Social Security: What Every Woman Should Know

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#retirement #planning

 

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Nilsa will discuss Social Security retirement benefits, planning for your financial future by using the Social Security Administration’s online tools and creating your personal mySocial Security account.

You will learn:
-Things to consider when you are thinking of retiring like: Deciding what is the ‘right’ age to retire, How working after retirement can affect benefits, Online Retirement Estimator, how to apply online for benefits
-How to plan for your financial future by registering for your mySocial Security account, and
-Visiting www.socialsecurity.gov for the most up-to-date information.

Nilsa Henriquez cropped
About Nilsa Henriquez:

Nilsa is a Social Security Public Affairs Specialist. She is responsible for community outreach in NY, and has been with Social Security for over thirteen years.

Comments (87)

  1. I have worked for the US goverment for 25 years and receive A pension
    I have also 22+ years working in the private sector. I receive 1/3 of my full SS benefit. Should i receive the full benefit amount with +22 years of service

  2. Hi my mom retired from the Dept of Education in 2006. She has her BERS funds going to her chkg a/c and her SS going to her savings. She would like both to go to her checking. What does she need to do to reroute her SS check to her checking account? Is there a number we can callin order to make that happen? Our zip code is 11434 iin Queens, New York.

    • Your mom needs to contact Social Security to have her SS check deposited into her checking account. If she has not already, she can set up an register for her “myaccount” on the Social Security site. If you go here, you will see the instructions. https://www.ssa.gov/myaccount/

  3. I am 6 years younger than my husband. Can i collect spouse benefits when i hit 62 and then switch to my full retirement age benefit at 66 and 8 months?

  4. My husband and I both draw social security. I draw less than half of what he gets. Several of our neighbors say their wives never worked but they are drawing half of their husbands amount. Can I draw half of my husbands social security??

    • Even if you have never worked under Social Security, you may be able to get spouse’s retirement benefits if you are at least 62 years of age and your spouse is receiving retirement. The Social Security calculation for a couple is based on who’s payment is higher. To learn more about how your benefits are effected y your spousal benefits go to
      https://faq.ssa.gov/link/portal/34011/34019/Article/3754/What-is-the-eligibility-for-Social-Security-spouse-s-benefits-and-my-own-retirement-benefits

    • If you are married and both you and your husband have worked, you will each be paid your own Social Security benefit.

      If both you and your husband both worked Social Security is paying you both a benefit based on your work record. Benefit amounts are based on work records and earnings, making it difficult to compare it to neighbors work records/earnings. Another key factor is at what age you decide to claim benefits, this can significantly change the amount of your benefit.

      A working woman is not limited to one-half of her husband’s Social Security. (That rate applies to women who never worked outside the home.)

      So, for example, if you are due a Social Security benefit of $1,200 per month and your husband is due a Social Security benefit of $1,400 per month, you will be paid $2,600 per month in retirement benefits.

      It is true that women that have never worked are entitled to half of their spouses benefit for more information please review
      https://www.ssa.gov/sf/FactSheets/WomenandSSrev1.pdf

    • Generally, there is no reduction of Social Security benefits because of your military retirement benefits. You’ll get your full Social Security benefit based on your earnings.

      Social Security survivors benefits may affect benefits payable under the optional Department of Defense Survivors Benefit Plan. Check with the Department of Defense or your military retirement advisor for more information.
      for more information please see
      https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/veterans.html

  5. The latest report from the Medicare Board of Trustees is calling for Medicare Part premiums to inflate by 22.3 percent, increasing the Part B premium to $149 per month from $121.80 per month in 2016.

    There are 2 parts to Medicare Part A and B
    Part A is hospitalization, you usually don’t pay a monthly premium for Medicare Part A (Hospital Insurance) coverage if you or your spouse paid Medicare taxes while working.
    Part B costs
    Some people automatically get Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance), and some people need to sign up for Part B.

    Medicare only pays a portion of healthcare costs and therefore many seniors opt to obtain an additional insurance plan (Gap coverage)

    Go to
    https://www.medicare.gov/your-medicare-costs/index.html
    to get the facts and most updated information for your circumstances

  6. I had brain tumor surgery 2 1/2 years ago, it has taken me this long to accept the fact that I need help and have no choice but for disability. I still have part of the brain tumor that can not be removed… how long does it take and what is the average income on disability. Can I support my self and my two children?

    • Social Security disability is a social insurance program under which workers earn coverage for benefits, by working and paying Social Security taxes on their earnings. The program provides benefits to disabled workers and to their dependents. For those who can no longer work due to a disability, the disability program is there to replace some of their lost income. To receive disability benefits, a person must meet the definition of disability under the Social Security Act. The Act defines disability strictly. At the beginning of 2015, Social Security paid an average monthly disability benefit of $1,165. You can read more facts about Social Security disability at https://www.ssa.gov/disabilityfacts/facts.html and find more information at https://www.ssa.gov/.

    • Dear Zilda
      I am very sorry about your health situation, there are “safety nets” put in place to help people when they have a catastrophic illness, don’t be afraid to ask for help

      The length of time it takes to make a disability determination depends on a broad range of variables, including how many times you have to go through the disability process.

      It can take 3-5 months to submit and be approved for a disability claim

      Some disability claims take longer to process due to a variety of reasons, which may include a lack of current medical evidence, an inability to contact the disability claimant, and missed medical or psychological exams which have been scheduled by Social Security.

      For more information please see

      https://www.ssa.gov/disability/Documents/Factsheet-AD.pdf

  7. I am currently receiving benefits paid on my second husbands soc. sec. I have been widowed 3 times, and it was determined that his benefit would be the greatest. I am 73 years old. If I marry again, would I lose these benefits, or have to choose to draw on my own record of payment into SS?

  8. I have been on disability almost as long as me and my husband have been married, they had based my amount on his, what ever that means, we have been separated for 3 years now and we have a child together, will this change anything with my benefits? and i am now paying rent and utilities, car maintenance, will any of these changes affect my benefits? Thank you in advance for any information.

  9. My husband and I were married 18 years and and have been divorced for over 20 plus years. I would like to know if I will be able to draw off his social security. I was told that it has to be .5 percent to 1 percents for me to be able to qualify not for sure what that meant. Please advise.

    • Yes, you can apply for Social Security benefits on your ex-spouses record if you were married for at least 10 years and have not remarried. In addition your ex spouse must have has accumulated enough quarters to be eligible for social security (in others words if he is not eligible then you won’t qualify for benefits.) Your reference to .5 percent and 1 percent is unknown. Its best to visit the social security website on the section regarding divorce spouses located here https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/divspouse.html

    • Since your marriage lasted over 10 years, you can receive benefits on your ex-spouse’s record (even if he or she has remarried) if: You are unmarried (or married after the age of 60)and You are age 62 or older;
      I’m not sure what .5percent and 1 percent pertain to?

      You can apply for benefits on your former spouse’s record even if he hasn’t retired. After you reach full retirement age, you can elect to receive only the divorced spouse benefits and delay benefits on your own record, which may mean a higher monthly amount for you. If you decide to wait until full retirement age to apply as a divorced spouse, your benefit will be equal to half of your ex-spouse’s full retirement. For more information on spousal benefits please go to
      https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/divspouse.html

  10. I am 56 yrs,old female with a really messed up back. How do,I,go,about getting social security now ? I am still working. Everyday it gets harder to go to work due to,severe back pain.

    • You are not eligible to collect social security retirement benefits based on your age.
      Social Security pays benefits to people who can’t work because they have a medical condition that’s expected to last at least one year or result in death. Federal law requires this very strict definition of disability. While some
      programs give money to people with partial disability or short-term disability, Social Security does not. Here is a link to a short pamphlet that will give you all the information on Social Security Disability https://www.ssa.gov

  11. Hi my name is Maritza I am only 57 years old I work But I been seeing a heart doctor for the past 5 mouths I have not been feeling will If I have to stop working , can I be able to live on Social Security Disability .

    • Social Security pays benefits to people who can’t work because they have a medical condition that’s expected to last at least one year or result in death. Federal law requires this very strict definition of disability. While some
      programs give money to people with partial disability or short-term disability, Social Security does not. Here is a link to a short pamphlet that will give you all the information on Social Security Disability https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10029.pdf

  12. I got a letter from SS Philadelphia & they say they are taking all my Soc Sec. starting this mo.& then in Oct 2017 i’ll get it back..I hav worked in private schools & daycares (since divorce)—all my life 40+hours!) HOW CAN THEY DO THIS WITH NO WARNING??how I AM STILL employed I will lose my car & wont be able to go to work??what he Heck? ?HELP..please is there an Atty that isn’t disability?

    • Have you reached out to the social security office to question the information received in the letter? That is the best place to start. There are several offices in the Philadelphia area, the main office is Address: 4240 Market St, Philadelphia, PA 19104
      Phone:(800) 772-1213
      Verify that the information is correct and ask for a letter stating the reason in writing before you pursue engaging an attorney

  13. I was just diagnosed with cancer and it is spreading. I have been stopped from my part time sales position. I also have sent my form to collect EDD to financially help me however, it will not be sufficient to survive with only this support from EDD.
    My question is to know if I could receive part of my social security funds while on Disability, and how long does it take to receive it. If my health returns to normal, can I go back to work and stop receiving my Social Security funds?
    I would really appreciate hearing from you. Thank you for your help.

    • Your age and how many quarters you have worked plays a factor in when you can apply and receive Social Security. Disability provided under the Social Security Act is not for a temporary disability. Here is the link to a PDF booklet on Social Security/Disability. You may be entitled to Supplemental Security Income (SSI) which is a Federal income supplement program funded by general tax revenues (not social security taxes) You can find out more information on teh Federal Social Security website.Here is the page for SSI info https://www.ssa.gov/ssi/ EDD is a state program, but we would suggest you also contact a social worker at the institution where you are receiving treatment, they are good resource.

  14. I have been raising my kids for 8 years without any ssi or child support. They’re father passed away in 09 due to a heart problem he was only 16. Social security has denied me any service because they said he did not work enough for my kids to receive any benifits Is this correct or should I fight for benefits using an attorney.

  15. Can I collect spousal soc.sec.at age 66 then begin collecting my own benefit at age 70, in lieu of the spousal benefit ? since I did work and will qualify for benefits on my own?

  16. I am divorced from my exhusband of 14 yrs. Divorced for 20 years. He is 64, I am 66. He has not applied for ss benefits. One half of his monthly benefit would be lower than my full monthly benefit. I still plan to work for another year. Can I apply for divorced spousal benefits now, and after I stop working in one year apply for my benefits?

  17. I just turned 70 and want to claim my own social security retirement benefits.
    I am currently claiming spousal benefits.
    How do I switch from spousal to my own benefits.
    Do I need to cancel my spousal benefits or just apply for my own social security and then the spousal will be automatically cancelled.

  18. My ex husband retired in 2012 and began receiving a maximum benefit. we were married for 35 years. what percentage of his social security would I be entitled to?

  19. I am approaching 66 years of age (in November). Will SS payments start automatically? Or should I apply somehow? How do I do that. Also, I have been on Soc. Sec. Disability for several years-this has been barely subsistence amount, as I know they used 4 quarters before going onto disability-when I could barely work at all due to the disability, and pain. So, NOW, will my regular Soc. Sec. Kick in like normally it would have regardless of the disability? Please let me know. $1,207.00 is less than my SSincome should be, and is not enough to live on. Thank you

  20. I am turning 70yrs. in 2017. am currently on survivors benefits, what do I need to do and do I still receive survivors benefits along with my own social security benefits when I retire ?

    • Dear Ruth,
      If you are eligible for your own retirement benefits, as well as for benefits as a spouse, Social Security always pays your own benefits first. If your benefits as a spouse are higher than your own retirement benefits, you will get a combination of benefits equaling the higher spousal benefit.
      Since you receive survivors benefits, you’ll need to understand how the combination of those benefits will work for you. The rules are complicated and vary depending on the situation, so talk to a Social Security representative about the options available.

      here are some links to obtain more information and contact a social security official. Do you have an online account at Social Security?

      https://www.ssa.gov/planners/survivors/survivorchartred.html#about

      https://www.ssa.gov/agency/contact/

    • Dear Gladys,
      Should your husband die before you, you will be entitled to a survivors benefit equal to his monthly Social Security benefit, which is more than the spousal benefit based on his work record.
      If you are eligible for your own retirement benefits, as well as for benefits as a spouse, Social Security always pays your own benefits first. If your benefits as a spouse are higher than your own retirement benefits, you will get a combination of benefits equaling the higher spousal benefit.

      https://www.ssa.gov/planners/survivors/ifyou2.html

    • Dear Debi
      If you remarry after age 60, you can still receive survivors 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.
      You would have had to been married to your first husband for 10 years. If eligible, you were married for 10 years to your first husband and did not remarry until after age 60 it does not matter if he has claimed his Social Security benefits.
      See the following for more information
      https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/divspouse.html

    • Dear Savitri,
      That depends on your total income. Some people have to pay federal income taxes on their Social Security benefits. This usually happens only if you have other substantial income (such as wages, self-employment, interest, dividends and other taxable income that must be reported on your tax return) in addition to your benefits.
      See here for more specific information and taxable income levels
      https://www.ssa.gov/planners/taxes.html

  21. God Morning, In august 2017 I will be 59 yeras old ,Iwas married for 23 yeras but I divorced 12 yeras ago and now I just got Married again , my question is for my retirement how is gonna work for my ex husband and my new husband? thank yyou so much.

    • As a divorced spouse you can collect benefits on your ex-spouse’s record, even if the ex-spouse has remarried and even if the ex-spouse’s new spouse is collecting on the same record.

      But to get this benefit, you must meet the following requirements:

      You were married for at least 10 straight years
      You are at least 62 years old
      Your ex-spouse is eligible for retirement benefits
      You are currently unmarried
      You are not eligible to collect on your ex-husband record because you remarried before the age of 60. You will be able to collect on your current husband’s work record and your own.

  22. My ex husband passed several months ago..😑. We were married 13 years plus..Divorced over 21..He remarried and so did I. Am I eligible to apply for benefits under his name..ex..wife……… He has a surviving spouse.

  23. I was rather inconceniently given the opportunity to “retire” at age 62 and found it better to file as a survivor against my first husband’s earnings. I will turn 66 this year. Is it possible to now change to my earnings if that results in a higher benefit.? My second husband is not of retirement age yet. Would there ever be a point of using his earnings for my benefit?

    • Yes, there are several variables to what will make the most sense for you to obtain the greatest benefit. You can switch and begin to claim your benefit if you choose and if its higher than what your monthly widows benefit is now. Keep in mind that if you choose to hold off on claiming your benefit (continuing to receive your widow benefit) that amount will increase annually by 8% until age 70.
      The Budget Act of 2015 made it impossible for you to claim on your second husbands record until he begins claiming benefits ( File and Suspend loop hole was eliminated)

  24. I WILL BE 66 IN APRIL STILL WORKING AT THE HOSPITAL FULL TIME . CAN I STILL WORK FULL TIME AND COLLECT MY SOCIAL SECURITY OR WILL I HAVE TIO GO PART TIME…….

  25. I’m 67 years old and still working. If I started collecting SS would it affect my income from my job? How much can I collect?

  26. I will turn 66 in February. My husband is only 51 and is far from retirement. I think it is prudent to wait until 70 to claim my benefits unless our circumstances change. Must I file and suspend – and if so exactly when do I do it – or simply file before I turn 70? I don’t seem to be able to find answers to this very simple question, but I see there are perils in filing on the wrong date. Thank you!

    • Dear Dale,
      It is generally suggested to apply for your benefits 3 months before you want to begin receiving the benefits. FILE and SUSPEND which was seen as a loop hole in the program was eliminated in the Budget Act of 2015. Please consider your plan for obtaining Medicare as well. You are entitled to Medicare coverage at age 65 years, even if you opt not to apply for your Social Security Retirement benefits. As you mention, the longer you can wait to collect your SS benefit your monthly benefit will increase by 8% for each year (up until age 70) You can apply and then voluntarily suspend your benefit if you desire. Again make sure you are clear about your Medicare benefit as well https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/justmedicare.html

  27. I collect SS and want to work some. If I became an independent contractor, would the amount after expenses or before expenses be considered for the $16K I’m allowed to make?

    • If you work for someone else, only your wages count toward Social
      Security’s earnings limits. If you’re self-employed, we count only your net
      earnings from self-employment. For the earnings limits, we don’t count income such as other government benefits, investment earnings, interest, pensions, annuities, and capital gains. We do count an employee’s contribution to a pension or retirement plan, however, if the contribution amount is included in the employee’s gross wages.

      If you’re self-employed, income counts when you receive it—not when you earn it—unless it’s paid in a year after you become entitled to Social Security and Earned before you became entitled.

      For more information go to this Social Security publication
      https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10069.pdf

    • If you work for someone else, only your wages count toward Social
      Security’s earnings limits. If you’re self-employed, we count only your net
      earnings from self-employment. For the earnings limits, we don’t count income such as other government benefits, investment earnings, interest, pensions, annuities, and capital gains. We do count an employee’s contribution to a pension or retirement plan, however, if the contribution amount is included in the employee’s gross wages.

      If you’re self-employed, income counts when you receive it—not when you earn it—unless it’s paid in a year after you become entitled to Social Security and Earned before you became entitled.

      See this pamphlet from the Social Security Administration for more information
      https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10069.pdf

  28. My brother passed away in January, 1994. His widow is age 60. How would she be able to see what Social Security benefits are available for her.

    • If you are a widow and your brother had earned a sufficient number of Social Security credits by the time of his death your sister-in-law is likely eligible for a widow benefit
      Age 60 is usually the earliest date you can claim widow benefits
      The amount of the benefit your sister-in-law receives depends both on the date at which your brother began claiming benefits (if he did at all) and the date she begins claiming widow benefits
      Here is the Social Security page for survivors—your sister-in –law needs to make an appointment with Social security to review her benefits—she should not wait to do this so that she understands what options are available to her about claiming and when to do so.

      https://www.ssa.gov/planners/survivors/ifyou2.html

    • If you are a widow and your brother had earned a sufficient number of Social Security credits by the time of his death your sister-in-law is likely eligible for a widow benefit
      Age 60 is usually the earliest date you can claim widow benefits
      The amount of the benefit your sister-in-law receives depends both on the date at which your brother began claiming benefits (if he did at all) and the date she begins claiming widow benefits

      Here is the Social Security page for survivors—your sister-in –law needs to make an appointment with Social security to review her benefits—she should not wait to do this so that she understands what options are available to her about claiming and when to do so.
      https://www.ssa.gov/planners/survivors/ifyou2.html

  29. My mother is 73 works she has been diagnosed with COPD and was asking if she can’t get My late Dads benefits and with getting hers.

  30. Savvy Intern,

    I’m applying for social security due to my mental status, I have a lawyer who represented me in the judiciary hearing what are my chances of getting social security? Is there a website where I can read regarding social security eligibility? And how much will I be receiving if I’m approved, I’ve worked since I was 28 years old and now I’m 42. But I have worked since the last three years.

  31. My ex husband wants to take a lump sum from his pension early and buy me out. He said that I would receive 10,000 less by doing this. How will this affect me drawing ss from his retirement plan when I reach retirement age?

    • Dear Deanna
      Its generally recommended to apply for your benefits 3 months prior to when you want to receive your benefits. Applying online is the easy and efficient https://www.ssa.gov/retire/

      Please keep in mind that even though you are at FDA (Full Retirement Age) each year that you delay receiving benefits your monthly benefit increases by 8% so its always wise if possible to delay to obtain a larger monthly benefit. (between ages 66-70) there is no increased benefit after the age of 70. If you were previously married for a minimum of 10 years and now divorce/widowed you are entitled to a portion of an ex spouses/deceased spouse benefit (which does not affect the amount your spouse receives) If you are married it is best to determine the most advantageous claiming strategy so maximize your life time benefits.

    • Disability benefits are available if your husband is unable to work. Your spouse may be able to get benefits if he or she is at least age 62 and you are getting, or are eligible for, retirement or disability benefits. Social Security also pays benefits to your spouse at any age if there is a child in his or your care. The child must be under age 16.
      visit this site to get more information about applying for disability benefits
      https://www.ssa.gov/disabilityssi/

  32. My husband who was on Social Security disability passed away in August 2016 at the age of 58. I am 61, still working and have no plans to retire anytime soon.

    My question is, am I entitled to any spousal benefits even though I am still working. My lifetime earnings would be more than my husband was receiving.

    • Dear Peg,
      I am very sorry for your recent loss.
      You are entitled to a “survivor” benefit,not a “spousal” benefit.

      Working does not preclude you from claiming survivor benefits. However, you will not collect a benefit if your wage income exceeds a certain threshold. For someone at 61 years, $1 of benefits is forfeited for every $2 of wage income above $16,920. You would be able to claim a reduced survivor benefit. This amount would be lowered further if you have a wage income above the $16,920 threshold.

      If you would like further help please reach out to the Savvy Ladies Helpline http://www.savvyladies.org/savvy-programs/helpline/

      Daniel G. Mazzola, CPA, CFA, is an investment advisory representative with American Portfolios Advisors Inc. He is a Chartered Financial Analyst, Certified Public Accountant and Certified Financial Planner. Mr. Mazzola is a member of the NYSSCPA Personal Financial Planning Committee. http://www.danmazzola.com.

  33. My father passed away on December 9, 2016. I understand that my mother should receive a survivor benefit of $255.00. How long does it normally take to receive this. Her Social Security has been adjusted. She is in a nursing home. I have POA and handle all of her finances.

    • Dear Katherine
      Sorry for your loss.
      It is not clear from your question if you have applied for the survivors benefit for your mother. Typically a funeral home will notify Social Security Administration by sending a death certificate. Then you must apply in person for the benefit. The process of receiving benefits is not an automatic event. If you check with the funeral home and they have not managed that detail make sure you have copies of the death certificate when you apply in person. To clarify when you stated “her social security has been adjusted” do you mean she received a cost of living increase for 2017? In January 2017 she would have automatically received a 3% cost of living increase which is not associated with her survivors or widows benefit. For more information please see
      https://www.ssa.gov/planners/survivors/howtoapply.html

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