Here’s what happens with Social Security payments when someone dies
“While Social Security rules can be complicated, the bottom line is that the dependent’s benefits stop at death. For survivors, how to get benefits – or whether you qualify – depends on several factors…”
7 Common And Costly Social Security Mistakes Source: Forbes
“Relying on the Social Security Administration (SSA) is another common error. I’ve heard anecdotes of people receiving incorrect advice from SSA representatives and being given different answers to the same question by different SSA reps…”
This month’s featured question: My mom just turned 62 and not yet collecting Social Security. Her husband (my dad) died at age 46. She works full-time. What is my mom eligible to collect from my deceased dad’s benefits and will her current income have an impact on this?
Martha’s response: The ability to start collecting widow survivor benefits, and then later switch to her own retirement benefits when they become larger, is something to consider. Your mom will also need to keep in mind the earnings test if she collects benefits while still working and younger than her FRA (Full Retirement Age)…
Social Security Spotlight: Divorce & Ex-Spousal Benefits
What are the divorced eligibility requirements for collecting Social Security benefits? If you are divorced, you still may be eligible to receive benefits based on your ex-spouse’s record (and your ex-spouse may be eligible to receive benefits based on your record too). You may be eligible to collect ex-spousal benefits if you were married for more than 10 years, you are currently single, and you are at least age 62.
Does my ex-spouse need to be collecting their retirement benefits in order for me to collect benefits based on his/her record? It depends. If you have been divorced for more than 2 years, you are considered “independently entitled” and therefore your ex-spouse does not need to be collecting retirement benefits in order for you to receive ex-spousal benefits based on his/her record. If you have been divorced for less than 2 years, you must wait until your ex-spouse is collecting their retirement benefits in order for you to collect a spousal benefit based on his/her record.
Will my ex-spouse know that I am receiving benefits based on his/her record? It is common for individuals to be completely unaware that their ex-spouse is collecting benefits based on their record. Ex-spousal benefits will not have an impact on the benefits of the one whose record they are being paid from.
What documents will I need to apply for ex-spousal benefits? There are several documents you may need and these include your birth certificate, proof of citizenship, W-2, marriage certificate, and divorce decree.
I recently met with a client who went through a “messy divorce” a couple years ago. She is currently single, 59 years old, and has one adult child. She works full-time and plans on working for as long as she needs to, which is why she came to me for help. She wanted to find out when she could afford to stop working, when she should file for benefits, and if she could get any benefits from her ex-husband.
While I was able to support her with all of her requests, she was most surprised and happy to learn that she will be able to receive half of her ex-husband’s benefit if she waits until her Full Retirement Age to collect and she will not need to coordinate with him at all. This was great news for her because that benefit will be bigger than her own retirement benefit. She was grateful to have worked with me and I am happy to have helped her!
*Identifying details have been changed or omitted.
Medicare’s open enrollment period ended December 7, 2020. However, those enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Plan have until March 31, 2021 to make certain changes such as switching to a different Medicare Advantage Plan or reverting back to Original Medicare and joining a separate Medicare drug plan.
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