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My wife turned 66 last july but hasn't applied for spousal…

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My wife turned 66...

My wife turned 66 last july but hasn't applied for spousal benefits. i am 67 but am not taking social security until 70. i know that for her waiting doesn't increase her spousal benefits but when she applies in april, will she be able to collect retroactively from her 66th birthday which was in july?

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

Pennsylvania

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

No

Submitted: 5 months ago.Category: Tax
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Customer reply replied 5 months ago
thank you. please have them email me the answer at***@******.***
Answered in 12 minutes by:
3/12/2018
Tax Professional: Stephen G., Sr Income Tax Expert replied 5 months ago
Stephen G.
Stephen G., Sr Income Tax Expert
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Satisfied Customers: 7,469
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Tax Professional: Stephen G., Sr Income Tax Expert replied 5 months ago

We aren't able to use personal emails; all communications must go through the site unless a Premium Service is involved, which isn't necessary in this circumstance.

The Social Security Administration can go back a maximum of six months, so she won't be able to be paid retroactively for any more than that when she applies if her Spousal Benefits exceed her own benefits based upon her own earnings record.

Steve G.

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Customer reply replied 5 months ago
she can get retroactively 6 months. she doesn't have enough credits on her own so she would be getting spousal benefits which would be about $1,400 per month so she would get a check for $8,400 and then starting on May, get a check for the $1,400 per month going forward?
Tax Professional: Stephen G., Sr Income Tax Expert replied 5 months ago

Well, there's another wrinkle based upon a change in the File & Suspend rules as they would apply in this situation unless you have previously "filed & suspended" your benefits prior to April 30, 2016.

If that's not the case, then she would only be able to claim her full retirement benefit and she would not be eligible for a Spousal Benefit unless you file for your retirement benefits first.

Here's a summary of the revised rules as they would apply to your wife if you didn't file and suspend by April 30, 2016:

"Unfortunately due to changed Social Security rules that were signed into law in November 2015, only those who reach the age of 62 on or before January 1, 2016 - which means you were born on or before January 1, 1954, can file a restricted application for spousal benefits. (Widow and widowers, however, can continue to use a restricted application.)

In addition, you must have reached full retirement age (FRA) and your spouse must have applied for benefits.

If your spouse had reached their own FRA, up until April 30th, 2016 they had the option to file and suspend benefits, which would have allowed you to collect a spousal benefit now.

Since the April 30th, 2016 deadline has now passed, if your spouse suspends their own benefits, it would also suspend any benefits based on their record - which means you could not claim a spousal benefit while their benefit was suspended."

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Customer reply replied 5 months ago
I am not sure what you mean. Neither my wife or I have applied for social security. She is going to apply for spousal benefits. What if anything I need to do in order for that to be effectuated. Please try to be simple and clear. Thank you
Tax Professional: Stephen G., Sr Income Tax Expert replied 5 months ago

The new rules provide that she may not collect Spousal Benefits based upon your earnings record until you have applied for and are collecting your own retirement benefits.

How short of the 40 quarters is she in terms of qualifying on her own earnings record?

Don't shoot the messenger, but those are the new rules that apply based upon the 2015 change in the law as described above.

Steve G.

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Customer reply replied 5 months ago
ok. so that means that i will have to collect social security in order for her to get her spousal benefits. ironically, i was thinking of applying on my 68th birthday anyway which is in april.
Tax Professional: Stephen G., Sr Income Tax Expert replied 5 months ago

That's correct.

Your benefit, as I'm sure you know, will be permanently increased by 16% (8% a year) over your normal full retirement benefit at your full retirement age & your wife will be able to collect 50% of your full retirement benefit at your full retirement age (66%) (no additional 16%). However, she should still be able to collect her lump-sum amount for the 6 months prior to claiming her Spousal retirement benefit based upon your earnings record.

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Tax Professional: Stephen G., Sr Income Tax Expert replied 5 months ago

By the way, if you give up 4% of that 16% enhanced benefit, you would also be able to collect for 6 months prior to your application date, which based upon the numbers you provided sounds like a reasonable trade-off to me.

One final note, I strongly recommend that you both apply at your local SSA office in person, so that you can go over the computations with a Benefits Counselor and so that you can make sure that you understand the computations that are made in the case of both of your benefits and that nothing is lost in the translation.

Also note that Social Security Benefits are paid one month in arrears, so that your payment for April won't be received until May. If you are planning on filing for benefits beginning in April, you should make an appointment with your local SSA office now as it can take 2 or 3 months for processing the paperwork.

I'll give you a link where, using your ZipCode you can find the address and local telephone number of the closest local SSA office.

Please remember to rate my response as that is the only way the SITE will credit me for assisting you today.

Thanks very much,

Steve G.

Link will follow.........................

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Tax Professional: Stephen G., Sr Income Tax Expert replied 5 months ago
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