December, 2021

Social Security December Newsletter

Social Security Spotlight: Spousal Benefits
NARSSA | Social Security Newsletter | December 2021
December 2021 Newsletter


Top Stories  


Five Social Security Changes in 2022

Source: RSSA


Read about the important changes to the Social Security program that will take effect beginning January 2022. These changes include an increase in benefits for all Social Security beneficiaries and an increase in the amount of earnings subject to the Social Security payroll tax.


Why Advisors Should Watch the Social Security 2100 Bill

Source: ThinkAdvisor


Martha Shedden answers 10 questions on her personal and professional endeavors. Read to find out what she considers a high priority and something to keep a close eye on in the retirement industry.


The New Social Security Statements: Reasons To Check Yours Out

Source: Forbes


Experts in the field, including Martha Shedden, share their thoughts on the newly redesigned Social Security statements. Martha has a mixed review.


Social Security Dependent Benefits

Source: TheStreet


In the second of a multi-part webinar series, Martha Shedden explains Social Security dependent benefits, including spousal and survivors benefits.


Catch up with Devin  


The Social Security 2100 Act was recently reintroduced to the House of Representatives. Watch this video as Devin Carroll, RSSA® breaks down this bill for you and the changes it would bring to the Social Security program. Watch now.



A caller has an important question, “Should I withhold taxes?” Watch this video and listen to Devin Carroll’s response and learn other Social Security basics. Watch now.



Ask Martha  

Question: Can I collect a spousal benefit at age 62 and then delay and switch to my own benefit at my full retirement age?
Answer: If you are eligible for more than one Social Security benefit, when you apply you will be “deemed to be filing” for all the benefits you are eligible to collect and you will receive the higher amount. This means that you cannot take one benefit and delay collecting the other. You will receive your own benefit amount and if the spousal benefit is higher, you would receive an additional spousal amount… Read the full response or ask Martha your own question.


Social Security Spotlight: Spousal Benefits


How do you qualify for spousal benefits? To qualify for spousal benefits, your own retirement benefit must be less than the amount of the spousal benefit and you must be at least 62 years old or be caring for a qualifying child (under 16 or disabled).

What is the spousal benefit amount? The maximum spousal benefit is equal to 50% of your spouse’s monthly benefit amount (PIA, Primary Insurance Amount), if you begin collecting it at your own Full Retirement Age (FRA). If you collect a spousal benefit prior to your own FRA, the spousal benefit will be reduced, and this reduction is permanent. There is no increase in a spousal benefit by waiting to collect after your own FRA.

What are the marriage requirements? In order to be eligible to receive spousal benefits, you must be married for one year or you must be the parent of your spouse’s child. If you are divorced, but you were married for more than 10 years, then you may also be eligible to receive ex-spousal benefits.

Can you collect a spousal benefit and a retirement benefit? If you are eligible to collect more than one benefit, you will only be able to receive the amount equal to the higher benefit. Therefore, if you are eligible for your own retirement benefit as well as a spousal benefit, you will receive the amount that is the higher of the two benefits.


Learn more about spousal benefits here.


Case Study of the Month  


I recently worked with a couple who have a 7-year age gap and have a son aged 14. The husband just turned 62, and they were considering whether to file for benefits so that their son could receive children’s benefits until he turns 18 and the wife could receive spousal child-in-care benefits until he turns 16. They were unsure of the long-term impact this would have on their retirement benefits from Social Security. It turns out that the husband also was the primary earner, so his monthly Social Security benefit would be significantly higher than his wife’s.


My clients learned that taking the benefits now would result in an extra $45k of benefits related to their son, but would reduce the survivor benefit for the younger wife by over 40% compared to filing at 70. Additionally, the monthly retirement benefit payments would be significantly lower. With professional support from an RSSA®, they learned that the special benefit they could receive by filing early (in order to take children’s benefits) would result in missing out on $200,000+ over the rest of their lives.


Listen up: Podcasts by the RSSA Team  

Social Security: Answers From The Experts

Each week, Martha Shedden meets with financial experts to discuss important issues on Social Security and retirement planning. Her guests include Mary Beth Franklin, Larry Kotlikoff, and more. Listen now.


The Devin Carroll Show

The Devin Carroll Show sponsored by NARSSA is a caller-driven show that helps you simplify the complicated Social Security rules so you can get every dollar in benefits you deserve. Listen now.


Consult with an RSSA to optimize your benefits  

Most people make a sub-optimal filing decision, losing out on money they are entitled to. An RSSA can help you optimize your Social Security benefits and support you in making the best decisions for your personal situation. Get help now.

Train to become a Social Security expert  

Are you a financial or state-licensed professional? Download our free white paper and discover the benefits of becoming a Social Security expert and offering Social Security advisory services to your clients. Ready to get started with our self-study program? Sign up now.

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