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Your Social Security Advisor

Age Seventy Hasn’t Yet Applied for Social Security – Ask Rusty

social security-rusty-marry-girlfriend social security benefits benefit increase medicare benefits retireeDear Rusty: How can I maximize my monthly Social Security benefit? I’m already 70 years old – almost 71 now.  Signed: Ready to Apply.

Dear Ready to Apply: You’ve already maximized your monthly Social Security benefit by waiting until age 70 to apply. Age 70 is when you stop earning delayed retirement credits, which have boosted your monthly benefit amount by 32% over what you would have received at your full retirement age of 66, and by 76% over what you would have received if you had claimed benefits early at age 62. Your maximum Social Security benefit is reached in the month you turn 70 years of age, so you shouldn’t delay any longer. Since you’re now actually more than 70 (almost 71), you should immediately claim your Social Security benefit and you should also ask for 6 months of retroactive benefits, which SS will give you in a lump-sum. You can claim your benefits by contacting the Social Security office (find your local office at www.ssa.gov/locator) and making an appointment to apply for benefits, or you can apply online at www.ssa.gov. To apply online, you’ll have to first set up your personal “My Social Security” online account at www.ssa.gov, and then complete and submit your application online. You should specify your “benefit start month” as six months before the date you apply to get the retroactive benefits.

If you are married, since you have not yet applied for benefits your wife is not yet receiving spousal benefits from your record. Assuming she has reached her full retirement age, her spousal benefit will be half of the benefit you were eligible to receive at your full retirement age, if that amount is more than she is entitled to on her own lifetime work record. If your wife was born on or before January 1st, 1954 she should contact your local Social Security office to file for her spousal benefit.  If your wife was born January 2nd, 1954 or later, her spousal benefit should be automatically added to her own benefit when you claim, and she should not need to contact Social Security to apply. I encourage you both to claim these benefits as soon as possible, because each month you delay you are losing benefits which you are entitled to. This is true even if one or both of you are still working, because there is no penalty for working after you have reached full retirement age. And even if you’re still working and paying FICA taxes monthly, your benefit will not increase just because you are still paying into Social Security.

This article is intended for information purposes only and does not represent legal or financial guidance. It presents the opinions and interpretations of the AMAC Foundation’s staff, trained and accredited by the National Social Security Association (NSSA). NSSA and the AMAC Foundation and its staff are not affiliated with or endorsed by the Social Security Administration or any other governmental entity. To submit a question, visit our website (amacfoundation.org/programs/social-security-advisory) or email us at ssadvisor@amacfoundation.org.

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wandamurline

Talk about discrimination against women…..we get half of what the man gets….even though we made more money and paid more ss over the years? The last 2.5 years I worked, I paid social security on $54,000 each year and also taxes on that money, but I get half of what my husband gets? And what is this crap that after you retire, if you go back to work making a lot of money and paying social security on that money, you do NOT get credit for this money….it is shared with everyone else…this is just not right…..if you are over 70 and make a lot of money and are not getting credit because you are drawing your social security, then why the hell do you have to pay any in to the system….Bernie Madoff would be proud of the way the social security administration has screwed over the senior population.

G Parsons

My mother is 85 and my father 89. Mother worked but did not pay into social security. My father draws social security benefits, he worked and paid into it, could my mother receive also, as spousal benefits???

Richard Sharp

I’m 74, almost 75. I have never applied for S/S nor will I. Why? Because I don’t want anything from the Gov.
When people tell me that it’s my money, You paid into it, you should collect. My view is, They spent my money and gave most of it to our enemies. If I were to collect now, I would be collecting someone else’s money. Money they are working for now.

Richard Sharp

Kim

Rusty–
I was under the impression that any missed months of SS payments (for example, for filing late) would be pro-rated over the recipient’s expected longevity and added to the payments once they begin. Can you clarify? And thanks for the column.

Louise Mussienko

When my husband passed away in 2012, I was told I wasn’t eligible for ANY benefit(except for a very small amount they gave me in a lump sum) because my monthly SS benefit would be higher than his benefit so therefore I must claim only one and that would be my own. My DOB is 11/17/1954. I was 57 when he died. I will be 65 on 11/17. Just doesn’t seem right. He was collecting when he passed away. I actually went in and was told that plus I called twice. Got the same answer from everyone.

Bruce Miller

If the wife is born on or before January 1, 1954 and he has begun his benefit (at any age), she is eligible to file a ‘Restricted Application’, which means she will receive the spousal benefit of 50% of his PIA (the amount he would have received if he began his benefit in the month he attained his Full Retirement Age) while her own benefit receives Delayed Retirement Credits of 8% per year up to age 70, when she would switch from the spousal benefit to her own. This can be done on-line at the My Social Security web site.