I often hear from readers who inform me that they contacted the Social Security Administration with the intention of submitting for Social Security advantages of 1 sort or one other after which have been both instructed they weren’t eligible for any advantages or have been simply in any other case talked out of submitting.
After all, typically that’s good recommendation. For instance, if you’re 62 years outdated and nonetheless working full time and making $75,000 per 12 months, and also you name the SSA to file for retirement advantages, the rep can be right in telling you that you just will not be eligible for advantages till you retire or attain your full retirement age, whichever comes first.
Or if you’re a 58-year-old girl whose husband has died and also you name the SSA to file for widows advantages, they need to inform you that you simply should be at the very least 60 years outdated earlier than you may get such advantages.
However typically, the circumstances will not be so lower and dried. Due to that, right here is the message of as we speak’s column: In the event you suppose you’re probably eligible for Social Security advantages, you’ve gotten each proper to file for no matter Social Security advantages you suppose you’re due. So, each time there may be any doubt about your eligibility, at all times demand to file a declare.
By doing so, you accomplish two issues. One, you’re going to get a authorized choice about your eligibility for advantages, and never only one Social Security clerk’s opinion. (Or, for that matter, one Social Security columnist’s opinion.) And two, you should have enchantment rights. In different phrases, in case your declare is denied and you continue to will not be glad, you possibly can ask that your declare be reviewed. You even may take all of it the best way to the Supreme Court docket in case you wished to. That final remark is somewhat far-fetched (though possible).
Nevertheless, the fundamental level I’m making could be very legitimate. If a Social Security consultant simply says “no” and also you stroll away and later be taught you have been due advantages, you typically received’t be capable to do something about it however gripe – after which file a declare with no retroactivity. However in case you really file a declare the primary time and it’s denied and also you later are in a position to show your eligibility, you’re going to get full retroactive advantages to the date you filed the declare.
So, that’s the general message to everybody studying this column: At all times demand to file a declare for advantages in case you suppose you may probably be due them – it doesn’t matter what a Social Security agent tells you. Particularly accomplish that in case you get totally different solutions from totally different SSA representatives. (Sadly, I hear the latter grievance far too usually from far too a lot of my readers.) Now, listed here are some questions from readers that illustrate what I’m speaking about.
Q: I’m 68 years outdated and get a small Social Security retirement examine. My first husband and I have been married for 30 years. Nevertheless it was an abusive relationship, and I divorced him about 5 years in the past. Three years in the past, I married an exquisite man. However sadly, he died final month. After I known as the Social Security workplace to file for widows advantages, the clerk instructed me we needed to be married at the very least 10 years, so she stated I wasn’t due any-thing. She helped me file for the $255 dying profit, and that’s all I received. However currently, some mates instructed me I ought to be getting widows advantages. What ought to I do?
A: Until I’m lacking a few of the info, you got bum recommendation by the Social Security rep. The ten-year length of marriage rule applies solely to divorced spouses. So, assuming your second husband’s profit price was greater than you’re getting by yourself, it positive sounds to me like you’re due widows advantages. It’s best to name the SSA again and instantly file a declare.
Q: I’m 62 years outdated. I known as Social Security’s 800 quantity and instructed them I wished to file for my Social Security advantages. I run my very own enterprise, however I plan to show it over to my spouse (at the very least on paper) and pay myself a wage of $18,000 per 12 months so I might be below the Social Security earnings restrict and thus eligible for my month-to-month checks. The phone rep I talked to instructed me I used to be eligible for advantages, and she or he set me up for a telephone interview with somebody at my native Social Security workplace. However when the native workplace consultant known as me, he stated I used to be not eligible for advantages and terminated the interview. Do I’ve any recourse?
A: Properly, you’re treading a positive Social Security eligibility line. Up to now, the principles have been fairly stringent. You wouldn’t have been in a position to merely flip the enterprise over to your spouse on paper and pay your self a minimal wage after which count on to gather Social Security retirement advantages. However lately, the SSA has eased up on these guidelines, and now you could be eligible. Once more, the one means one can find out for positive is to file a declare.
Q: I’m 68 years outdated. I’ve but to join Social Security. My spouse simply turned 62, and she or he lately filed for her personal advantages. Pals instructed me I can make use of the “file and droop” technique and gather advantages on my spouse’s account and, at 70, swap to my very own advantages. However once I known as Social Security’s 800 quantity, the agent instructed me that I may now not file and droop. However in a latest column, you stated I may (if I learn it proper). So, what ought to I do?
A: You misinterpret my column and confused the SSA rep since you are utilizing the fallacious time period. You don’t want to file and droop. That maximizing technique has been eradicated. (So, I received’t trouble explaining what it means.)
What you wish to do is “file and limit.” That technique continues to be accessible to anybody who was born earlier than Jan. 2, 1954. It means you possibly can file for spousal advantages in your spouse’s document after which, at 70, swap to 132% of your individual profit. So, name the SSA again and demand on submitting a declare. Simply to make sure, right here is the exact phrasing you must use. Inform them you wish to file a Social Security declare, however say, “I wish to limit that declare to spousal advantages on my spouse’s document so I can swap to my very own retirement advantages at 70.”
When you’ve got a Social Security query, Tom Margenau has a e book with all of the solutions. It’s known as Social Security: Easy and Good. You’ll find the e book at creators.com/books. Or search for it on Amazon or different e book retailers. To seek out out extra about Tom Margenau and to learn previous columns and see options from different Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, go to the Creators Syndicate web site at www.creators.com.