Don’t Assume – Part 1

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As a Social Security Advisor, you get tired of the word DEPENDS – that is because there are so many rules for this benefit that most of the time IT DEPENDS.  We thought the best way to dig into some of these rules was to give you a handful of the more common ones; hopefully this will get your wheels turning for further advice or questions.

1. If you don’t ask for a benefit, you might not receive it.

Social Security does not know if you are married, have children, have been divorced or widowed.  Their job is to give you information about your benefit and your benefit only. Also, if your marital situation changes, or a former or current spouse dies, this can affect your benefit and the amount you are eligible to draw.

2. Your Social Security statement reports you are eligible for one benefit at different ages.  Can I be eligible for more than one benefit?

How do you know if you are eligible for more than one benefit?  You need to know the rules and regulations.  If eligible for more than one, which one do you take first.  IT DEPENDS.  With proper timing, strategizing in this area can greatly improve your income stream through life expectancy.

3. There may be no advantage to waiting until your Full Retirement Age to collect a divorced widow(er) or widow(er) benefits.

There is a different calculation called RIB-LIM that is used to calculate the above benefits.  This formula creates no increase in this benefit past a certain point that comes before your Full Retirement Age benefit, up to 51 months before FRA.

4. What if I realize I have made a mistake in filing early?

There is a one-year window, from the date of your first benefit, called a DO-OVER period; during this time frame you can change your mind about how you have filed.  The caveat with this window is that all benefits, including any auxiliary benefits attached to your benefit have to be repaid.  You need to know what you are doing before you make a final decision.

5. Earnings Limitations reductions impact all beneficiaries from worker’s benefit.

If your spouse or your children are drawing a benefit from your benefit, and you trigger the Earnings Limitations reduction rule with your excess income over the limit, a reduction will be appointed on a pro rata basis to all those family members.  This can be a HUGE hurt that usually is unrealized until it is too late.  Before you draw early and continue working, have a professional review of your situation.

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, on their website at or call at 601-954-0699.  KNOW before you GO!!

The Do-Over

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We get phone calls, probably every week, from readers that feel the made a mistake on their Social Security benefit or claiming decision. Why is this? Maybe they have a job opportunity that would put their earnings over the Earnings Limitations maximum, maybe they read something that triggered the thought process, maybe they attended a Social Security (Pillars) seminar, maybe they really didn’t need the additional income, maybe they filed the wrong way for the wrong benefit, or maybe a friend gave them bad advice……whatever, the situation, there is an option available to you.

People file for benefits early for a number of reasons. Perhaps, they initially believed they would get more in cumulative benefits by claiming early. If you are within the first year of claiming your benefit (not the first year and one day, only the first year) you can file what is called the Withdrawal of Application. To put this creative fix in action, the benefit recipients simply complete a form, pay back all of the benefits they have received (including any spousal or other family benefits) and start again later at a higher monthly rate. It is just like you never started benefits. For most this is not feasible….to pay back all the money, including auxiliary benefits off their benefit, is not an option. Even though we have only had a handful of clients exercise this option, we wanted our readers to know that it is available if needed.

And so this is why how to file, when to file, what benefit to file for are extremely important. This is basically a permanent decision that must be given thorough examination and professional review. The Social Security office will answer your questions about your benefit, but not how to utilize claiming strategies. In fact some people do not realize that the Social Security office staff does not know if you are married or divorced until you tell them. Their job is to offer information on YOUR BENEFIT individually. We review your situation collectively, including all the claiming strategies that apply, and provide you with many options. Your report is customized for you and your unique set of circumstances. This is not a ONE SIZE FITS ALL process.

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 . Call us if your business would be interested in a seminar…..great way to assist your employees with accurate information.