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Andy the Actuary

Social Security Loophole

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It is interesting how Congress and media refer to the closing of a Social Security loophole when they modified/rescinded the file-and-suspend strategy.

When my wife turned 65 and applied for Medicare, we went to a Social Security office to discuss Medicare along with retirement strategy. The SSA recommended that at 66 my wife apply for Social Security, delay her start to age 70 to get the 8% sweetener, and start taking 1/2 of mine, which she's been doing for two years.

Interesting that SSA was disclosing and recommending the strategy that Congress identified as a loophole.

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My Dad passed away just shy of 62 after drawing total and perm. disability for 4 years. My Mom, who was 59 when my Dad passed, continued working another 3 years until 62. When she retired my Dad's benefit was higher so they put her under a widow's benefit with his amount. Lo and behold 8 years later when Mom was 70 the Soc Security Administration contacted her and told her that she should now change and draw her own benefit as the amount at age 70 had surpassed what she was receiving as my Dad's benefit. I was astounded!

At first contact from the SSA my Mom thought it was a mistake because she was already drawing. She checked with us kids to sort it out and we helped her apply for her benefit. She had been prepared to tell SSA they had made an error and/or ignore the correspondence from them. Got me to thinking how many people don't know that they may be in this same situation and perhaps ignore the letter for the same reason my Mom was prepared to ignore it!!

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