Thursday, August 20, 2009

Social Security: Spousal Benefits

The Social Security Program has a little publicized aspect called "Spousal Benefit."

I only found out this by chance; the best I can tell, the SSA folks will not voluntarily tell you about it. The idea is that the benefit for the Spouse with the lesser accrued benefit should be no less than 50% of the benefit for the higher earning spouse.

Here's how it worked for the Poppycocks. The Mrs is a bit older than I, and she signed up to collect her benefits at the same time she began coverage on Medicare - at age 65.

Her benefits began to be paid. About a year later, your self-absorbed correspondent went through the same enrollment process for Medicare, and chose to take Social Security payments beginning at age 65 as well. At that point, the Mrs' monthly payment was about 40% of what I would receive.

I immediately filed for "spousal benefit" for her, and her monthly stipend was adjusted upward to equal 50% of mine. This was a significant increase. The only restriction was that she could not qualify for the spousal benefit until I actually started collecting.

The annual increases for CPI also apply against this 50% baseline, so it is a benefit you don't want to miss.

Maybe those of you who read this already knew about this and were right on top of it. If not, look into your circumstances immediately if you are both collecting, and file for the benefit if possible.

If not yet collecting, make sure you file this for future reference.

Side would appreciate a comment on this item if this was news to you, and especially if it qualifies you for an additional sum.

That's it; another free and valuable service, the kind you can only find here.

And other places.

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