published Thursday, August 23rd, 2012

Social Security: Drawing on spousal benefits can pay off

Greg Holmes
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    Gregory Holmes, district manager for Social Security

Q Mr. L asks: "My wife and I turn 66 this year. We plan to work to 70. Am I able to draw spousal on her when she is 66 and can she simultaneously draw spousal on me when I turn 66?"

A If you are full retirement age, you can apply for retirement benefits and then request to have payments suspended. That way, your spouse can receive a spouse's benefit and you can continue to earn delayed retirement credits until age 70.

If your spouse has reached full retirement age and is eligible for a spouse's benefit and his or her own retirement benefit, he or she has a choice. Your spouse can choose to receive only the spouse's benefit when he or she applies online and delay receiving retirement benefits until a later date. If retirement benefits are delayed, a higher benefit may be received at a later date based on the effect of delayed retirement credits.

For more information you my visit our website at www.socialsecurity.gov.

Q My child, who gets Social Security, will be attending his last year of high school in the fall. He turns 19 in a few months. Do I need to fill out a form for his benefits to continue?

A Yes. You should receive a form, SSA-1372-BK, in the mail about three months before your son's birthday. Your son needs to complete the form and take it to his school's office for certification. Then, you need to return page two and the certified page three back to Social Security for processing. If you can't find the form we mailed to you, you can find it online at the following address: www.socialsecurity.gov/schoolofficials/ssa1372.pdf

Q Is there a time limit on collecting Social Security disability benefits?

A Your disability benefits will continue as long as your medical condition does not improve and you remain unable to work. We will review your case at regular intervals to make sure you are still disabled. If you are still receiving disability benefits when you reach full retirement age, we will automatically convert them to retirement benefits. Learn more by reading our publication, Disability Benefits, at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/10029.html

Submit questions to local Social Security Director Greg Holmes by writing to Business Editor Dave Flessner, Chattanooga Times Free Press, P.O. Box 1447, Chattanooga, TN 37401-1447, or by e-mailing him at dflessner@timesfreepress.com.

Comments do not represent the opinions of the Chattanooga Times Free Press, nor does it review every comment. Profanities, slurs and libelous remarks are prohibited. For more information you can view our Terms & Conditions and/or Ethics policy.
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