THINKING RETIREMENT – ANDY LANDIS – Are you a Social Security “Dualie?” You probably are but don’t know it. Here are special rules for Dualies.
Most of us can get Social Security in more than one way. If you’re a worker with a working spouse or former spouse, living or deceased, you’re a “Dualie,” my word for those with Social Security dual eligibility.
As a Dualie, you have rights and options that others don’t. Let’s look at the special rules that apply to Dualies.
Worker with eligible current spouse
You’re eligible for your own Social Security payments, plus spousal payments on your spouse’s work record. Special rules:
- Eligibility. For you to get spousal payments, your spouse must file for their own Social Security. You must be at least 62 (or caring for the worker’s eligible child under 16). You can file at 62, but spousal payments are highest if claimed at Full Retirement Age (FRA, currently 66).
- Deemed filing. If you file for one payment before FRA, you’re deemed to file for both. You can’t take first one payment, then the other later.
- Spousal-only claim. If you first file at FRA or later, deemed filing doesn’t apply. You could choose only spousal payments from FRA to age 70, then switch to your own payment if larger. Your own payment grows every month you delay it, up to age 70. This powerful claiming strategy can greatly increase your lifetime payout.
- More details HERE http://ssa.gov/retire2/applying6.htm.
Worker with an eligible former spouse
You’re eligible for your own Social Security, plus spousal payments on your ex-spouse’s work record. Special rules:
- Eligibility. To file as a former spouse, your marriage must have lasted 10 years, and you must be unmarried. Otherwise the rules are the “spouse” rules above, with two exceptions: (1) There are no payments before 62, even with a child in care. (2) If you’re divorced over two years, you can get spousal payments even if your ex-spouse doesn’t claim Social Security.
- Deemed filing applies before FRA.
- Spousal-only claims are possible if filing after FRA.
- More details HERE http://ssa.gov/retire2/divspouse.htm.
Worker with a deceased current or former spouse
You’re eligible for your own Social Security, plus widow or widower payments on your deceased spouse or former spouse. Special rules:
- Eligibility. You must be at least 60 for widow(er) payments (or caring for the worker’s eligible child under 16). You can file at age 60, but widow(er)’s payments are highest if claimed at FRA. You must be currently single, or remarried after age 60. Your deceased spouse did not have to get Social Security, nor even reach Social Security age. If divorced at the time of death, you must be at least 60, and your marriage must have lasted 10 years.
- Deemed filing does not apply. You have a variety of pathways, such as widow’s payment at 60, then your own at 70. Or your own at 62, then widow’s payments at FRA.
- More details HERE http://ssa.gov/survivorplan/ifyou.htm
All of this is covered in much more detail in MY BOOK http://www.amazon.com/Social-Security-Edition-Explains-Benefits/dp/1499255233/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1401474465&sr=8-2&keywords=landis+social+security.
Consider this an introduction; be sure to consult SSA for official information. And as always, keep on planning.