Ask Martha

Your Questions Answered

Martha Shedden is RSSA’s President and Co-Founder. Read Martha’s responses to questions regarding Social Security. View all questions or browse by category. Submit your own question to Martha here.

If a wife collects her retirement benefits at age 62 and her husband collects at age 70, what amount of survivor benefit will she receive if he dies before her?

Full Question: If a wife collects her social security at age 62, taking a 30% cut for early distributions, and her husband waits till 70 to collect his. If the husbands then passes away, I know the wife is entitled to receive his survivor benefit. This benefit includes the extra 32% because he waited to…

Read More

Once you begin collecting Social Security benefits, can the amount increase or decrease?

Full question: Once you begin drawing SSA retirement, can it go up or down? Hi there, Unless there are major, immediate changes to the Social Security rules, it can only increase. In fact, it can increase in several ways. First of all, the annual cost of living adjustment, COLA, normally increases benefits unless the COLA…

Read More

Will marriage impact my future spouse’s benefits?

Full question: I was previously married for 28 years, but am now single, age 67 and collecting Social Security. If I marry a 69-year old lady, who is also collecting Social Security, will her benefit amount change? Hello, Her benefit may change if the spousal benefit she would be eligible to collect is greater than…

Read More

If I receive a foreign pension and qualify for spousal benefits, can I receive both?

Hi, Yes, you still qualify for full Social Security spousal benefits; your foreign pension will have no bearing on your eligibility for spousal benefits. Foreign pensions are not considered as government pensions for purposes of the GPO provision, as specified in the first bullet of Section B, Payments That Are Not Pensions For GPO, in…

Read More

I plan on working past age 70. Can I collect Social Security while I continue to work?

Hi, Yes, you can and depending on the amount that you earn during those years, your Social Security benefits may increase due to Social Security’s Recomputation of Benefits provision. Each year you work, you add to your earnings record and Social Security automatically recalculates your benefits. They average your years of earnings through the year…

Read More

If my partner and I, both in our late sixties, get married, will that impact our Social Security benefits?

Full question: Hi. My partner and I have been together for over 7 years, but we are not married. I am 64 and plan on collecting Social Security next year at 65. My partner is 69 and already collecting Social Security. If we decide to get married, will this impact our benefits (negatively or positively)?…

Read More