We thought we would share summaries of a few of our clients in the last few months. We want you to realize that filing for Social Security is not just one phone call and just one number.

Survivor benefits

Client is 62 – married twice. She was married to first husband for more than 20 years and her second husband for 16 years. She has a small benefit of her own. Her second husband just died, but her first husband is the higher earner.

So, what does she file for? After working this situation several different ways her best option is as follows:

She should file for her own benefit at age 62 and ask for deemed filing off her first husbands benefit. This will give her an increase of $1,200 per month over her own benefit. Then at her Full Retirement Age, she should switch to her second husband’s Survivor Benefit, which will now be at 100 percent of his Primary Insurance Amount, which will give her another $500 per month in benefits.

Then, if her first husband dies before she does, she should switch to that Survivor Benefit, which will again add an increase to her monthly benefits.

Retroactive benefits

A client was a single lady who wanted to wait on her benefit until age 70. All was well until she was diagnosed with cancer at age 67. We worked to calculate her benefits at current value and because she was past Full Retirement Age, she also was eligible for Retroactive Benefits for six months. She called and filed, asking for these Retroactive Benefits and was approved. She died after receiving one Social Security check. She did not receive a check for the Retroactive Benefits she applied for. Long story short, we worked with a Congressional office Social Security advisor, who agreed to pay her estate the Retroactive Funds for which she was entitled. It was a good outcome.

These are just two stories we can share about the clients we work with. As stated earlier, it is not just about one benefit number and one phone call. Everyone’s situation is totally different and must be reviewed using the rules and regulations that apply. The Social Security office is not responsible for putting these options together for you – it is incumbent upon you, the beneficiary, to know what questions to ask to get to your best end result, or to have a professional review of your collective situation. Once you sign on that dotted line, it is difficult to make a change.

Roy and Diane Thompson are both national Social Security advisors, and Roy is a former CPA of more than 40 years. They can be contacted at dthompson@pillarsllc.com, on their website at www.pillarsllc.com or by calling (601) 954-0699.

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