Are you getting your options, right? Can you really get more?
Social Security has so many rules and can be super confusing, even for the good folks at a local Social Security office.
Consider this interesting situation:
A 62-year-old woman, whose age makes her eligible to file her own benefit at a reduced rate from her full retirement age (FRA) of 66. She is in her second marriage as she was widowed from her first husband. She is told by the Social security office she could not file a survivor benefit because she is remarried so she files a reduced benefit on her own record and receives her benefit of $1584 per month.
When she explains her situation, we would tell her she is eligible to receive a survivor benefit as she re-married after age 60, so we send her paperwork from social security to clarify the rules and tell her to bring that document with her on her next appointment.
Sure enough, the office admits their mistake, withdraws her reduced benefit application, files a survivor benefit only with a clause of intentions to re-apply for her own SS in the future. The survivor benefit is $2,274 per month which is $690 per month more.
What is even more interesting is at age 70 when she will re-apply, the amount is $2802 per month before any COLA adjustments. Had she not thought to reach out she may have locked in $1584 per month versus her eventual $2802 per month.
Do the math, in this case it is an enormous amount over a lifetime by knowing your options.
This can be tricky stuff.
If you have questions on your own case, please reach out and we will try to help.
Peter Livingston, (704) 658-9190
The case study provided is for illustration purposes only. It is not meant for financial, tax, or investment advice. Your situation is unique, and your results will vary.