March, 2021

Social Security March Newsletter

Social Security Spotlight: Survivor Benefits
RSSA | Social Security Newsletter | March 2021




March 2021 Newsletter

Top Stories

Four Obstacles in a Woman’s Path to a Financially Secure Retirement

Source: RSSA

“Preparing for retirement and attaining financial security is no easy task for anyone, but let’s consider the obstacles women face and how they can overcome them…”


3 Things Advisors Should Know About Social Security and Taxes

Source: ThinkAdvisor

“Understanding how Social Security income taxation works and being able to explain it to clients so you can help them manage it is a valuable service. But the Social Security claiming age decision requires consideration of many specific factors, and taxation of benefits is only one piece of the puzzle…”


Americans Don’t Understand These Facts About Social Security

Source: Yahoo Finance

“The survey results indicate that there’s a lot of confusion around how Social Security benefits operate. Many respondents did not understand how Social Security benefits work for disabled people, or that Social Security pays evenly between men and women…”



Will Your Stimulus Check Increase Your Tax On Social Security Benefits?

Source: Kiplinger

“April 15 will be here before you know it, so you’ll need to file your 2020 tax return soon if you haven’t done so already. You sure don’t want an unpleasant surprise when you do file your return. So, if you’re a retiree, hopefully we can put your mind at ease about stimulus checks and taxes on your Social Security benefits…”


RSSA Recently Featured In:

What is an RSSA? Who is an RSSA? How does one become an RSSA? Get the answers to the most frequently asked questions regarding RSSAs.
Martha Shedden is the President &
Co-Founder of RSSA.
Ask Martha
This month’s featured question: Do the young spouse (under age 62) child-in-care benefits apply to ex-spouses just as they do for spouses?
Martha’s response: The Social Security rules that apply to this situation can be confusing and include rules on dependent children and ex-spousal benefits…Although a young spouse under 62 who is caring for a child under 16 is normally entitled to collect spousal child-in-care benefits when his/her spouses collects Social Security, this provision does not apply to divorced spouses…
Social Security Spotlight: Survivor Benefits
What are survivor benefits? Survivors benefits are Social Security benefits paid to widows, widowers, and dependents of deceased eligible workers.
Who is considered eligible for survivor benefits? When a Social Security eligible worker dies, the survivors may include their children, widow(er)s, and parents. Children of a deceased worker who are in elementary or secondary school and under the age of 19 are eligible for survivor benefits. A widow(er) may collect survivor benefits if they were married to the deceased worker for at least 9 months and are age 60 or older or, if younger, are caring for a child under 16 or a child with a disability. However, a disabled widow(er) only needs to be 50 years of age to receive survivor benefits. The parents of a deceased worker who have been dependent on the worker and are at least 62 years of age may also be eligible for survivor benefits.
Are survivor benefits paid the same as spousal benefits? No. Spousal benefits are based on a living spouse’s (or ex-spouse’s) benefit and survivor benefits are based on a deceased spouse’s (or ex-spouse’s) benefit. The maximum spousal benefit one may be eligible to receive is 50% of the other spouse’s full retirement benefit (PIA). The maximum survivor benefit one may be eligible to receive is 100% of what the deceased spouse was collecting or what they would have been collecting at the time of their death. The exact amount of survivor benefits is dependent on several variables and there are also certain minimum amounts that the SSA pays to survivors.
How do you apply for survivor benefits? The Social Security Administration (SSA) needs to be notified of the death of a retiree. A funeral home usually takes on this responsibility. You cannot report a death or apply for survivor benefits online so you must do this at a SSA office or over the phone with a SSA representative.
What is a special lump-sum death payment? A $255 one-time payment will be made to a surviving spouse or child if they meet eligibility requirements. To learn more if you will receive this payment or how to receive it, contact your local SSA office.
Success Story Of The Month
Caroline, RSSA® 
I wanted to share a short story of my two clients, Jill and Richard. I worked with them several months ago and I knew that they were pleased with their analysis and they had thanked me. A few weeks ago, I received a handwritten note thanking me again and explaining how I had helped them feel much more prepared transitioning into retirement. It was unexpected, but it felt good reading their note of gratitude.
*Identifying details have been changed or omitted.
Medicare Update
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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Consult With An RSSA & Maximize Your Benefits
Most people don’t make optimal filing decisions and therefore, lose out on money they are entitled to. An RSSA® can help you maximize your Social Security benefits and support you in making the best decisions for your particular situation. An RSSA® can work with you in-person, on the phone, or via video. Request a consultation today. Get help now.
Our mission is to help Americans get the maximum Social Security income they are entitled to, enabling them to enjoy their lives more fully. 
RSSA is administered by NARSSA, the National Association of Registered Social Security Analysts. NARSSA provides a comprehensive online platform for professionals to gain Social Security knowledge and earn the RSSA credential.
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