• 61°

Social Security Matters: Ask Rusty – SSDI denied; will claiming early hurt spouse or survivor benefits?

by AMAC Certified Social Security Advisor Russell Gloor, Association of Mature American Citizens

Dear Rusty: I applied for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits and was denied. So, because I turn 62 this month, I plan to file for my early SS retirement benefits. Since I’ve not worked a lot due to health issues I won’t get much and I realize my benefit will be reduced by about 30% from my full retirement age amount, but we need the extra income to help with my medical bills. My husband is 57 and still works. Social Security will be our only retirement so he will be working for as long as he can. My question is, how will my early retirement affect any spousal benefits I might qualify for in the future? Or my widow’s benefits if he should die before I do? Signed: Worried Spouse

Dear Worried: Claiming your own SS benefit at age 62 will cause your spousal benefit to be less when your spouse benefit starts (when your husband claims). That’s because your spousal benefit will be in the form of a “spousal boost” which will be added to the reduced SS benefit you will get by filing at age 62. The amount of your spousal boost will depend upon how old you are when your husband claims (which is when your spousal benefit kicks in). If you’ve reached your full retirement age (FRA) of 66 years and 8 months, your spousal boost will be the difference between 1) your SS retirement benefit amount at your FRA (regardless of when you claimed) and 2) half (50%) of the benefit your husband is entitled to at his FRA (regardless of when he claims). At your FRA you get the full amount of the spousal boost; but taken before your FRA the spousal boost will be actuarially reduced according to the number of months prior to FRA it is taken. Since the spousal boost is added to the benefit you are already receiving, you claiming your reduced benefits at age 62 means your spousal benefit will also be reduced. But your spousal benefit (while your husband is living) is entirely different from your survivor benefit if your husband dies before you.

As your husband’s widow, provided you have reached your FRA you will get 100% of the amount he was receiving (or entitled to receive) at his death, instead of your smaller benefit from claiming at age 62. In other words, that you claimed your own benefit at 62 doesn’t affect your survivor benefit. But if the survivor benefit is claimed before you reach your full retirement age it will be reduced due to claiming it early (the reduction is about 4.75% for each year early). Note that you do not have to claim the survivor benefit immediately; you may wait to claim until it reaches maximum at your FRA.

One final point: Statistically, about 2/3rds of all initial SSDI disability applications are denied. If you believe strongly that you’ve been unfairly denied, you can appeal that denial, even if you go ahead and claim your own SS benefit at age 62. To appeal the SSDI denial you should submit form SSA-561 – Request for Reconsideration, which you can find at this link: www.ssa.gov/forms/ssa-561.html.

FOR MORE COLUMNS AND LETTERS TO THE EDITOR, CHECK OUT OUR OPINION SECTION HERE.

News

Future of Soundside Event Site discussed

News

NPS issues interim rules for filming in park areas

News

Manteo commissioners approve permit for new athletic field house at Manteo High School

News

Weekly North Carolina gas price update

Crime

North Carolina man receives 13 years in federal prison for drug distribution

Crime

Cooper announces reward for information about Wilson County murder

News

North Carolina State Highway Patrol commander announces retirement

Crime

Cooper announces reward for information on Hoke County murder

Hyde

New video conference capabilities for students at the Hyde County Davis Center

Lifestyles

Dare County employee receives 25-year service pin

Crime

North Carolina sentenced to federal prison for dealing heroin

Business

Food Bank of the Albemarle announces Employees of the Year

Business

Kill Devil Hills pizzeria shows appreciation for essential workers

Crime

Man sentenced to prison, ordered to pay restitution for health care fraud

Crime

Elizabeth City man sentenced to 90 months for firearm offense

Business

Sales leader for Standard Insurance in 2020

Business

Leah Wood named Outer Banks Hospital Employee of the Month for February

News

Manteo welcomes new employee Jo Briggs

News

Vaccination center in Greensboro to administer 3,000 daily vaccines

News

Gambino crime family’s elder Gotti, Peter, dies in North Carolina prison

News

Cooper, North Carolina prison officials agree to release 3,500 inmates

News

State and local COVID-19 update

News

Bar owners can postpone ABC fees under new law signed by Cooper

Lifestyles

U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary virtual boating safety course set