Software and Social Security

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Social Security is more complicated than before the passage of the Bi-Partisan Budget Act of 2015. We know, as this is what we do each day. There are not just three choices as stated on your Social Security statement, there are literally thousands of different options and ways to file for your benefit. Unfortunately, many advisors and consumers have fallen into the myriad of misinformation traps that exist around Social Security planning.

People tell us their financial planning software includes an option called Social Security. These cost effective software programs have logic flaws and gaps that can be detrimental to making the best decision for you and your family. And worse than that, the free options are about as good as their cost…..FREE!! One well-known tool defaults to age 85 or 95 – for life expectancy and that is it. It cannot be changed, so if your client does not fall into these categories, all the best advice you are receiving is WRONG. The software choice must include all 2,728 rules and regulations, plus the thousands of exceptions to the rules to be effective. We searched, researched, tried and used many different software programs until we settled on the one we use for our clients.

Considering that lifetime Social Security benefits for most of our married clients is well over a million dollars, you want the best advice you can get before making this basically permanent decision. This means considering every option and analyzing the tradeoffs. Pillars’ customized reports are tailored to each individual set of circumstances, and every case is unique. You can’t fool the computer per se, but you can create (with some software programs) situations for your clients that take into consideration their wishes, dreams and desires for retirement.

Many software programs are not capable of calculating benefits for best use of the Survivor benefit, Disability clients, Spousal Benefit, Family Benefit maximums, and the list goes on. We are just cautioning our readers……don’t be fooled by what you see on the Internet… are the one that will suffer with a bad decision.

By Laurence Kotlikoff, PBS Newshour

“Unfortunately, Social Security has some very nasty “gotcha” provisions, so if you take the wrong benefits at the wrong time, you can end up getting a smaller benefit forever.”

“Getting this right on your own, is neigh impossible”

“Social Security’s online benefit calculators either don’t handle or don’t adequately handle spousal, divorcee, widow, widower, children, and Restricted options.”

Just looking out for our readers. Trust us….this is a BIG DEAL!! Contact us at 601-954-0699 or or visit our website at Roy and Diane are both National Social Security Advisors and Roy is a retired CPA .




Divorced and the New Laws

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Divorced spouses were not affected by the new File and Suspend Restrictions if they meet the age restrictions. Even if an ex-spouse files and suspends his/her benefit, it will not affect the option of the former spouse to collect benefits on his/her earning record   BUT, both spouse and ex-spouses who turn age 62 after January 1, 2016, will lose their right to claim spousal benefits only on their mate or ex-mate’s earnings. These people will now be paid the highest benefit to which they are entitled, whether on their earnings or their spouses. They will not be able to file for only Spousal Benefits and allow their benefit to grow with Delayed Retirement Credits until age 70. That option will no longer be available starting in 2020 – this is when the last of those currently grandfathered in under the old law will reach their Full Retirement Age.

Pillars LLC will continue to remind our readers until the deadline of April 29, 2016 about the Bi-Partisan Budget Act of 2015. The new rules implemented for File and Suspend strategy are critical for the lifetime income stream of those turning age 66 by April 29, 2016, and for the spouses of those individuals. If you meet the age 66 deadline, you also create an option to collect a lump sum payout of suspended benefits. If someone requests to File and Suspend on or after April 30, 2016, he/she is subject to the new law. If his/her spouse or children were receiving benefits on his/her record, their benefits will STOP.

Anyone who is 62 or older by the end of 2015, including those who celebrated their 62nd birthday on January 1, 2016, can still file a Restricted Application for Spousal Benefits when they turn age 66. You do not have to do anything prior to age 66. Social Security’s practice considers a person attains his/her age the day before his/her actual birthday. PLEASE, if you don’t understand this law or need help with your choices about filing, do not hesitate to contact us – there is too much to lose!!

Confused…….it is very complicated. And to make matters worse, people are reporting to us conflicting comments and information given to them at the Social Security offices. This is your benefit and it is basically a permanent decision. Professional advice is strongly recommended. Pillars website is and our email is or you can contact us at 601-954-0699.