Social Security Strategies for Bigger Benefits
A Restricted Application is a social security strategy that can result in higher social security benefits for eligible filers.
Steve Miller* is a current client age 66 and 6 months and retired. He was planning on waiting to file for his Social Security benefit at age 70 to take advantage of the Delayed Retirement Credit of 8% per year. He wanted to maximize his social security benefit. We reached out to him to see if he had any questions about his social security benefits. After talking to him, we discovered an opportunity- an social security strategy that could benefit him.
I met with Steve and we had a wonderful conversation about his collection of fine wines. He was attempting to grow his own vines, just as a hobby. He mentioned that it was his first wife who turned him on to wine and that after 15 years of trying to get him to drink wine he only became a serious wine connoisseur after they divorced. This was an important discovery for me and after asking him more about his first wife, I realized he was eligible for additional social security benefits.
Restricted Application Eligibility
Steve was born in 1953, so he was eligible to file a restricted application. This allowed him to file an application for spousal benefits based on his former wife while continuing to delay his own retirement benefit to age 70 when he would switch.
He met the requirements:
- Born before January 2, 1954,
- The marriage lasted at least 10 years,
- His former spouse was eligible for benefits,
- He was currently single.
Steve’s FRA benefit is $32,000. If he waits until age 70, his benefit will increase by 32% (4 years at 8% per year) to $42,240. His former spouse was also a high earner with a FRA benefit of $30,000. David can receive $15,000/year as a spousal benefit for the next four years, then switch to his retirement benefit of $42,240/year. Taking a spousal benefit does not reduce his former wife’s benefit, and in fact, she will not even know that he has filed for benefits based on her earnings record.
Steve was eligible to use this strategy when he turned 66 and reached his FRA, but didn’t realize it until 6 months after his birthday. Social Security has a 6-month retro-activity rule that allows him to receive a lump sum of 6 months of benefits dating back to when he was first eligible.
The social security analysis resulted in a substantial economic impact for me.I was extremely grateful for the advice I received. I had no idea I could take a spousal benefit, even though I was divorced from my first wife. It never crossed my mind.
*This case study is a dramatized composite of client financial planning and financial advice from Platt Wealth Management. This is an example of possible solutions to a given situation and should not be taken as advice or recommendations for your unique set of conditions. We invite you to visit our office for a free consultation to tell us your specific concerns and goals.
Social Security Analysis Results
As a result of our analysis, Steve contacted the Social Security Administration and filed a restricted application. He received a lump sum check for $7,500 and will receive $1,250/month for the next 3 ½ years, for total estimated benefits of $60,000.
What social security strategies are right for you?
We’ve heard many of our clients’ concerns about how to make the best choices and when to file for Social Security.These decisions can be overwhelming, and government websites do little to help break down the information in an accessible and easy way.
Knowledge and expert assistance can make a meaningful financial impact. Contact us to get the financial advice you need. 619.255.9554
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