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SS Benefits for Non-Workers


Christian talk radio with Rob West

July 16, 2022

Some folks will tell you that you can’t get Social Security benefits unless you’ve worked and paid payroll taxes for at least 40 quarters, or 10 years. We’ll explain why today on MoneyWise. There’s no question that Social Security is important maybe TOO important. It was never intended to provide more than 40% of what you’ll need in retirement, but many people rely on it too heavily for their retirement plan by not having enough in savings. That said, it’s especially important to do your research if you haven’t worked the required 10 years. That’s because the Social Security Administration usually won’t inform you that you may be eligible for benefits. So let’s get a jumpstart on that research. HOW DO YOU QUALIFY IF YOU DON’T HAVE NEEDED WORK RECORD? Even if you don’t have the necessary work record, you may still qualify for Social Security benefits. The first way this is possible is through spousal benefits. You may be able to receive benefits based on your spouse's record, or even your former spouse's record in the case of divorce. Typically, you’re eligible for up to 50% of your spouse's benefit if he or she applies for benefits at full retirement age (now 66 or 67). For example, if your spouse is eligible to receive $1, 500 a month, your benefit amount could be as much as $750. You’d have to be at least 62 years old and your spouse would have to be receiving benefits already. Now, you can claim your spousal benefits that early, at age 62, but if you do, there’s a cost. If you claim them before your full retirement age, your benefits will be permanently reduced by around 32% unless you're caring for an eligible child under age 16. Bottom line: unless you absolutely can’t live without the money, it’s better to wait for your full retirement age to collect spousal benefits. SOCIAL SECURITY BENEFITS AFTER DIVORCE You could almost say divorce has no impact at all on spousal benefits. If you're divorced, you may still be able to claim benefits based on your ex-spouse's work record. But there are a couple of conditions: The marriage must have lasted at least 10 years and you can’t currently be married. And even if your ex has remarried, you’re still eligible based on his or her record. As would be the case with a current spouse, you have to be at least 62 years old to file for spousal benefits, and your maximum benefit would also be 50% of your ex-spouse's full benefit amount if he or she files at their full retirement age. But unlike with a current spouse, your ex-spouse does not need to have already applied for Social Security benefits for you to receive them based on their record. NOTE: Claiming benefits has no effect on your ex-spouse’s or or their current spouse’s benefits. SOCIAL SECURITY BENEFITS FOR WIDOWS/WIDOWERS Here, we’re getting into survivor benefits. Your eligibility for those depends on the age when your spouse passed away. If he or she worked for at least 10 years and qualified for benefits, then you may be entitled to survivors benefits. As a widow or widower, you only have to be 60, not 62, to file for benefits. You may also qualify if you're age 50 or older and have a disability. And you can file for survivor benefits at any age if you're caring for the deceased worker's child, just as long as the child is under age 16 or disabled. OTHERS WHO MAY QUALIFY Survivor’s benefits aren’t just for widows and widowers. Surviving children, ex-spouses, parents, and sometimes other relatives might also qualify for benefits. In all of those cases, the amount of the benefit depends greatly on how much the worker was eligible to receive and how many people file for benefits. There’s a maximum amount of benefits per family, and that’s based on the deceased’s work record as well. So I know all of this is confusing, and it’s safe to say that what you don’t know about Social Security could cost you benefits that you’re entitled to. That’s why it’s a good idea to make an appointment at your local Social Security office and go in with a list of questions. The folks there are generally pretty helpful. You can also get more information online at SSA. gov. On today’s program, Rob also answers listener questions: ● Are NFCs biblically sound? ● How can a church finance a small portion of the costs for a new building? ● When should you start drawing Social Security benefits? ● How can you manage a 401k received in a settlement? RESOURCES MENTIONED: ● Everence ● AGFinancial ● Thrivent ● ECCU

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