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Born in the 50s

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Discussion Forum

social security widow/widower benefits

Started by Lissa. Last reply by SweetMelissa2007 2 hours ago. 10 Replies

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Comment Wall


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Comment by MissingCB on March 28, 2012 at 5:50am

I am thoroughly confused.  When my husband died, he made the maximum and our children were minors so we received Survivor's Benefits.  He had just been declared disabled but when I went to the SS office, the lady didn't like me and put us on Survivor's Benefits when his Disability benefits would have been better for us.  They refused to change it.

In 2005, I became disabled.  Actually 2004, but the judge asked me to make a deal and agree to 2005 since I would have to pay back survivor's and then get disability.  I was so thrilled to have the two year ordeal over with that I agreed to anything.

My earnings were already far below my husband's so my disability income was really low.  I kept questioning whether I should take from mine or a portion of his.  I keep trying to get off disability but each year come up with some new malady.  I am only 54 and don't know how much longer I will be on disability.  He would already be 70 if he were still alive. 

I have been lied to so much by the SS office.  Should I go in and see if I am still better off getting my own benefits or taking his. 

And, I remarried for a few months to a con man which stopped my mother's benefits but upon my quick divorce, they were reinstated.  Does a less than a year marriage & divorce before you are 60 affect anything or do I say anything about that to the SS people?

This is overwhelming but every time I have gone to their office, they treat me like I am trying to pull something over on them and are horrible.  Also, twice I have received letters saying I owe huge amounts of money and my disability is going to end.  Once, for the lump sum payment I received upon my husband's death and the second time for the "deal" the judge asked me to make when I first went on disability.  It took months & letters to show they were wrong.

My counselor tells me she has never met one person who has been screwed by so many people and agencies in her life.

Comment by Mary99 on March 28, 2012 at 3:04am
Pulling Soc Sec early normally reduces your overall benefits, but not for widows. Pull as soon as you can, because you pull from one spouse account while the other continues to grow. Pulling early does not penalize you, in fact you will be able to collect a lot more than the average person. (and I'm not sorry about that at all since 2 of us contributed but only 1 of us will collect. )

The one restriction is that those who remarry before they turn 60 can't pull benefits early. Marriage AFTER 60 is not a problem.
Comment by Joyce on March 27, 2012 at 7:58pm

Dazed:  Not only will you get it, even though you work full  time, you might be able to draw a portion of his, depending on how much you make and how much he had in SS.  they have a table that figures it out.  You should take it if you can even if its only a portion.

Comment by Paula on March 27, 2012 at 7:03pm

also, if you were not the higher wage earner, you can start to draw your ssi first, and leave your spouses put, and at 66 switch to that one, which should be larger

Comment by flamingt on March 27, 2012 at 7:00pm

dear dazed.  Sorry about you leaving your home and quitting the pt job.  But, even though you are working now...and you are over 60 you still can get those ssi widow's benefits...Survivor's (Widows/Widowers) benefits.  Go to that link and it will tell you everything you need to know.   It doesn't matter if you are working now or not.  When you turn 66, then you can claim your own benefits...if the income is higher, social security gives you the better deal.  So, my recommendation is get all that you can now, because you have earned it.  Hugs to you.

Comment by dazed on March 27, 2012 at 5:58pm

I wish I had known about the SSI widow benefit before I left our home, quit my part time job and moved away for full time employment. I had no idea until a friend's husband died and I found out about it.

Comment by flamingt on March 23, 2012 at 3:16pm

Hello everyone...I posted this morning and glad I did, but I have even more to share.

1.  When I took early retirement at age 55, I have no remorse for doing that...sure, I took a penalty...but my hubby and I needed the money.  He was on disability, and I just couldn't get a steady job anywhere (the after 50 thing...)  When I look at it, it was the universe telling me I needed to be home with him during this time.  When he died, thank goodness we signed up with survivor least his pension continued...but his social security stopped.  Two months before I turned 60 (last year)...I hopped over to the social security office and applied for his benefits (widows benefits).  It was appropriate and all I can say it has helped tremendously...I don't have to find a job anywhere now...and just watch my budget.  I am so grateful for everything we planned ahead for (i.e. life insurance). 


But the best news...which is awesome...I finally stopped by the Hospice of the East Bay today.  They were my angels during my time of need.  They helped me through the hurdles.  It seemed that after Larry died...I tried to pull myself up...but they did provide some counseling.  I'll make the rest short.  I gave them copies of my book for their library and had an extensive talk with the Head of Bereavement Counseling.  He congratulated me on how far I've come and really would love it if I became a counselor.  They do the training...but I'm not sure I would like to be at the "hand holding" stage.  I think I'm best suited in my writing and sharing with others like YOU.  So my loves....have a wonderful weekend.  Take a moment to breathe in your moments of bliss deeply.  They will come more frequently and you will find light on the other side.  (((((HUGS))))) - yes, I know I'm crazy...but we've all have been there, haven't we, and this is one of my moments.  :-) 

Comment by Marsha on March 23, 2012 at 11:27am

Freddieb, you will be a wonderful leader for Grief Share! This is a good program and you will be able to help a lot of people with their journey of grief.

Comment by Mary99 on March 23, 2012 at 9:50am

Paula, I am 59 now, and in my case, I plan to collect against Tom's SS record after I turn 60 this December (and I can pull from the IRA's as of the end of this June) - and my own SS will continue to grow as I leave it set there.  If I switch to mine when I'm 62-1/2 I'd actually take a small cut; if I wait till I'm 66, I'd get a small increase - but if I wait til I'm 70, I get almost a 40% increase.

I knew about pulling from his and then switching to mine, but wasn't aware that it also worked the other way around.

And, luckily, I have health insurance from his old employer.  I have to pay 50% of the premium, but it's good insurance and a better deal than I could get elsewhere.


Mahagen - I worry about the economy too, and what could happen to the pension and Soc Sec that I am/will be depending on.  What happens if it all collapses?  Is there enough in the IRA's for me to live on?  The IRA's aren't secure like bank savings - so what if something happens to them?  It's a scary time.  The one thing I don't worry about is making sure I have enough to leave the kids.  I anticipate living until I'm 90, like most of my relatives.  In that case, my kids will be 60ish.  If they're COUNTING on having an inheritance from me, what the heck are they going to live on until I die?  They'd better be doing some planning.  (BTW the kids tell me to plan on living a long time, and to spend all the money I have and enjoy myself - the same thing we tell my MIL now)


Flamingt - it's not that making the decisinos are so difficult. I'm pretty good at that.  I just hate waiting while other people are making up their minds.  Selling the building and business is like rigging one of those domino designs.  It's so much "prettier" if the dominoes fall the right way. 

Comment by Dianne in Nevada on March 23, 2012 at 9:35am

Catching up on posts this morning and I'm seeing an important thread of hope. Thinking about our future, what we want, what we can do, what we can work toward, what we can give to others ... all such important things for us to do. Easier to do some days than others, I know. 

Early on, I wanted to retire, to run away to someplace new where I thought I'd feel better instantly. Was actually close to doing it when I was approached at work to consider a new job. That change has been exactly what I needed. I don't know how long I'll stay, but that's what also is a plus. I went into it telling my new boss that I couldn't promise how long I'd stay. I'll be at full retirement in 2016, so perhaps I'll stay til then ... or maybe not. Continuing to work allows me to go to Camp Widow, to take other trips, to attend events here in Vegas - so I'm doing my best to wrap myself up in the good things it is providing and pushing myself out the door when I can. I still have my 'stay-in-the-jammies-all-weekend' times, but think those days are what help me to gather the strength I need to feel alive during the work week.

Haven't started a weight loss plan yet, but I'm paying a little more attention to how I look after some pretty ugly times. I've worked for women the past 17 years and now have a male boss that part of it? I have no idea.


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