My friends at Pillars LLC have sent me the case study below. The question of when to take social security is an integral part of retirement transitioning and something that should be taken seriously. Below is a common question clients bring to me. The resulting answer to the case study shows how individualized the decision maybe and how much of a difference in monthly income there can be.
Social Security: Husband says “NOW”
Believe it or not, we get calls from wives that are concerned about their husbands knowledge of Social Security laws. Because we are in 5 state newspapers, depending on the article, these calls are frequent. This might be because women are reading the articles we write more thoroughly and this causes them to question. Whatever the reason, we are thankful for the calls because on many occasions their concern was legitimate.
This is a real example just the names have been changed:
Larry – age 66.0 months and Full Retirement Benefit amount is $2500.00 Evelyn – age 64.3 months and Full Retirement Benefit amount is $1250.00
Larry wants to file now – they may need the additional income. If Larry files at Full Retirement Age (FRA) and Evelyn files at age 64 and 3 months, their lifetime benefit (85 him/88 her based on national averages) will be $984,537.05. Larry will draw his FRA (full retirement age) benefit amount and Evelyn’s will be reduced for taking early to $1110.00. The thing they may or may not have realized was that the Survivor Benefit will be reduced by over $783.00 per month in comparison to other options that were presented.
But what if?
Evelyn files at 64 and 4 months for a reduced benefit amount of $1,067.00 per month. Why 64 and 4 months? Because this opens up the opportunity for Larry to file a Restricted Application for Spousal Benefits from Evelyn’s benefit in the amount of $600.00. At 68 and 3 months Evelyns is able to file for Spousal Benefits off Larry in the amount of $1,117.00 and at age 70 Larry files for full benefit that has improved by 8% per year for 4 years in the amount of $3,300.00. Also, their Survivor Benefit has improved to a maximum of $3,300.00 per month vs. $2500.00.
This is only one of many options available to this couple, but we are presenting the best and the worst. You take if from there – remember you do have options, over and above what your Social Security statement reflects.
Social Security is complicated and the Bi-Partisan Budget Act of 2015 only made the system more complicated. Don’t leave this benefit to chance – professional review is recommended in all situations.
This article is courtesy of Pillars LLC.