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Got Social Security Questions? Here Are Some Answers

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Social Security is important. It provides the majority of income to most retirees. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, it provides at least 50% of total income for half of retirees and 90% for about a quarter of them.

Unfortunately, according to research, most people don’t understand exactly how Social Security works. In fact, the average person overestimates their monthly benefit by $300 or more.

Navigating the Social Security Administration is no picnic. That’s why we’re going to answer some of your questions about Social Security in this podcast.

As usual, Stacy Johnson and Miranda Marquit are joined by producer and novice investor Aaron Freeman. This week’s guest is Devin Carroll, an adviser and the founder of the Social Security Intelligence blog.

Remember, even though we sometimes talk about specific investments on this show, don’t take them as recommendations because they’re not. Before investing in anything, do your own research, and make your own decisions.

You can watch this episode below, or if you’d prefer to listen, you can do that with the player at the top of this article, or download it wherever you get your podcasts:

Don’t forget to check out our podcast page for more episodes designed to help you make the most of your money and our YouTube page for more videos.

Answers to your Social Security Questions

If you have questions about Social Security, our guest expert can help. Here are the questions we tackle in this episode.

Jim: “My wife is turning 69 in 6 months, I am turning 62. I cannot claim my FRA benefits until I am 67 but plan on beginning to claim benefits (and retire) when I turn 63 (early). My wife earns a pittance in SS benefits due to her work history, can she claim spousal benefits now or does she have to wait until I actually file? Will her spousal benefit reduce my benefit in any manner?”

Villages Gal in Florida: “Hello. I have a question. My friend was divorced after 18 years of marriage. He remarried. She remarried but is now divorced and single. Can she sign up to collect 1/2 of her first husband’s Social Security now? She’s 64, he’s older, but she doesn’t know if he’s collecting his Social Security or not — let her own Social Security grow till she reaches 70 and then switch to collect her own Social Security?”

Walt: “I am currently receiving Social Security and my wife is currently 64.5 years old and she is 24 months from her FRA. If my wife starts to collect on her record, she will receive a reduction of about 7.7%. When I die will my wife receive my FULL Social Security or will she receive a 7.7% reduction of my Social Security?”

Tom: “My wife is 62 and does not have enough work credits to qualify for SS. I turn 70 in Sept. 2022; have deferred SS until age 70 but will apply in Sept. What benefit will my wife get and when is the optimal time for her to apply?”

Peggy: “I am retired, but watch my grandchildren. My kids want to pay me. I have a small pension of $29,000 and receive $5,000 from SS. I was a stay-at-home mom for a number of years, so I had lots of zero-earning years. If they pay me $12,000 a year will that increase my SS payments in the future? And if so, will it be enough to offset the taxes I will have to pay on it?”

Lee: “I am 59, a retired civil servant. I receive only a pension and don’t qualify for Social Security benefits. My husband, 54 years old, is still working under the Federal Employee Retirement System (FERS). He will retire with a pension and Social Security benefits. If he passes on before me, will I be entitled to his pension and/or Social Security benefit?”

Joan: “My husband and I divorced after 10 years of marriage — he passed away December 16 of 2020 at the age of 71. I am 69 this year 2021. Can I claim his Social Security if I made more money than him?”

Teri: “My husband passed away 7 months ago at the age of 63 and had been on disability. I will be 64 in May and I’m still working full-time. When I spoke to Social Security about survivor benefits, they told me I made too much money to collect this benefit, and even after I retire I wouldn’t qualify because it would put me over the dollar limit! My question is: Does it matter how much money I make to prevent me from collecting survivor benefits? What is the maximum amount of money I can make so I can collect my survivor benefits? I was also told even when I retire I would still not be able to collect this benefit, again because I would be making too much money. This just doesn’t make any sense to me. My husband started working when he was 14 years old, so where does his Social Security money go?”

More information about Social Security from Money Talks News

Meet this week’s guest, Devin Carroll

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Devin Carroll is a financial planner who is passionate about simplifying Social Security.

In addition to his role as lead adviser at Carroll Advisory Group, he is the co-host of the Big Picture Retirement podcast and the publisher of Social Security Intelligence, a retirement education platform that now reaches more than 1 million monthly users through his YouTube channel and blog.

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About the hosts

Stacy Johnson founded Money Talks News in 1991. He’s a CPA, and has also earned licenses in stocks, commodities, options principal, mutual funds, life insurance, securities supervisor and real estate.

Miranda Marquit, MBA, is a financial expert, writer and speaker. She’s been covering personal finance and investing topics for almost 20 years. When not writing and podcasting, she enjoys travel, reading and the outdoors.

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