Welcome Guest! To enable all features please Login or Register.

Notification

Icon
Error

Federal Retirees


For those approaching retirement as well as the currently already retired, here is a forum to share ideas and thoughts and exchange questions and answers.


To read today's top news stories on federal employee pay, benefits, retirement, job rights and other workplace issues visit FederalDaily.com.

To maximize your retirement, we also suggest you read "Retired Federal Employees Almanac".


(Reminder: soliciting of services is not allowed on this site.)

Options
Go to last post Go to first unread
fcfed  
#1 Posted : Monday, December 7, 2020 3:50:46 PM(UTC)
fcfed

Rank: Newbie

Groups: Registered
Joined: 9/16/2015(UTC)
Posts: 5
United States

I am asking this question for my friend's wife. I am CSRS so I am not versed in specifics of how FERS employees' Social Security/FERS pension ratios work when they retire early. My friend retired early at age 55 or 57 but passed away this year at age 61 before the retirement age of 62. His widow is still working so not claiming Social Security yet. She is getting mixed messages from SSA about whether she should or even can take his social security spousal benefit. I was wondering if someone could provide guidance on how spousal beneficiary social security/FERS pension works when the FERS retiree has not reached age 62 at time of death.

Thanks in advance.
upandup  
#2 Posted : Tuesday, December 8, 2020 9:16:44 PM(UTC)

Rank: Senior Member

Groups: Registered
Joined: 9/25/2010(UTC)
Posts: 810

Was thanked: 17 time(s) in 16 post(s)
FERS should have no impact on social security as full social security taxes are paid on FERS-covered earnings.
TheRealOrange  
#3 Posted : Wednesday, December 9, 2020 5:10:53 AM(UTC)
TheRealOrange

Rank: Senior Member

Groups: Registered
Joined: 5/22/2011(UTC)
Posts: 954

Thanks: 1 times
Was thanked: 182 time(s) in 160 post(s)
Originally Posted by: fcfed Go to Quoted Post
I am asking this question for my friend's wife. I am CSRS so I am not versed in specifics of how FERS employees' Social Security/FERS pension ratios work when they retire early. My friend retired early at age 55 or 57 but passed away this year at age 61 before the retirement age of 62. His widow is still working so not claiming Social Security yet. She is getting mixed messages from SSA about whether she should or even can take his social security spousal benefit. I was wondering if someone could provide guidance on how spousal beneficiary social security/FERS pension works when the FERS retiree has not reached age 62 at time of death.

Thanks in advance.

How old is your friend's widow? According to the SSA website, a widow of a person who worked long enough under Social Security is able to receive full benefits at full retirement age for survivors (generally 66 or 67) or reduced benefits as early as age 60. Also, if she qualifies for retirement benefits on her own record, she can switch to her own retirement benefit as early as age 62. That is, a person who receives widow's benefits, and will qualify for a retirement benefit that's more than their survivors benefit, can switch to their own retirement benefit as early as age 62 or as late as age 70. The rules are complicated and vary depending on the exact situation. If she remarries after she reaches age 60, her remarriage will not affect her eligibility for survivors benefits. As already mentioned, your friend's entitlement to a FERS annuity, and his widow's receipt of a FERS survivor's annuity, should have no affect on the right to Social Security retirement benefits. The SSA representatives really should know all this stuff, so hopefully she can clear up the mixed messages.
GoHuskers  
#4 Posted : Wednesday, December 9, 2020 10:45:12 AM(UTC)

Rank: Senior Member

Groups: Registered
Joined: 1/13/2011(UTC)
Posts: 696

Was thanked: 134 time(s) in 108 post(s)
The only thing I would add to the excellent response from TheRealOrange is that if the widow is already age 60 and still working any widow's benefits potentially payable would be subject to the annual earnings test until she reaches full retirement age. For 2021 the limit is $18,960, and for every 2 dollars earned over that she would lose $1 of her widow's benefit for the year. So, it might not be advantageous to file for those benefits at this time (would depend on the amount of the widow's benefit and the amount of her earnings).
fcfed  
#5 Posted : Wednesday, December 9, 2020 3:24:03 PM(UTC)
fcfed

Rank: Newbie

Groups: Registered
Joined: 9/16/2015(UTC)
Posts: 5
United States

Thank you all who replied. I really appreciate the time you all took to provide feedback! My friend's wife is over 65 and still working so I think that contributed to the confusion she was experiencing. Sounds like the best option, if she can survive on her own salary, would be for her to wait for both her own and her husband's full Social Security benefit until she is retires or reaches age 70. One other quick question, if you don't mind. Does the fact that my friend took early FERS retirement and didn't live to age 62 affect the initial FERS survivor benefit she will receive (he chose the 55% survivor option)? Will it be the reduced amount he was getting until he would have turned 62 or the full amount due at 62? Thanks again.
TheRealOrange  
#6 Posted : Wednesday, December 9, 2020 5:14:36 PM(UTC)
TheRealOrange

Rank: Senior Member

Groups: Registered
Joined: 5/22/2011(UTC)
Posts: 954

Thanks: 1 times
Was thanked: 182 time(s) in 160 post(s)
Originally Posted by: fcfed Go to Quoted Post
Thank you all who replied. I really appreciate the time you all took to provide feedback! My friend's wife is over 65 and still working so I think that contributed to the confusion she was experiencing. Sounds like the best option, if she can survive on her own salary, would be for her to wait for both her own and her husband's full Social Security benefit until she is retires or reaches age 70. One other quick question, if you don't mind. Does the fact that my friend took early FERS retirement and didn't live to age 62 affect the initial FERS survivor benefit she will receive (he chose the 55% survivor option)? Will it be the reduced amount he was getting until he would have turned 62 or the full amount due at 62? Thanks again.

If he was already retired at the time he died, she should already be receiving 50 percent of his unreduced annuity amount as a survivor benefit if he elected the full survivor annuity option. I don't think FERS has a 55 percent option. If he did elect the full option, then his retirement annuity was reduced by 10 percent, but the survivor annuity is of the unreduced annuity. So, if his annuity was $30,000, it would have been reduced by $3,000, for a net of $27,000. But, his wife would receive 50 percent of the unreduced annuity of $30,000, so she would get $15,000. I don't think that amount should change except for any applicable COLA adjustments. I am a little confused by this question: "Will it be the reduced amount he was getting until he would have turned 62 or the full amount due at 62?" Except for a disability retirement, I am not aware of any FERS retirement annuities that change/increase at age 62. If he took an early retirement and immediate annuity at his Minimum Retirement Age with less than 30 years of service, then his annuity was reduced by 5 percent for every year his age was under age 62. That is known as an MRA+10 retirement, and the reduction is permanent. It does not go away at age 62.
fcfed  
#7 Posted : Thursday, December 10, 2020 4:32:52 PM(UTC)
fcfed

Rank: Newbie

Groups: Registered
Joined: 9/16/2015(UTC)
Posts: 5
United States

Thank you, theRealOrange. I didn't realize her 50% survivor benefit was applied to the full annuity option. That's great. I must have misunderstood what he used to tell me about his early retirement reduction. I thought he told me he was getting less FERS (must be the 5 percent per year under 62 you mention), but that he was getting a temporary bump from Social Security to help fill against this reduction until he turned 62. At any rate, both your answers and GoHuskers reply have been very helpful. Thank you!
TheRealOrange  
#8 Posted : Thursday, December 10, 2020 5:10:53 PM(UTC)
TheRealOrange

Rank: Senior Member

Groups: Registered
Joined: 5/22/2011(UTC)
Posts: 954

Thanks: 1 times
Was thanked: 182 time(s) in 160 post(s)
Originally Posted by: fcfed Go to Quoted Post
Thank you, theRealOrange. I didn't realize her 50% survivor benefit was applied to the full annuity option. That's great. I must have misunderstood what he used to tell me about his early retirement reduction. I thought he told me he was getting less FERS (must be the 5 percent per year under 62 you mention), but that he was getting a temporary bump from Social Security to help fill against this reduction until he turned 62. At any rate, both your answers and GoHuskers reply have been very helpful. Thank you!

If he retired at his MRA with at least 30 years of service, then his annuity would not have been reduced, but obviously it would be lower than had he waited until age 62 when he would have had more years of service and the multiplier goes up from 1% to 1.1%. Maybe that's what he was referring too as being a reduced annuity. If that was the case, then he would have qualified for the FERS annuity supplement to make up for a portion of the lack of Social Security benefits until age 62. The FERS annuity supplement goes away at age 62 when a retiree is eligible for Social Security, regardless of whether Social Security benefits are actually taken at that age. A lot of people refer to that as a "Social Security supplement," but it is administered and paid entirely by OPM and has nothing to do with the receipt of Social Security benefits.
Rss Feed  Atom Feed
Users browsing this topic
Guest
Forum Jump  
You cannot post new topics in this forum.
You cannot reply to topics in this forum.
You cannot delete your posts in this forum.
You cannot edit your posts in this forum.
You cannot create polls in this forum.
You cannot vote in polls in this forum.


This page was generated in 0.381 seconds.