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Social Security Question – Divorced and Single

Q: I am currently divorced and single. I was married for 17 years. I started receiving Social Security benefits at the age of 63 and I just turned 65. I receive $600 in my own benefits and receive an additional $200 in benefits from my ex-husband. My ex-husband will be 66 in February. I took the advice of the Social Security “specialist” when I did that. Would it have been possible to file, suspend, and have just taken half of his benefits? Is it too late to do that or can I do it before the law changes since he will be 66 before May 2016. I feel so confused about the whole process, but if there is anything that I can do before the law changes, I certainly want to do it.

A: Yes, it would have been possible if you had waited until your full retirement age (66) to file a restricted application for your spousal benefit only while letting your benefit grow until age 70 and then switch.

Unfortunately, it is too late to do that because you filed two years ago. You have 12 months from filing your benefit to withdraw your application and payback any benefits received and in effect, “hit the reset button”.

You still have the option to suspend your benefit at age 66. If you suspend your benefit and wait until age 70 to start it back up again, then your benefit will increase by 8% per year, but you will not receive monthly income until you restart your benefit. It’s also important to note that if you simply suspend your benefit at age 66, you don’t have to pay back any prior benefits. If you do suspend your benefits, make sure you still pay your Medicare B premiums as these are typically deducted from your Social Security benefits.


 

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