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Are you leaving money on the table? What you may not know about Spousal Social Security benefits

As a kid I used to think that when I went off to school mom would sit around and eat bon bon’s and watch soap operas all day.  Now that I am a father, I realize that Mom’s job was the toughest and most important job of all.  Dad worked his 8 to 5 and surely worked very hard, but he could come home at the end of the day and put up his feet.  Mom’s work day was much longer; she had to get the kids up, dressed, lunches packed and off to school.  Once the kids are off to school she had lots to do; laundry, dishes, housekeeping and grocery shopping kept her busy most of the day.  After dad’s stressful day, he got to put up his feet and relax.  Moms day was just starting her mandatory overtime; helping with homework, PTA, preparing dinner, getting kids to practice and then bathed and off to bed.  Then, she finally got a break.  Single mom’s had to do both jobs, an unbelievably daunting task.  Even when dad retired, mom still had most of her responsibilities.  Moms and families are the strength of our nation; they are raising the next generation that will pay into the social security system and help pay for the previous generations retirement.

The Social Security office recognizes that even though mom may not have “worked” and paid into the social security system, she sure did work for a living.  The Social Security Administration lets homemakers claim a retirement benefit that’s equal to half of the Social Security benefit their spouse would receive at the full retirement age (FRA) of 67.  You can take these benefits as early as 62 (assuming your spouse is taking benefits already) but you would get a 70% lower check taking it this early.  Each month you delay taking your benefit, it raises your check amount.  You can delay all the way until 70 years old to increase your benefit.  Here is what you may not know:

 Do you lose your benefit if you and your spouse divorced?

You can claim your benefit as long as you were married at least 10 years, have been divorced for over 2 years, and have not remarried.  If you have married again, you would have to qualify under the new spouse.

How long before I can claim the spousal benefit from my spouse?

You must be married at least 12 months before you can claim your benefit.

Can we both claim the spousal benefit?

You cannot.  But, if your work history does not qualify you for the same amount of check as you would have gotten on the spousal check, the spousal benefit will make up the difference.

If I am still working, can I take a spousal benefit?

Yes, but if you make over $16,920 annually, you’re temporarily penalized with a $1 reduction in benefits for every $2 you earn above this benchmark.  Any money that’s taken away will be repaid back to you via your monthly benefit when you either stop working or reach your FRA.

Can widows or widowers claim the spousal benefit?

Absolutely, if you’re at least 60 and your marriage lasted at least 9 months then you can receive 100% of their social security check when you file at your FRA.

Are there any other government programs that can assist me in retirement?

To learn how you can receive more money in retirement contact Robert Krepps at 877-567-7476 or robertloans@msn.com for information regarding the HUD HECM program.

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