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How To Boost Social Security Checks

Sunday, July 1, 2012 - 8:00 AM
I've seen several articles about increasing social security benefits by delaying the start of Social Security benefits from age 62 to as late as 70 (which requires trust of the Federal government). In these cases only one individual was considered. This Wall Street Journal article reviews methods to maximize social security checks for a couple. Excerpts:
"You're trying to maximize benefits over both spouses' lives. That's the key that most people miss," says Brett Horowitz, wealth manager at Evensky & Katz Wealth Management in Miami.

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Ken TuminKen Tumin5,473 posts since
Nov 29, 2009
Rep Points: 125,800
1. Sunday, July 1, 2012 - 8:39 AM
"Another use of a "restricted" application: Say a 66-year-old husband decides it makes sense for him to delay his benefits until he's 70. His wife started her benefits at 62. "What the husband doesn't realize is he is entitled to 50% of his wife's benefit while he waits, because she already filed," Mr. Horowitz says.

 When he turns his full retirement age, the husband can tell the Social Security Administration that, rather than filing for his own benefits, he wants to restrict his benefits to his wife's record. If he changes his mind, he can switch over to his own benefits at any time. In one scenario, that couple would receive an additional $42,000 by the husband claiming spousal benefits."

My wife and I are doing this, although in our case I am the one who claimed at 62 and she is the one who will take the spousal benefit at 66 (April of next year). Then, when she finally decides to retire, she terminates the spousal benefit and claims her own. This is one aspect of Social Security which, I must admit, makes absolutely no sense. She will both be paying into and drawing from S/S. The logic eludes me. But in terms of dollars and cents, she'll be "getting" roughly $200/mo more (after-tax) than she will be "paying" (via FICA tax). Wouldn't it be easier (and cheaper, for the taxpayers in general) to merely eliminate employee (as opposed to employer) FICA for folks eligible for a spousal benefit but who continue to work past age 66? This could be handled with a check-box on your W-4 ("are you eligible for a Social Security spousal benefit? (see worksheet)").
BozoBozo137 posts since
Feb 14, 2011
Rep Points: 944
2. Monday, July 2, 2012 - 10:52 PM
Why would it be cheaper for the taxpayer?
loulou554 posts since
Aug 3, 2010
Rep Points: 3,437
3. Monday, July 2, 2012 - 11:58 PM
Taxpayers wouldn't be paying my wife the $200/mo boot, multiplied by the number of folks getting the boot, multiplied by the administrative costs of collecting with the left hand and paying with the right hand.
BozoBozo137 posts since
Feb 14, 2011
Rep Points: 944