Don’t Assume – Part 2

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Funny thing happened about a month ago – one of our clients was going to file for her Social Security benefit and I told her to take her marriage certificate in case they asked for it – sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t.  Anyway, in the process of trying to locate this document, she found $1,000 in her home safety box she had forgotten about.  Moral of this story – your Social Security Advisors can be VERY profitable!!

Now to continue with our series we started on ASSUMPTIONS:

1. Delayed Retirement Credits do not increase spousal and children’s benefits. 

Child benefits, spousal benefits including child-in-care and divorced benefits will not rise if you suspend your benefit to start at a later date to collect more delayed retirement credits.  These auxiliary benefits are based on your Primary Insurance Amount, not your actual retirement benefit amount.

2.Your birthday and Social Security are important

Social Security treats you as if you have attained a given age the day before your birthday.  This is very important when working on filing strategies and Earnings Limitations problems for clients.

3.Disabled widowers have different rules

There is a separate and more generous formula standard for disabled workers.  Widows(ers) can draw their benefits as early as age 50 with no greater reduction than if they were to have filed at age 60.  But remember that there is still a reduction applied for taking prior to Full Retirement Age.

4.Waiting until 70 to draw your benefit may or may not be your best option. 

Depending on your spouse’s benefit amount, your ages and your ability to be flexible, drawing between ages 66/67-70 for one of the spouses may be a better option.  Numbers don’t lie, so needs to be reviewed.

5.Drawing your Social Security benefit early will hurt your Survivor.  

Widow or widower benefits are normally equal to the deceased worker’s (assume this is the husband) benefit at Full Retirement Age, or if he dies at a later age, his benefit including Delayed Retirement Credits.  However, if you file early, this is not the case; you will receive a reduced benefit based on a complicated formula because of filing prior to Full Retirement Age.  

Again, these are just some of the rules you may or may not have been aware of.  There are 2,728 rules so it is a daily, cumbersome, ordeal to navigate this program.  Watch out as what you don’t know, could certainly hurt you and your family’s pocketbook!

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!!

Wife is Older – Strategies

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Because there are more re-marriages in our society today, we see more clients where the wife is quite a bit older than the husband. This creates an unusual set of circumstances when filing for your Social Security. Why? Because if the wife is younger, the usual situation created is that the wife, if the lower earner, would entertain spousal benefits and then if possible switch to her benefit later in the filing strategy. Not the case when the husband is younger – let’s look at a real-life situation.

  1. Amy will turn Full Retirement Age in February 2019, and Randy will turn Full Retirement Age in October 2023. Amy has the lower benefit amount and Randy intends to continue working past his Full Retirement Age.
  2. Amy’s Full Retirement Age Benefit is $550 and Randy’s is $2140.
  3. If they both filed early their lifetime maximum benefit, based on life expectancy of 85 for him and 88 for her would be $716,740.00. Amy could file at 64.9 months and Randy would file at age 62. With this option, they both would also be restricted on their income due to the Earnings Limitations which is $17,040 in 2018. Their Survivor Benefit amount would be $1,762.00.
  4. If they both filed at Full Retirement Age (66 for her and 66.6 for him) their lifetime maximum would be $955,200.00. They could both continue working without concern for the Earnings Limitations rule. Their Survivor Benefit would be $2,137.00 per month.
  5. If they both waited and filed at age 70, the lifetime maximum benefit would be $975,630.00 and their Survivor Benefit amount would be $2,735.00.

Options over and above what they are told (above) on SS statement:

  1. BEST CASE – Amy files on her benefit at age 66. Randy files for his benefit at age 70. Amy adds spousal benefit at age 74.2 which increases her benefit from $550 to $1068 per month. Total benefits through life expectancy are $993,202.00. NOTE: this is an increase of $17,500 over waiting until age 70. This is money that would have never been noticed, had they not gotten professional advice. Survivor benefit is maximum at $2,735.00.
  2. ALTERNATIVE 1 – Randy files for his benefit at age 68 and Amy files for benefit at age 66, then Amy files for spousal benefits at age 72.2. Total benefits would be $977,250.00 and Survivor Benefit would be $2,390.00

These are just two additional options available – we could add many, many more based on the individual requests such as when they want to retire, how long they want to work, and their desired income stream. The increase from filing early to BEST CASE is $276,462.00 through life expectancy. The point is – you have more than the three options available on your Social Security statement. With the addition of Spousal Benefits, at the appropriate time, the lifetime maximum is increased. And in other circumstances, a Spousal Boost is available. Different rules for different situations – contact a professional before filing.

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!!

Husband says “NOW”

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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.

Call us at 601-954-0699 (located in Corinth, MS but serve all 50 states) or email us at for more information. Website is Roy and Diane are both National Social Security Advisors and Roy is a former CPA of over 40 years.