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Blog

  • As regular readers of SS&Y are aware, the Social Security Administration administers 2 trust funds. The Old Age Survivors Insurance (OAS’) fund pays retirement benefits. The Disability Insurance fund (DI) pays disability benefits. When Congress passed and President Obama signed the Bipartisan Budget Act in November of 2015 to reallocate current contributions between the OASI…

    7+ months ago
  • The Social Security Administration has announced there will be no Cost of Living Adjustment in 2016 for the nearly 65 million Americans drawing Social Security disability, retirement or SSI benefits.  This is because there was no inflation between the third quarter of 2014 and 2015 as measured by the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage…

    2+ years ago

News

  • Spring-Summer 2015 Newsletter SSDI Insolvency Looms We’ve known it’s been coming for some time and now it’s on our doorstep. Unless Congress acts the Social Security Disability Insurance Trust Fund (DI Trust Fund) will become insolvent late next year and unable to pay full benefits any longer. Millions of Americans who rely on their disability checks for most, if not all,…

    2+ years ago
  • Fall 2014 Newsletter OBAMACARE UPDATE On October 1st it will have been a year since enrollment began in the Affordable Care Act national health insurance program known as Obamacare. The difficulties in the early weeks and months have been well documented. But where are we a year later… Read the Newsletter in PDF format.   Read the Newsletter in PDF…

    2+ years ago

Married With Benefits? Spousal Social Security Planning

Michigan married couples have a lot to consider when planning how to claim their spousal social security benefits. The best social security insurance plans consider everything, including income history, age, and taxes.

Planning for spousal social security benefits togetherIf you are trying to plan your social security claim, you’re probably asking, “How old do I need to be?” But this question overlooks some important considerations, especially for spouses. If you are, or have been married, you will need to consider a lot more than age to make the most of your benefits.

Spousal Social Security Benefits

Michigan married couples have no fewer than 8,000 different choices when it comes to claiming social security benefits. Even if your spouse has never contributed to SSI by working outside the home, he or she is entitled to one half of your benefit, starting at age 62. Eligibility for SSI spousal benefits depends on whether the primary wage earner has enough of a contributing income history to qualify. Once one spouse qualifies, they both can claim benefits.

Deferring Social Security Spousal Benefits

If you and your spouse have both worked your decisions on when and how to claim your spousal social security benefits could get complicated. In some cases, it is best for the higher wage earner to “file and suspend” his or her benefits until reaching the maximum retirement age. As Nancy Hecht of Certified Financial Group explained to CNBC:

The higher-earning spouse can file his or her benefit at full retirement age and suspend it, letting the benefit grow presumably to age 70. The other spouse can then claim a spousal benefit—half of the filer’s benefit—at that time. When reaching full retirement age, the spouse can file for his or her own worker benefit if it’s bigger than the spousal benefit.

This can result in a higher benefit over all, while still maximizing both spouses’ earning potential.

Watching Out for Tax Consequences

If you are only receiving social security income, you don’t have much to worry about when it comes to tax season. But if you or your spouse are also receiving a pension or 401(k) distribution, you could face a substantial tax consequence. Some financial advisers recommended holding off on withdrawing from “tax-deferred” retirement accounts as long as possible. But James Mahaney, Vice President of Strategic Initiatives with Prudential Financial, says that might not be the wisest plan.

“People become emotionally attached to their IRA and 401(k) because they worked so hard saving for it,” he said. “But you saved for your Social Security, too, and you need to look at ways to maximize that income.”

By working with an experienced Michigan Social Security Lawyer and a financial planner, you and your spouse can make a plan that will make the most of all your retirement accounts – 401(k)s, pensions, IRAs, and of course, Social Security. Don’t get hit with unexpected tax consequences or early age penalties. Talk to Michigan Social Security Lawyer William Crawforth today about your social security retirement plans.

Call today if you have questions about the Michigan Social Security Disability Attorney and Lawyer Services provided by William Crawforth.

To schedule an appointment call 800-864-1244 or fill out the contact form at the top of this page.

  • State Bar of Michigan
  • Washtenaw County Bar Association
  • National Organization of Social Security Claimants' Representatives

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