Delaying Social Security with Surviving Spouse Benefit: Insights from Certified Financial Planner

Troy: Everyone that’s alive and qualified will take Social Security when the time comes. You want to make sure you make the right decision. I want to introduce you to Ed Rossi today. Ed is one of the most experienced and educated advisors when it comes to Social Security that I’ve ever been around in my entire career. He’s a Certified Financial Planner professional, a Certified Private Wealth Advisor professional, and also a National Social Security Advisor, which is a unique designation that drills down deep into the complexities of Social Security. Ed’s here today to help educate you about your Social Security questions and provide a deep understanding to help you make better decisions for your retirement.

Ed Rossi: When should I take my Social Security benefits? 62? 67? 70? Somewhere in between? Can I still work after I begin my Social Security benefits? How are my benefits taxed? What in the world are annual earnings tests? Windfall elimination provision? Government pension offset? More importantly, am I subject to them? Hi, I’m Ed Rossi, senior financial advisor at Oak Harvest Financial Services in Houston, Texas. As holistic financial planners and retirement specialists, my colleagues and I receive questions like this daily.

For most retirees, Social Security represents a large percentage of their retirement income. It is step two in our retirement success plan process. We’ve posted several videos on the Oak Harvest YouTube channel that cover this topic. Before I get started today, please take a moment to click on both the subscribe and notification bells, so you’ll be notified when our planning team uploads our latest content. Recently, we received a question in the comment section of one of our Social Security videos, where our CEO and co-founder, Troy Sharpe, covers a strategy that is being phased out for a majority of retirees in 2024. Filing a restricted application.

In the comment section, we received a question that we wanted to address. It came from Savannah-ed4rv, and it reads, I’m on disability, and when I become full retirement age, I was told to delay my standard benefit and resume it when I’m 70 years old, but I’m a widow, and I’m told that I cannot or should not take any benefits on my husband’s record. He made a little bit less than me during our marriage, and if I don’t have Social Security for those three years, I’ll have no income at all. Since I don’t have any specific figures to work with, I’m going to make several assumptions to help answer the question.

Basic Parameters of this Case Study Breakdown

I’ll assume Savannah-ed4rv’s benefit is $2,000 a month, at her full retirement age, and her deceased spouse’s benefit, at full retirement age is $1,500 a month. First, beginning at age 60, you are eligible to receive a surviving spouse benefit if you were married for more than nine months. There are several exceptions to this nine-month requirement. If you’re still caring for a child under 16 or a disabled adult child. Let’s return to my assumption that the deceased spouse’s benefit is $1,500 a month at their full retirement age. At your age 60, you would be eligible for 71.5% of their full retirement age benefit. In this example, that’s $1,072 a month.

Each month you delay taking this benefit, the 71.5% increases up to 100% at the surviving spouse’s full retirement age. In my example, $1,500 a month. Savannah mentioned that her benefit is higher than her spouse. Again, let’s assume it’s $2,000 a month at her full retirement age. After beginning her surviving spouse benefit, she can delay her own benefit until age 70. During this time, Savannah’s benefit continues to increase at 8% a year simple interest. Assuming a full retirement age of 67 for Savannah, that’s three years. That would be 24% increase. $2,480 a month.

There are several other considerations that are beyond the scope of today’s video, but that’s where a more holistic income plan becomes most beneficial. We don’t want to only consider your Social Security benefits, but all of your other income sources in retirement. What Social Security questions do you have? Share them in the comment section below, and we can help get them answered in future videos. We’re glad to help you understand your situation more clearly. Give us a call at 877-896-0040. Ask for Frank, and we’ll get you squared away. Thanks for watching.

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