Social Security Question

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  #1  
Old 12-06-2019, 12:02 PM
jcvdd1 jcvdd1 is offline
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Default Social Security Question

Greetings ---

Understanding this is not a financial forum, but who better to ask than a group of older taxpayers.

Social Security question -

When my wife and I collect social security, will both my wife and I collect the same amount individually as both our ages and salary are identical or do we receive a reduced amount since we are married?

---A neighbor, (not sure if he was kidding) indicated that before he and his wife collect social security, they are going to divorce but still live together as a family in order to increase their social security benefits.--

THANKS
  #2  
Old 12-06-2019, 12:13 PM
retiredguy123 retiredguy123 is offline
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Each of you can collect benefits based on your own individual work records. It doesn't matter whether you are married or not. The situation is more complicated if either of you apply for a spousal benefit. But, each person can only receive one benefit at a time, so, in your case, it sounds like neither of you will be applying for the spouse benefit.
  #3  
Old 12-06-2019, 12:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jcvdd1 View Post
Greetings ---

Understanding this is not a financial forum, but who better to ask than a group of older taxpayers.

Social Security question -

When my wife and I collect social security, will both my wife and I collect the same amount individually as both our ages and salary are identical or do we receive a reduced amount since we are married?

---A neighbor, (not sure if he was kidding) indicated that before he and his wife collect social security, they are going to divorce but still live together as a family in order to increase their social security benefits.--

THANKS
How about the SSA

The United States Social Security Administration
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Old 12-06-2019, 12:19 PM
ckcapaul ckcapaul is offline
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Only if they answer the phone.
  #5  
Old 12-06-2019, 12:28 PM
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Only if they answer the phone.
We made an appointment and went in person with a list of questions. Very helpful people working at the Leesburg office.
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  #6  
Old 12-06-2019, 12:40 PM
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Nucky Nucky is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jcvdd1 View Post
Greetings ---

Understanding this is not a financial forum, but who better to ask than a group of older taxpayers.

Social Security question -

When my wife and I collect social security, will both my wife and I collect the same amount individually as both our ages and salary are identical or do we receive a reduced amount since we are married?

---A neighbor, (not sure if he was kidding) indicated that before he and his wife collect social security, they are going to divorce but still live together as a family in order to increase their social security benefits.--

THANKS
1) Their age at retirement is VERY important in answering your question.

2) I understand we want to discuss these issues here but the real answer will come directly from your neighbor. Ask him how so? Tell your neighbor you studied the guidelines but couldn't come up with the answer. Maybe he'll spill the beans? Good Luck. He has the answer.

SS in Leesburg is great. They may have moved. I'm running out the door now so check it out well before you go.

Last edited by Nucky; 12-06-2019 at 05:18 PM.
  #7  
Old 12-06-2019, 12:46 PM
justjim justjim is offline
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Default Ask S.S.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jcvdd1 View Post
Greetings ---

Understanding this is not a financial forum, but who better to ask than a group of older taxpayers.

Social Security question -

When my wife and I collect social security, will both my wife and I collect the same amount individually as both our ages and salary are identical or do we receive a reduced amount since we are married?

---A neighbor, (not sure if he was kidding) indicated that before he and his wife collect social security, they are going to divorce but still live together as a family in order to increase their social security benefits.--

THANKS
If both of you were born on the same day, payed into S.S. the exactly same amount and retired the same day, I would say each of you would get an individual check for the same amount from S.S. That would be very unusual.

Don’t know if your neighbor was joking or not. Don’t know how that would work for your neighbor if he was serious. I do know that S.S. has closed some “loopholes” in the system the last few years to keep from “double dipping” but don’t know about this one. I wouldn’t divorce my wife for any money. Like that great philosopher, Forrest Gump said, “I think that’s all I’ve got to say about that”. Maybe S.S. Staff can give you better information than you get from me or anyone on TOTV.
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Old 12-06-2019, 12:57 PM
jcvdd1 jcvdd1 is offline
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I thank everyone for their responses-

To clarify, at the time of collecting social security benefits, are both myself and my wife's benefits calculated as an individual recipients are do we receive benefits based as a married couple ?
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Old 12-06-2019, 01:10 PM
retiredguy123 retiredguy123 is offline
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Originally Posted by jcvdd1 View Post
I thank everyone for their responses-

To clarify, at the time of collecting social security benefits, are both myself and my wife's benefits calculated as an individual recipients are do we receive benefits based as a married couple ?
You can apply for benefits based on each of your individual records, even though you are married. However, you said that you both have the same salary. But, the benefit is not based on your current salary. It is based on your average salary over 35 years, and adjusted for inflation. So, one of your benefits could be a lot higher than the other. In that case, you may benefit by one of you applying for the spouse benefit instead of the individual benefit. You can view your work records by setting up a logon account on the SSA website.
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Old 12-06-2019, 02:27 PM
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Originally Posted by jcvdd1 View Post
I thank everyone for their responses-

To clarify, at the time of collecting social security benefits, are both myself and my wife's benefits calculated as an individual recipients are do we receive benefits based as a married couple ?
Each of your benefits is calculated separately but there are ways to maximize your benefit.

If you have a financial advisor you should consult with them on how to take your SS. It can be complicated if you are trying to max out your benefits.
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Old 12-06-2019, 03:24 PM
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Default SSA maximize

Being married only has an impact if you collect spousal or a survivor benefit. If you each plan to collect on your own earnings record it has no impact whether you are married. From a taxation standpoint if your file married filing jointly one of you will need to take out additional taxes.

I agree the best thing is get an appointment with SSA and have them calculate your benefits. There are some calculators online, some are free some charge a fee. They can get you pretty close if you have your earnings record from SSA. But only going to SSA will get each of you exactly how much you will get for each filing strategy.
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Old 12-06-2019, 04:30 PM
EdFNJ EdFNJ is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jcvdd1 View Post
I thank everyone for their responses-

To clarify, at the time of collecting social security benefits, are both myself and my wife's benefits calculated as an individual recipients are do we receive benefits based as a married couple ?
To answer your specific question without any other information when you apply for and collect SS your benefits are based only on your past work and your age and married or single makes no difference in how much you collect while you are both alive.
  #13  
Old 12-06-2019, 05:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by retiredguy123 View Post
You can apply for benefits based on each of your individual records, even though you are married. However, you said that you both have the same salary. But, the benefit is not based on your current salary. It is based on your average salary over 35 years, and adjusted for inflation. So, one of your benefits could be a lot higher than the other. In that case, you may benefit by one of you applying for the spouse benefit instead of the individual benefit. You can view your work records by setting up a logon account on the SSA website.
BINGO!!!

This is the correct response.
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  #14  
Old 12-06-2019, 09:56 PM
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Did not read all the answers. Each of you can collect your own benefit which is based on your earning history.
If one spouce had much greater earnings that the other, the spouse with lower earnings can elect to receive an amount equal to 1/2 of the other spouces. Thus being married can be a plus for some. This explanation is simplified but should work as you described your case.
  #15  
Old 12-06-2019, 10:06 PM
valuemkt valuemkt is offline
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If your friend and his wife are high earners, they could be subject to IRMA, if they are going to use Medicare. There may be some advantages to being "single" if they earn roughly the same amount.. The IRMA "tax" is taken out of your social security payment. Obviously a good tax accountant could look at all the angles, not just SS by itself
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