So this past week I went into the social security office to file a claim for full retirement widow benefits. I was not comfortable with how the appointment went so I thought I would post to see how others fared when claiming their benefits.
My husband died at age 64 and never collected any benefit from social security. He also worked consistently and had the maximum amount taken from his earnings in social security taxes. In other words he definitely had the 35+ years of earnings at maximum social security tax.
My record was not as good; I stayed at home for periods of time with our children, hence my intent to file for benefits as a widow.
BTW my bad, I did not file for widow benefits using my own earnings at age 60 as a widow.
Anyway, when I sat down the first thing the social security employee asked for was a copy of my pension statement. I worked for county and state employers for 10 years and have been receiving a pension. All of my employment was taxed at the 6.2 % social security rate. Social security taxes have always been paid. I had brought my earning statements for more than the 60 months that are required.
But, here is the deal, when planning retirement I think we all count on both spousal benefits. I am somewhat upset that once again as a widow I have to fight for getting what is honestly less than fair. I saw an article from 2008 that stated that widow / widower benefits should be paid out at a combined rate of 75% what should have been awarded
Strengthening Social Security Benefits for Widow(er)s:
The 75% Combined Worker Benefit Alternative
Vice President for Family Economic Security
National Women’s Law Center
11 Dupont Circle, Suite 800
Washington, DC 20036
Submitted to the National Academy of Social Insurance
Anyway, I just wanted to put this out there to see what others have experienced. I found the appointment to be upsetting and I actually had to point blank ask what the benefit would be. She was vague about the amount. Now, I suppose I will have to just wait to see what the check amount is. Oh, and I was also asked to come back and provide a copy of my husband's DD214 discharge papers from the Navy to verify no money had been collected from the service; he was discharged in 1968.
Well, good or bad please share your experience.
I did go on SS;s website. SSI goes by financial need.it is not called SSDI..it is called SSI, similar to welfare...not SSD. SSD is strictly for disabled people who pay into it all their lives in the way of their SS tax...if you become disabled , you will collect the same as you would as straight SS I collected at 54 on SSD the same amount I would have collected 12 years later on regular SS and when I am 66 and 6 months my check will not change. . I read the entire website...maybe others should...as you told me to. Please don't bother to answer....I won't read your posts anymore...God bless you in your grief journey.
SSI is Social Security Insurance ...
You are entitled to receive Social Security disability (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits when you are no longer able to perform a "substantial" amount of work as the result of a physical or mental impairment that is expected to last at least 12 months, or
possibly result in death.
*The suggestion to locate the information I found on the SS website was not directed at you personally, it was for everyone to check my information ...*
Thanks to all who replied. I actually did my best to prepare for my appointment. I even downloaded their detailed calculator and entered all of my husbands taxable social security earnings to see what my benefit would be. Honestly, I think that calculator is written in DOS it was very clunky :)
My state and county positions were always taxed for social security. The pension was based on my earnings and shared contributions from my employer and me.
I think the problem I had was the first thing the social security employee did was ask for my monthly pension statement. Instead, I produced the more than the 60 months of earning statements that showed I always paid the 6. 2% social security tax. This was listed on the Government Pension Offset publication under the subtitle "When won't my Social Security benefits be reduced?"
I wanted to alert others to be prepared and cautious about filing. I will reiterate I left my earnings on the table by not claiming them first as a widow before my full retirement age. That was a very costly mistake. Only one of many I have made I'm afraid. Hopefully, by providing the necessary documentation I will receive 100% of my husband's benefit.
I hope my experience may help others.
Unfortunately, forgetfulness is to be expected when burdened with widowbrain; it makes those grieving work harder to overcome it. Confusion can also a big problem ...
Glad you looked for the cause of the error rather than beating yourself up as well as in being helpful to others ...