We met with a new client referral this week that is close to age 62; she had been referred by a financial advisor. Her experience was an Interesting scenario that we thought would interest our readers.
The husband is older and has been drawing his benefit for several years. The client met with staff at her local Social Security office and was told that she did not have enough quarters to qualify for a benefit. So in her mind, it was a done deal. She stayed at home and raised her family as her husband wished and as a result did not qualify for a benefit based on her Earnings History record.
Their Financial Advisor contacted us, on her behalf, to determine how many more quarters she needed to qualify for benefits and what is required. In her situation, she would have to work about 4 more years, part-time, to qualify for a very minimal benefit. A “quarter of coverage” generally means the three-month calendar quarter. In addition, you must earn at least $1,320 in a quarter (in 2019) for it to count.
The Social Security Administration’s credit system uses workers’ earnings and work history to determine eligibility for retirement benefits. People born in 1929 or later need 40 Social Security work credits, which are the equivalent of 10 years of employment for which they paid taxes. Those who don’t have the required number of credits are not eligible to receive retirement benefits based on their work record. However, you may still qualify for benefits based on your spouse’s benefits, even if you were a stay-at-home spouse who never worked. You could receive up to half of your spouse’s retirement benefit amount if your spouse is retired and you are at least 62 years of age.
This client actually qualifies for between $750-$1100 per month based on the options we have presented. That could be over $12,000 per year in income that she would have walked away from simply because she did not know the questions to ask. Is the Social Security office required to give her this information – actually not. The Social Security Administration is only required to give her information on her benefit, which was zero. But the facts are the facts, and every day people are leaving money on the table due to lack of knowledge about the rules and regulations. How many retiring Mom’s out there are struggling each month to make ends meet because they didn’t have the proper advice on how, when and why to file?
Professionals are available for this purpose and can be a valuable resource before you file.
Pillars LLC is in the Corinth, MS area but service all 50 states. Roy and Diane are both National Social Security Advisors and Roy is a former CPA of over 40 years. You may contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org, on their website at www.pillarsllc.com or call at 601-954-0699. KNOW before you GO!!