think you misunderstand my question.
Customer reply replied 1 year ago
My question is about the restricted application that my husband would qualify for because he turned 62 before January 2, 2016, except we are not divorced. I am not retired yet. Is there a process for appealing social security's policy interpretation that allows a divorced spouse to receive this benefit but doesn't allow a married spouse the same benefit?
Lane
Lane, JD,CFP, MBA, CRPS
Category: Social Security
Satisfied Customers: 14,399
Experience: Law Degree, specialization in Tax Law and Corporate Law, CFP and MBA, Providing Financial, Social Security & Tax advice since 1986
Verified

Hi. My name's Lane. I am a different expert.

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I hold a law degree, with concentration in Tax Law, Estate law & Corporate law, an MBA in finance, a BBA, and CFP & CRPS (Chartered Retirement Plans Specialist) designations, as well - I’ve been providing financial, Social Security/Medicare, estate, corporate, non-profit, and tax advice to clients on three continents since 1986.

Bear with me just a moment and I’ll provide my initial response and then we can go from there if you have further questions on this.

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If you are being told by SSA that the restricted application availability is different for a divorced (previously married 10 years and still unmarried) individual than for a spouse the clerk on the front lines at Social Security is wrong.

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There is one small distinction; For the divorced individual, the former spouse must be greater than age 62 as well

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You need to stick to your guns here if THAT is the issue

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For married individuals AND for certain divorced individuals restricted application is still available (with the one distinction mentioned above) AS LONG AS the individual was 62 in 2015 (born 1953 or earlier - and because of SSA's attained age convention could be born on Jan 1 1954)

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Bear with me a moment and I'll get a graphic that should make this clear

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See this (attached)

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Please let me know if you have ANY questions at all, before rating me.

I hope you’ll rate me (using those stars, or faces on your screen, by clicking submit) based on thoroughness and accuracy, rather than any good news / bad news content.

Otherwise I’ll receive no compensation at all, from JustAnswer.

Thank you!

Lane

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Did you see my answer Sherrie?

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Did that help?

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Let me know if you need more here,

Lane

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Customer reply replied 1 year ago
Thank you Lane - maybe I am not describing the situation or questions properly. My apologies if I am using the wrong terminology, it is a little like a second language as I try to understand the rules.-My husband will be 66 in 3 months. I will be 62 in 6 months.-My husband wants to apply at age 66 for spousal benefits on my record (receive 50% of my estimated full retirement benefit).-He wants to delay his own benefits until age 70 to maximize benefits after 70.
(Physically he really can’t work much longer but doesn’t have all the requirements for disability social security. We figured we could bear reduced income for several years while I am still working, as long as he could convert to his own, higher, benefit at age 70 at about the same time my own retirement would further reduce our income.)-He was born before January 2, 1954 so the “deemed” filing rule doesn’t apply to him.-Social security tells us for him to receive spousal benefits:1) I must be between 62 & 70 (which I am)2) I must file for benefits before he can apply for spousal benefits. (But I want to keep working, retiring later so that my benefits are not reduced). This rule doesn’t apply to an ex-spouse filing on my record.3) If I file and suspend I have to be at full retirement age and if I did suspend, anyone receiving benefits on my record would not be able to receive benefits.4) If we had divorced two years ago, as an ex-spouse rule number 2 above would not apply and rule 3 would be irrelevant and he would easily be able to file for spousal benefits on my record.I have a hard time understanding why requirement 2 above doesn’t apply to an ex-spouse but keeps my spouse from being able to file on my record. It favors an ex-spouse over a current spouse. Requirement 3 above penalizes me because I want to keep working, rather than file at age 62. Part of my question is, is this information we got from social security correct? If so, are these hard rules that social security must apply? What are our options? Can we request a waiver or reconsideration or hearing?My apologies for this long description. Thank you.

Maybe it would help to understand that Social Security (SS) is a form of Social Insurance... designed (and amended over the years to shore up the struggling trust fund) with that safety net (only for those that need it to survive) legislative policy in mind.

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SS favors lower income individuals (you can see that when looking at the bend points in the formula), survivors (71.5 to 100% of a deceased spouse's benefit as opposed to the 50% or lower LIVING spousal benefit), and divorced individuals ALL becasue the assumption (yes, very general) is that those divorced, and surviving or divorced/surviving don't have anyone else in the household to rely upon.

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As congress tries to figure out how to shore up the system (the WEP and GPO provisions that limit the benefits for those that have another government pension, passed in the 80's, for example) just as they did in 2015 by taking away the File & Suspend strategy, claiming that people were gaming the system, this social safety net idea bubbles to the top every time.

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(This is also the policy behind reducing benefits for working while taking early).

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Requirement 2 is a direct result of the assumption (maybe flawed, maybe not) that the divorced spouse doesn't have anyone else in the household to rely upon.

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Number three is a direct result of the the provisions put in place by the bi-partisan budget amendment last fall, to help shore up the fund by eliminating what legislators called "gaming the system."

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Again, ALL of these provisions being justified by the general policy (legislative intent) that (1) it's a safety net for survival and (2) it's running out of money.

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You certainly CAN ask for reconsideration or appeal ... and that works very well when the clerks on the front lines at Social Security have gotten something wrong.

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But if they delineated the requirements as well as you have here, they got it right. And your reconsideration, appeal, ALJ hearing, or federal district court case would be asking for federal law to be changed.

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I'm so sorry to be the messenger.

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I would REALLY appreciate a positive rating (by using those stars on your screen and clicking submit) so that I will not have spent all of this time for no crediting at all.

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Thank you,

Lane

Lane
Lane, JD,CFP, MBA, CRPS
Category: Social Security
Satisfied Customers: 14,399
Experience: Law Degree, specialization in Tax Law and Corporate Law, CFP and MBA, Providing Financial, Social Security & Tax advice since 1986
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