Is it true that I can draw my pension and my surviving dependents’ advantages?
Economic Security Planning, Inc.
Today’s column deals with the question of whether it is possible to draw old-age and survivors’ benefits at the same time, whether benefits for disabled adult children depend on the date of registration of the parent and whether repayment of the SSA tax increases the benefit. Larry Kotlikoff is Professor of Economics at Boston University and the Founder and President of Economic Security Planning, Inc, which market Maximize My Social Security and MaxiFi Planner.
You can find more answers from Ask Larry here.
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Is it true that I can draw my pension and my surviving dependents’ benefits?
HI Larry, My husband passed away in January of this year and I was told by my family that I could collect my current Social Security pension along with my widow’s pension, which would be the same as he received. Are these correct details? What do I have to do to apply for both benefits, if so? Thanks, Molly
Hello Molly, I’m sorry for your loss. It is not true that you can receive your own benefits and your survivor benefits at the same time, which would be the same as your husband’s retirement benefit. If you apply for survivor benefits as well as your own social security retirement benefits, you can only be paid out up to the higher of the two benefit rates. However, you can first apply for one type of benefit and then switch to another type of benefit at a later point in time if your tariff would be higher.
Your best filing strategy will depend on your current age and the comparable amounts of your husband and husband’s benefit rates. You may want to use my company’s software – Maximize My Social Security or MaxiFi Planner – to analyze your options so that you can choose the best possible strategy for getting your benefits. Social security calculators provided by other companies or non-profit organizations can provide suitable suggestions if they have been prepared with the utmost care. Best of all, Larry
Is what the social security representative told me about my son’s benefit amount correct?
Hi Larry, I am now applying for my social security at 62, my son is disabled and I have spoken to several people in the office and on the 800 number and they tell me it depends on when I apply for my social security pension, which is 62 years old will be old, and not my 66 and 10 month full retirement ages. Is that right? Thanks Jennifer
Hi Jennifer, it sounds like you were either misinformed or there was a misunderstanding. The Child Disability Benefit Benefit (CDBs, also known as Disabled Adult Child Benefits (DAC)) that are eligible for benefits on a living parent’s record is based on 50% of the parent’s primary insurance amount (PIA) calculated, not the monthly benefit rate of the parents. A person’s PIA is their social security pension rate if they are using their benefits at full retirement age (FRA).
This means that even if you claim your benefits at the age of 62, your child can still be paid up to 50% of your full retirement age. However, if you have a spouse or other children who are also entitled to benefits based on your record, the actual rates payable to your eligible family members will be reduced based on the Maximum Family Benefit (FMB) that can be claimed for a single record. Best of all, Larry
If I pay my social security payments, will my social security benefits increase?
HI Larry, I have an installment plan. Will my Social Security benefits increase if I repay $ 10,000 in Social Security taxes I owe? Thanks, Ben
Hi Ben, I can’t give you a definitive answer. The only way to pay overdue social security taxes is to increase your Social Security Pension Benefit Rate if you have reported your self-employed income for the past few years and this income has not been taken into account when calculating your Benefit Rate.
Even then, your benefit rate would only increase if the newly reported income were high enough to replace a year of lower income. Social security pension benefits are based on the average of the highest 35 years of a person’s wage-indexed income covered by social security, so additional years of income will only increase a person’s benefit rate if they are longer than one or more of the current 35 years used to improve the benefit rate of the Person to calculate. Best of all, Larry