September, 2022

September 2022 Newsletter

Social Security Spotlight: Survivor Benefits
NARSSA | Social Security Newsletter | September 2022
September 2022 Newsletter


Hi there. Please enjoy reading our September newsletter filled with news and information on Social Security, retirement, and Medicare. Please reach out at with any feedback on our newsletters. We are always happy to hear from you!


Top Stories

Source: Yahoo
Finance writer Heather Taylor asks Martha Shedden to shed light on the mistake of claiming Social Security benefits too early. She explains that retiring from work and collecting benefits do not need to happen simultaneously.
Source: Barron’s
Figuring out the best time to claim benefits is a complex decision and takes many factors into consideration such as life expectancy. NARSSA President & Co-Founder Martha Shedden shares a reminder with Barron’s writer Elizabeth O’Brien that couples need to take both individuals and both of their life expectancies into consideration.
Source: Yahoo Finance
Over one million retirees have reentered the workforce within the last year. Columnist Kerry Hannon interviews NARSSA’s President & Co-Founder Martha Shedden to discuss how the Social Security earnings test can impact the benefits of the retirees who have now “unretired.”
Source: Dollar Wise Podcast
Catherine Allen-Carlozo from HFM Investment Advisors sits down with Martha Shedden and has a conversation about what you must know about Social Security so that you can get as much money as possible during retirement.
Source: Sage Money Conversations Podcast
Martha Shedden was recently a guest on Barbara Norman’s podcast. Barbara and Martha discuss some of the loopholes in Social Security and what they mean to you.


Catch up with Devin  


The US Bureau of Labor Statistics just released the CPI-W for August, which means were getting closer to determining 2023’s Social Security COLA (Cost of Living Adjustment). The COLA is calculated based on the increase in the CPI-W (Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers) in the third quarter of the current year compared to the increase in the CPI-W in the third quarter of the previous year. The third quarter includes July, August, and September. The final COLA won’t be released until we have September’s CPI-W, but with July and August in the past we have our latest projection. Watch Devin Carroll, RSSA share his official forecast for the 2023 Social Security Cost of Living Adjustment.  Watch the video.


Ask Martha  


Question: I am 70 and deferred claiming until now, receiving my first check this month. My wife turns 62 this December and we’re trying to determine whether to claim hers at that time or how advantageous it might be to have her wait until 67. Not sure how the spousal benefits rules impact this.


Martha’s response: Spousal benefits increase each year from age 62 (earliest) until Full Retirement Age, at which time the most a spouse can receive is 50% of the higher earning spouse’s PIA. The claiming decision depends on what the lower earning spouse’s own benefit is. Determining when your spouse should claim can be a difficult decision with some moving parts…Read Martha’s full response or Ask Martha your own question.


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.

Learn more about survivor benefits.


Social Security With Tom

Social Security with Tom is our newest series. Each episode in this series will feature different Social Security topics, strategies, client questions and much more to help you optimize your Social Security. This epiosde is all about improper Social Secuirty payments. Could you or a client be collecting the incorrect benefit amount? Watch now and subscribe to our YouTube channel here.


Case Study of the Month  

If we all knew when we will die, retirement planning would be so much easier! But because we don’t, we need to help clients plan as if they will reach their expected maximum age of life, based on lifestyle, hereditary, and health considerations.
A couple recently reached out for Social Security help, both planning to collect early at 62, because it would just be a portion of their retirement income and they didn’t put much weight into it. I learned all four of their parents are still alive and in their 90s, which made me urge them to reconsider. They didn’t know about the survivor benefit, so that was one major factor. But once we ran the numbers with a life expectancy of 90, we learned it would be over $300,000 more in lifetime benefits if they choose to delay benefits until the maximum filing dates of 70 and 67. Understanding the difference, especially over a long life, can be so valuable!


Medicare Update  


Financial Risks of Choosing the Wrong Medicare Plan

Source: RSSA


By making a few wrong choices, you could end up paying monthly premiums that are way too costly, or you might end up paying way too much for out-of-pocket medical expenses. Worst of all, you might have a significant gap in your coverage, and that means you could end up paying for expensive medical services yourself, with no hope of reimbursement. Don’t make these Medicare mistakes.


Listen up: Social Security Podcast   

In this episode Martha sits down with Mary Beth Franklin and they discuss many important topics related to Social Security claiming decisions that all retirees will face. Mary Beth Franklin is a CFP® and a retirement speaker and author and she has been a financial journalist for more than 40 years. During the episode, Mary Beth shares how she picked writing about Social Security and retirement issues and they discuss the common regrets that people have about their Social Security decisions.
You can listen to Social Security Answers from the Experts on Spotify, Google, Apple or anywhere you listen to podcasts. You can even watch the live recordings on our YouTube channel. Listen here or watch on YouTube.


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.


RSSA Back Office

Are you a financial advisor, insurance professional, tax professional, lawyer or NARSSA member with clients that need help optimizing their Social Security? Work with an experienced partner to outsource your Social Security planning. Our team of expert Social Security advisors will help your clients take advantage of strategies that may yield hundreds of thousands of dollars in additional lifetime benefits. Learn more.

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