On January 23, Bridgeworth is pleased to present Elaine Simmons, a thirty-four year veteran of the Social Security Administration, who will speak about options related to social security benefits. Elaine’s discussion is specifically geared to those whose ages range from 55-65 and who have not yet taken their Social Security Benefit.
Clients frequently inquire as to the best time and way to take their social security benefit. In light of the January 23 Social Security event, let’s discuss a few non-traditional social security benefit options.
- The “Phase-In” Strategy works between spouses and is used most often when there is an income gap between the two. The lower earning spouse may begin taking their reduced benefit at age 62, while the higher earning spouse restricts their application and only collects a spousal benefit at their full retirement age. The Phase-In strategy allows the higher earning spouse to delay their benefit until age 70 in order to receive the 8% delayed retirement credit.
- The “File & Suspend” Strategy allows for benefits at full retirement age with the opportunity for those benefits to continue to grow over time. This works when the higher earning spouse files for benefits and suspends receipt of said benefits until age 70. The lower-earning spouse is then eligible to receive a spousal benefit. At age 70, the higher earning spouse collects their own benefit which has benefited from the 8% delayed retirement credit.
- Widowed benefits can be collected at age 60 (age 50 if disabled). Benefits are based on age and the deceased spouse’s social security benefit. If survivor remarries after age 60, the marital status will not affect the survivors’ benefits. If the survivor’s own benefits are higher, he or she can switch to those as early as age 62.
- Divorce & Remarriage: If the marriage lasted ten or more years, the recipient is eligible for spousal or survivorship benefits. If benefits are received based on an ex-spouse’s record, it does not reduce their personal benefits or the benefits of his/her new spouse if he/she remarries. If remarried, Social Security benefits on the prior spouse are forfeited. There are a few exceptions here, but the main idea is that it is not possible to claim benefits on two spouses at the same time.
Please contact your advisor, if you have questions or would like to learn more about available options when it comes to claiming your Social Security benefits.