Frequently Asked Questions About Social Security Retirement Benefits – Part II

first_imgFacebook4Tweet0Pin0 Submitted by Nancy J. LaPointe, MBA, CFP®, ChFC®, CLU®, CASL® for Navigate FinancialNancy J. LaPointe, MBA, CFP®, ChFC®, CLU®, CASL®The following information addresses common concerns about collecting social security retirement benefits, including the effects of part-time work and other earnings on benefits, the age at which you may begin collecting, and spousal benefits.Q: Can a retiree choose which benefit to receive—his or her own benefit or his or her spouse’s?A: If your spouse has already applied for retirement benefits, you cannot apply for a reduced spousal benefit at age 62 and then step up to an increased benefit based on your own record at FRA. There are two limited exceptions, however. If you haven’t received any benefits before reaching your FRA, you can then apply for spousal benefits and delay applying for benefits under your own record up to age 70. This will allow you to take advantage of the delayed retirement credit, which increases your benefit by a certain percentage if you delay your retirement beyond your FRA.Another exception applies if you claim benefits before your spouse does. In that case, you can start to receive benefits based on your work and elect to add a spousal benefit when eligible. Remember that your combined benefit will be reduced based on your age at application.Here’s an example:Jane qualifies for her own benefit at age 62, when her PIA is $800. Because she is 48 months under her FRA, her benefit is reduced to $640.Two years later, when her husband, Jack, retires, Jane qualifies for a spousal benefit of $900 at her FRA, based on Jack’s PIA of $1,800. She has the option to wait to apply for a spousal benefit at her FRA, but she decides to apply for her increased benefit at age 64. The SSA will first subtract her PIA from one-half of Jack’s PIA ($900 − $800). It will then reduce her spousal benefit of $100 to $91 based on her current age of 64. Her new combined benefit is $731 ($640 + $91).Q: How can a couple maximize their social security benefits?A: If current cash flow is not an issue, the spouse with the lower earning history could apply for benefits as early as possible while the higher-earning spouse would delay benefits as long as possible. Let’s say Sally and Jim are age 62 and 65, respectively. Sally retires at 62 and applies for reduced social security benefits. Her husband, Jim, also retires but does not apply for benefits. At his FRA of 66, Jim applies for spousal benefits based on Sally’s work record. At this time, he would qualify for 50 percent of Sally’s PIA. He will continue to accrue delayed retirement credits of his own—equivalent to an 8-percent increase per year—until age 70. At age 70, Jim will need to apply for social security under his own work record.Q: How does a divorce affect benefits?A: A divorced spouse can get benefits based on a former husband’s or wife’s social security record, provided the marriage lasted for at least 10 years and the divorced spouse is 62 years old or older and unmarried. You do not have to wait until your former spouse retires to receive benefits, and you can receive benefits even if your former spouse remarries.Q: What happens when my spouse, or divorced spouse, dies?A: You can receive widow or widower benefits at age 60 (age 50, if disabled). You will get a survivor’s benefit equal to 100 percent of your spouse’s benefits. You will not receive both your spouse’s and your own benefit, however. The amount you receive will depend on your age at application for widow(er) benefits and whether your deceased spouse was receiving reduced benefits.Please note: A widow or widower has the option of taking a survivor benefit now and then switching to an unreduced benefit based on his or her own work record anytime after FRA, or vice versa.Q: What happens if I remarry?A: If you are a widow(er) or divorced widow(er) and you remarry before age 60 (age 50, if disabled), you are not eligible for your deceased spouse’s benefits. You can apply for spousal benefits under your new spouse, however. If you remarry after age 60 (age 50, if disabled), you can choose between your deceased spouse’s survivor benefit or your new spouse’s spousal benefit. Q: What does windfall elimination provision mean?A: This term relates to a job, such as a public school teacher or government worker, where no contributions were made to social security because a public pension was available. If you also worked at jobs covered by social security, your social security retirement benefits may be reduced by an amount equal to 50 percent of your public pension.Please note: This provision will not reduce your survivor’s social security benefits.Q: What does government pension offset mean? A: This term relates to a job during which one spouse did not contribute to social security—usually because he or she was employed in a federal, state, or local government job. If you receive a public pension, you may also be eligible to receive spousal or widow(er) benefits from your spouse who worked in private industry. Your spousal or survivor benefits may be reduced by an amount equal to two-thirds of your public pension.Q: How reliable is the estimate on my social security statement? A: The social security statement assumes you will continue to work at the same level of earnings until retirement. If you stop working but decide to delay benefits, your benefits may be less. Use the Retirement Estimator on the SSA website to see how not working could affect your monthly benefit.This material has been provided for general informational purposes only and does not constitute either tax or legal advice. Although we go to great lengths to make sure our information is accurate and useful, we recommend you consult a tax preparer, professional tax advisor, or lawyer.IRS CIRCULAR 230 DISCLOSURE:To ensure compliance with requirements imposed by the IRS, we inform you that any U.S. tax advice contained in this communication (including any attachments) is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of (i) avoiding penalties under the Internal Revenue Code or (ii) promoting, marketing, or recommending to another party any transaction or matter addressed herein.Nancy J. LaPointe is a financial advisor located at 4520 Intelco Loop Ste 1 D Lacey, WA 98503.   She offers securities and advisory services as an Investment Adviser Representative of Commonwealth Financial Network®, Member FINRA/SIPC, a Registered Investment Adviser. She can be reached at 360-628-8175 or at Nancy@navigatefinancialnw.com© 2014 Commonwealth Financial Network®last_img read more

Gas Hard to Find, Some Drivers Angry

first_imgBy Brian DeakyneSeveral things have improved since Monday when Hurricane Sandy left her vicious mark in the Two River area, but one thing definitely hasn’t gotten better.As of Friday afternoon, lines at gasoline stations were still miles long, leaving some residents distraught after sitting for hours and still far to go.“I went to get gas at the Wawa in Leonardo and was waiting for four hours,” said John Sykes of Atlantic Highlands. “I was waiting in my car, and they told me the car wait was longer, so I got out of my car and stood there” with gas cans.Some residents have suggested getting gas at odd hours, such as in the middle of the night, hoping that the lines might be less crowded and the wait would be shorter.While many residents were angry about the wait, Sykes noted that some people had joined together during the hour-long wait.“Surprisingly, people were in good spirits. They had State Troopers controlling the area, so it was pretty crazy,” he said.Many gasoline stations were closed down on Friday. Some never opened after the hurricane, others ran out of gas after begin able to open shortly after roads were re-opened Wednesday and Thursday.“I got pretty lucky, actually,” said Mary Chamerblin of Little Silver. “I had to get gas on (Thursday and Friday) and I never waited longer than an hour for either one.”Like practically everyone else on the line, Chamberlin had to get gas for two different things, her car and a generator. Also like others, she said her car was running on fumes by the time she reached the pump. She got gas at the BP gasoline station in West Long Branch and the Wawa in Tinton Falls.One of the few open stations Friday afternoon was the Shell Gas Station on Shrewsbury Avenue. At one point the line stretched from the station at the corner of Newman Springs Road all the way to the Red Bank railroad station. That forced police officers to divert other traffic to side streets and direct those trying to get into the gas line.Some residents, who did not want to give their names, were angry that so few gasoline stations were open four days after the hurricane. They were also unhappy that some stations ran out of gas even through they sat in line for hours.Throughout Red Bank and sections of Middletown, traffic was snarled as many people searched for gas that will be hard to come until power is restored.The Exxon station on Shrewsbury Avenue, across the street from Shell station, was closed Friday, along with the Exxon station and BP station at the corner of Swimming River and Newman Springs roads in Middletown.“I’m surprised a lot more gas stations don’t have generators to get going,” Sykes said. “They could be making bank.”last_img read more

Closure of Bray Avenue in Port Monmouth

first_imgMIDDLETOWN – The bridge on Bray Avenue over Pews Creek in the Port Monmouth section of Middletown has been closed in the interest of public safety.While only the bridge is closed, traffic between Main Street and Thompson Avenue is being detoured. Bray Avenue will be open to local traffic only. The bridge is closed to vehicle traffic until further notice. Pedestrian access will continue. Detour signs have been posted.Prior to the closure, Monmouth County had been in the process of preparing plans and specification for the replacement of the 60-year old bridge.“The bridge sustained additional damage as a result of Super Storm Sandy and the county is concerned about the safety and continued use of the bridge,” Freeholder Director Thomas A. Arnone said. “County engineers, in agreement with the county’s outside bridge inspection professionals, have recommended that the bridge should be closed to vehicular traffic so that a more detailed inspection could be made about the future of the bridge.”County engineer Joseph Ettore said, “Recent inspections revealed a defect in the substructure of the timber bridge. Preliminary inspections indicated that the additional damage to this structure was sustained when the bridge was overtopped by the tidal surge from Super Storm Sandy.”The bridge had a posted 5-ton weight limit.“The county understands the inconvenience that this closure will have on the motoring public in the area,” Arnone said. “Our concern is for the safety of the travelling public and the county will work to determine the best course of action for this structure.”The bridge inspection was completed by Greenman Peterson Inc. of Lebanon.last_img read more

Hubbard’s Bridge Open for Traffic

first_imgRED BANK – Hubbard’s Bridge connecting the borough to Middletown is once again available for traffic.The recently constructed bridge was reopened to vehicles and pedestrians at about 7 a.m. on Wednesday, said Laura Kirkpatrick, the director of the county’s office of Public Information and Tourism.The bridge had been closed for the last two weeks for additional work on the intersections on both sides of the structure and for utility work, Kirkpatrick said.More work will continue on the bridge until early 2016 for more utility work but will require only partial shutdowns, with traffic allowed to use portions of it, according to Kirkpatrick.The $12.9 million construction project, resulting in the new bridge spanning the Swimming River was largely completed in late May and opened to traffic on time and largely on schedule in time for the Memorial Day weekend.The new structure was built to replace the 94-year-old aging bridge that had badly deteriorated.By John Burtonlast_img read more

Coletti, Hoodikoff, Courson top Zone Men’s Qualifying tournament

first_imgJosh Coletti of Granite Pointe, Jordan Hoodikoff of Christina Lake and Don Courson, golfing out of the Castlegar course, grabbed the top prizes at the Zone One West Kootenay Men’s Qualifying Tournament Sunday in Christina Lake.Coletti and Hoodikoff each fired 8-over-par 152 to claim the top two spots on the Zone One West Kootenay Men’s Amateur team.Meanwhile, Courson edged out Ian Turner in the Senior Men’s qualifying tournament.Courson shot 163 in the 36-hole tournament that started Saturday at the Granite Pointe at Nelson course. Five players qualified for the Zone One West Kootenay Men’s team.Joining Coletti and Hoodikoff are Tanner Kopan Christina Lake, A. J. Cooper of Granite Pointe and Scott Podovelnikoff of Castlegar.Kopan and Cooper tied at 155 while Podovelnikoff was six shots off the leaders at 158.The B.C. Men’s Amateur is July 24-27 at the Swan-e-set Bay Resort in Pitt Meadows.On the Senior Men’s side of the tournament, Leif Petersen of Christina Lake, Turner of Christina Lake and Salmo’s Rick Thomas join Courson.The B.C. Senior Men’s Championship is July 16 – 18 at the Nanaimo Golf Club on Vancouver Island.last_img read more