What Every Woman Must Know About Social Security in 2017

what-every-woman-must-know-about-social-security-2017

#socialsecurity #fullretirementage

 

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Whether single, married, widowed, or divorced, women depend on Social Security more than men – and they typically get less in benefits. Sometimes less received in benefits is because of a lower earnings record; other times it’s because women claim their benefits without being fully aware of all that’s available to them.
In this webinar, Robin Brewton of Social Security Solutions, Inc. will focus on helping women understand the benefits they might qualify for, how to determine the factors that impact benefit payments, and how to get the most in Social Security retirement benefits. Included in her discussion will be:

  • Why women get less
  • Retirement risks for women and why Social Security strategy matters
  • Special considerations for women who are:
    • Married
    • Single
    • Divorced
    • Widowed
  • How to get the most in benefits, regardless of your marital status
  • What every woman needs to know before she claims benefits

Robin Brewton cropped

About Robin:

Robin Brewton is Vice President of Client Services at Social Security Solutions, Inc. and manages the client advice process as well as advisor education, marketing, communications and public relations. Robin has been with Social Security Solutions, Inc. since its inception and speaks regularly to consumer, employee, civic, and professional groups about Social Security. In addition, she conducts seminars for financial professionals to improve the quality of their advice related to Social Security. Robin has a Bachelor’s Degree in Secondary Education and a Master of Arts Degree in Communication Studies, both from Texas Tech University, and she holds a Series 65 license. Robin held leadership roles at Cox Communications, Wells Fargo and Time Warner prior to joining Social Security Solutions. She is active in the Kansas City community with Harvesters Community Food Network, the American Cancer Society and Mission Southside.

Savvy Ladies is a 501(c)(3) non-profit dedicated to empowering women through financial education.

Social Security Solutions, Inc. is an affiliate partner, which means if you purchase any services they offer, Savvy Ladies will get some money.

Thank you! We’ll use it to help educate more women.

SSSI has been a terrific support to Savvy Ladies and our answer to the overwhelming number of inquiries coming from you, concerning Social Security.
Click here if you want to view what services Social Security Solutions, Inc. has to offer.

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Comments (46)

  1. Patrice L Johson-Kelly - Reply

    How can I file against my living husband’s social security benefits to increase my social security disability insurance?

    • Hello Patrice
      SSI is a needs based benefit and you have not provided enough details here. You absolutely should call Social Security (hopefully you have set up an account on mysocial security https://secure.ssa.gov/RIL/SiView.do
      If you can increase your benefit by claiming on your husband (or ex husbands) work record, social security will provide the higher amount. There are a number of variables including age and when you husband began or will begin collecting his SS.

  2. I am 70 and I’m currently drawing my ex husband’s benefits as he is deceased. If I go onto my own work record for benefits, what happens and how soon am I cut off of his. I have two small retirements also, but they are not enough to live on alone.
    Thank You, Sharon L. Davis

    • Dear Sharon,
      When best to claim benefits that you are entitled to is a complicated science, based on a few variables. Widows can often lose thousands from not understanding how best to claim their benefits and The Social Security administration is under no obligation to advise you of what’s the most advantageous for you—so they don’t.

      What needs to be considered
      Your employment and work record
      Your deceased husband lifetime earnings
      Claim on his first—claim on yours first –claim one or the other??

      There is an optimal strategy for when to claim your deceased but as mentioned this is a critical decision so best to get all the information you need.

      Laurence Kotlikoff has written a lot about the subject of social security for PBS –here is a link to an article dealing specifically with widows
      http://www.pbs.org/newshour/making-sense/what-social-securitys-survivors-planner-wont-tell-you-about-taking-widows-benefits/

      After hundreds of women came to Savvy Ladies seeking answers to their social security questions we partnered with Social Security Solutions so that women would understand that there is a reliable resource in which to determine what the best strategy is for you via an algorithm. Its inexpensive so please take a look

      One of their principles did a webinar for us –she addresses the subject of widows at the end of the webinar (slide 35) http://www.savvyladies.org/every-woman-must-know-social-security/

      Here’s a link to the software product
      http://socialsecuritysolutions.com/partners/savvyladies/

      Please make sure you understand the best claiming strategy for your situation

      We’re here if you have any additional questions

  3. i am 74 and retired my husband 64 and has not retired yet. he plans to within one year. can i increase my benefits from his.?

    • Dear Patricia
      Claiming strategies for married couples are very important, especially when you have two benefit accounts. You will get an increase because Social Security will look at your combined benefits and take the higher of the two
      Your full spouse’s benefit could be up to one-half the amount your spouse is entitled to receive at their full retirement age. If you choose to begin receiving spouse’s benefits before you reach full retirement age, your benefit amount will be permanently reduced.

      Savvy Ladies partnered with Social Security Solutions to inform women about a resource that can save them money.
      Take a look at our webinar on the subject http://www.savvyladies.org/every-woman-must-know-social-security/

      and also at this resource
      http://socialsecuritysolutions.com/partners/savvyladies/

  4. if both spouses worked but one retired at 62 and took his/her SS reduced benefit but the spouse continued to work till full retirement age can the spouse put in for the spousal benefit and delay their SS till later and will their spousal benefit be based on the reduced amount the spouse received?

    • Hello Marjorie
      Knowing how/when to claim your Social Security benefit is a VERY important decision. The Budget Act of 2015 closed the File and Suspend loophole for couples. You may be eligible to collect on your spouses benefit and hold off until age 70.
      Savvy Ladies felt so strongly about the many questions received on our website regarding this issue that we partnered with Social Security Solutions to assist our community with this often complicated benefit–we totally believe its worth $20.00 to get the best information and guidance on when best to apply and what you are entitled to given that your spouse is currently collecting benefits.
      I’d encourage you to watch or listen to our webinar on the subject http://www.savvyladies.org/every-woman-must-know-social-security/
      and take a look at Social Security Solutions http://socialsecuritysolutions.com/partners/savvyladies/

  5. Melissa Alger Carden - Reply

    I am 61 and want to know if I can apply for Social Security now. Also my husband is disabled and on Social Security already he is 62. Because he is disabled can I draw part of his benefits?

    • Hello Melissa,
      Full retirement age (FRA)is the age at which a person may first become entitled to full or un-reduced retirement benefits. The earliest you can apply is age 62 but you will receive a reduced benefit.
      Savvy Ladies partnered with Social Security Solutions to assist our community with this often complicated benefit–we totally believe its worth $20.00 to get the best information and guidance on when best to apply and what you are entitled to given that your spouse is currently collecting benefits.
      http://socialsecuritysolutions.com/partners/savvyladies/

  6. I am 60 yrs old widow and collecting survivors social security when i am older will the amount change? to less than what i am getting now? or will it increase

    • Dear Patricia,
      Your benefit will not decrease. If a person receives widow’s benefits, and will qualify for their own retirement benefit that’s more than their survivors benefit, they can switch to their own retirement benefit as early as age 62 or as late as age 70. If you were not employed and do not have a certain number of qualifying credits (years in the labor force) you cannot claim on your own benefit. The increase you will receive on the current survivors benefit with be a Cost of Living increase which is typically 1-3% annually. If you have your own benefit consider waiting as long as you are able (age 70) to begin claiming your benefit.

  7. Carol Lott-Knight - Reply

    I have a question: I was told by a Social Security employee when I went to apply for my deceased husband’s benefits that I did not qualify for his benefits because I was still working and earning too much income. Is this true?

    • Dear Carol,
      Sorry for your loss. Filing for Social Security Benefits is unfortunately a complex science. There are a number of variables that dictate when best to apply for your benefit and when to apply for your deceased husband’s benefit. It is true that there is an earning test for benefits and you could be making too much money currently. This brochure gives you some idea of what those limits are https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10069.pdf

      We partnered with Social Security Solutions because we wanted women to be aware that there is a resource that is available. For a tiny investment you can better understand when to claim his benefit and when to claim yours–just because you can’t claim it now doesn’t mean that it won’t be there later, and you’ll want to understand how to maximize that benefit.
      You can watch our webinar on the subject http://www.savvyladies.org/every-woman-must-know-social-security/

      and here is the link to Social Security Solutions
      http://socialsecuritysolutions.com/partners/savvyladies/

  8. I am waiting till 67 which is my full retirement age to claim my benefits, my husband is 2 years younger but going to do the same. What is the best way for me to claim my benefit when I do? I dont understand how I can get more out of by benefit. Thanks.

    • Dear Debbie
      When best to claim benefits that you are entitled to is a complicated science, based on a number of different variables. Married couples can forfit thousands from not understanding how best to claim their benefits and The Social Security administration is under no obligation to advise you of what’s the most advantageous for you—so they don’t.

      After hundreds of women came to Savvy Ladies seeking answers to their social security questions we partnered with Social Security Solutions so that women would understand that there is a reliable resource in which to determine what the best strategy is for you via an algorithm. Its inexpensive so please take a look

      One of their principles did a webinar for us http://www.savvyladies.org/every-woman-must-know-social-security/

      Here’s a link to the software product
      http://socialsecuritysolutions.com/partners/savvyladies/

      Please make sure you understand the best claiming strategy for your situation

      We’re here if you have any additional questions

  9. I am retired from the Federal Government. Will my retirement be reduced once I start receiving my Social Security?

    • Under the Windfall Elimination Provision passed by Congress in 1983, retirees who are eligible for both Social Security and a pension from a job which they did not contribute to Social Security, may not receive their full Social Security benefit.
      This frequently occurs when a person works in a civil service job for over 20 years and then retires and works just long enough to collect Social Security.
      Please note that these benefit reductions are not reflected on your Social Security estimate. The reason being that Social Security does not know whether you are entitled to a Pension until you apply.
      The maximum reduction for 2017 is $442.50.

      Answered by Robert Leitner, Certified Financial Planner ®

  10. My husband passed away three years ago, I applied for survivors social security benefits, to my surprise, I was told I was making more than the amount allowed, therefore, benefits will be reduced. I don’t understand, what gives the Social Security System the right to withhold or keep the money my husband worked so hard for and will never be able to claim? why do I have to qualify for it?? what happens to the money collected from my husband?

    • The reason that Social Security has an earnings test is to allow the most equal distribution based on need. For 2017, those adults who have not reached their Full Retirement Age, for every $2 in earning above $16,920, $1 of benefits is withheld.
      In the year you turn Full Retirement Age there is a special rule. For example, if your FRA is 66, for every $3 you earn over $44,880, $1 is withheld.
      These amounts are adjusted for inflation each year.

      Answered by Robert Leitner, Certified Financial Planner ®

  11. I applied for early social security benefits at age 62. My husband was disabled and drawing his because of his disability. After I received my amount, my husband passed away four months later. I am now receiving his benefits but it is less than he was getting. Why is my amount less than he was getting by $200? Is it because I took early benefits?

    • Yes. When you take benefits early, Social Security applies a reduction until you reach your Full Retirement Age.

      Answered by Robert Leitner, Certified Financial Planner ®

  12. I am 70 years old. Just divorced. My ex husband is 91 years old. I want to know if when he passes, am I still entitled to his full social security check even though we are divorced. We were married for 28 years and I am not remarried.

  13. Cindy I was told I could recieve my exhusband’s social security after he has died if I have not married by age 60. I got married when I was 62. My husband is applying for his social security. Will I recieved part of his. If I do take his are you able to make changes and collect my ex’s when he dies?

    • Hi Cindy
      If you submit your question to our Savvy Ladies Helpline I will put you in touch with an expert. http://www.savvyladies.org/savvy-programs/helpline/

      You are entitled to your ex spouses Social Security if you were married for 10 years, having nothing to do with whether he is alive or not.You do not need to wait till he is deceased. Collecting on your ex spouses benefits will not change his benefit amount. One has nothing to do with the other. It sounds like you have a few options available based on who’s earning record will be best for you. Don’t leave behind hundreds of dollars because you didn’t know what you were entitled to

      Hundreds of women came to Savvy Ladies seeking answers to their social security questions, we partnered with Social Security Solutions so that women would understand that there is a reliable resource in which to determine what the best strategy is for you. Its inexpensive so please take a look

      Here’s a link to the software product
      http://socialsecuritysolutions.com/partners/savvyladies/

      Please make sure you understand the best claiming strategy for your situation

      We’re here if you have any additional questions

  14. I am receiving my late husband”s social security. if I were to remarried wouId I lose it. I am 65 years old.

    • Hello Marcia
      If you remarry after age 60, you can still receive benefits based on your former spouse’s record. However, if your new spouse is also collecting Social Security benefits and you would receive a higher amount based on the new spouse’s work record, you can receive the higher amount.

      After hundreds of women came to Savvy Ladies seeking answers to their social security questions we partnered with Social Security Solutions so that women would understand that there is a reliable resource in which to determine what the best strategy is for you. Its inexpensive so please take a look

      Here’s a link to the software product
      http://socialsecuritysolutions.com/partners/savvyladies/

      Please make sure you understand the best claiming strategy for your situation, do not lose out on benefits.

      We’re here if you have any additional questions

    • If you remarry after age 60, you can still receive benefits based on your former spouse’s record. However, if your new spouse is also collecting Social Security benefits and you would receive a higher amount based on the new spouse’s work record, you will receive the higher amount.

      After hundreds of women came to Savvy Ladies seeking answers to their social security questions we partnered with Social Security Solutions so that women would understand that there is a reliable resource in which to determine what the best strategy is for you. Its inexpensive so please take a look

      Here’s a link to the software product
      http://socialsecuritysolutions.com/partners/savvyladies/

      Please make sure you understand the best claiming strategy for your situation

      We’re here if you have any additional questions

    • Dear Caroline,
      I’m sorry for your loss.
      The minimum requirement for collecting benefits is 40 quarters or 10 years. The question for you will be when is the best time to apply for benefits, and do not depend on the Social Security Administration to help you with that decision. As the surviving spouse you are entitled to your deceased husband’s benefits.
      https://www.ssa.gov/planners/survivors/ifyou2.html

      After hundreds of women came to Savvy Ladies seeking answers to their social security questions we partnered with Social Security Solutions so that women would understand that there is a reliable resource in which to determine what the best strategy is for you. Its inexpensive so please take a look

      Here’s a link to the software product
      http://socialsecuritysolutions.com/partners/savvyladies/

      Please make sure you understand the best claiming strategy for your situation

      We’re here if you have any additional questions

  15. I am currently drawing divorced widowed benefits on my ex-husband and am 67 years old. Can I also draw on my own work record? If I remarry, how will this affect my benefits?

    • If you remarry after age 60, you can still receive benefits based on your former spouse’s record. However, if your new spouse is also collecting Social Security benefits and you would receive a higher amount based on the new spouse’s work record, you will receive the higher amount. Depending on your specific work record, you may have a higher benefit, or your work record + the benefit you are currently receiving. Understand that waiting till 70 may also have a financial benefit.

      After hundreds of women came to Savvy Ladies seeking answers to their social security questions we partnered with Social Security Solutions so that women would understand that there is a reliable resource in which to determine what the best strategy is for you. Its inexpensive so please take a look

      Here’s a link to the software product
      http://socialsecuritysolutions.com/partners/savvyladies/

      Please make sure you understand the best claiming strategy for your situation

      We’re here if you have any additional questions

  16. Is there a form, or what do I need to do to help my mother (age 88) maneuver the SS system. She has been receiving 1200 a month, and recently got a letter stating the state of Texas will no longer pay for part B. They are reducing her monthly amount by 200 dollars. I have the appeal form and plan to send it in.

  17. If I am drawing SERS disability can I draw SS (not disability) SS has denied my disability. I’m turning 62 and have not paid in to SS for apprx 25 yrs and I have 37 credits.

    • Hello Peggt
      The Social Security Administration determines eligibility with a system of credits. Basically, you earn up to four credits for every year worked, and you need a total of 40 credits to qualify for Social Security.

  18. I am single, retired 20 year military veteran and also retired early (worked for 15 years) from a job as a employee for the state of FL. I’m currently 61 and decided that I want to start drawing my social security benefits at age 62. Will my military pension (that I am currently receiving) effect how much my social security benefits will be?

    • Hello Jean
      There is a government pension off-set that is applied to your Social Security benefit. You can read more about that here
      https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10017.pdf

      Please remember to verify and calculate the amount of your social security benefit you will forgo by choosing to collect early. If entitled to SS benefits, the difference in waiting each year can have significant value to your monthly payment.

  19. my husband and I are married but did not go to get married certificate. We file tax together once we married. Am I eligible to receive his retirement benefit.

  20. I have a question. My mother is 73 and my father is 80. My mother has never worked. My father is retired and he is collecting his social security and my mother is collecting a part of his. When my father passes, will my mother still be entitled to collect on my father’s social security?

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