Bob and Jane recently came to the office to do some estate planning. In reviewing their intake form, I noted that Bob was making $1,800 per month in Social Security Retirement benefits. Jane, however, spent most of her prime working years raising their children. As a result, she was only receiving Social Security benefits of $650 per month.
The numbers immediately seemed odd, and I suspected that the family or the Social Security Administration had made a mistake. Jane had failed to claim benefits based on Bob’s work history.
Bob was entitled to a relatively high Social Security Benefit. When Jane later filed for Social Security Benefits, she should have also applied for benefits based on Bob’s work history. The Social Security Administration would then have supplemented her benefit amount to equal half of Bob’s full amount. In other words, Jane was receiving $650 per month and should have been receiving $900 per month. She’d been leaving $250 per month on the table for several years!!!
This spousal benefit can be available even if you have no working years. You may also be able to apply for spousal benefits even if you and your spouse have divorced and the marriage lasted longer than 10 years.
Please don’t make the mistake of failing to apply for spousal benefits. To learn more about estate planning, come to one of our workshops this month!