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Federal Employees Benefits Q &A

Do you have questions about your federal employee CSRS or FERS pension/annuity or federal employee retirement planning? Concerns about your Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) account or what about federal employee pay and leave issues?

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The Q&A forum is moderated by Ed Zurndorfer -- an expert on federal employee benefits -- and a Certified Financial Planner, chartered life underwriter and chartered financial consultant in Maryland.

Zurndorfer is also the author of several federal employee benefits guides published by Federal Employees News Digest.

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#1 Posted : Tuesday, April 12, 2011 10:44:13 PM(UTC)

Rank: Rookie

Groups: Registered
Joined: 4/12/2011(UTC)
Posts: 28

During the 11-12 Apr 11 FERS retirement seminar, you explained the general strategy for taking spousal social security benefits for the cases where:


     1. Both spouses are approximately the same age and

     2. Your spouse is younger than you    


My non-Federal employee retired spouse (age 64) is two years older than I (age 62).  She is now retired, i.e. not working or collecting her 401(K) pension which she invested 60% in stocks; 40% in a 5 year NYL annuity (with survivor benefit) at 5.25% APY that ends in Nov 11. The ption to continue at the current market rate is unlikely to be accepted by her. 


Currently, she plans to wait until full retirement age to take Social Security benefits.  I am still working and also currently plan to wait until FRA (age 66) to take my Social security benefits. I will be age 63 plus if I retire as planned.


Her estimated benefits: Age 62 = $1112; Age 66 = $1308 

My estimated benefits: Age 62 = $1613; Age 66 = $2263


 Question 1: What general strategy do you recommend for taking social security benefits where your non-Federal employee spouse is older than you?


Question 2: What strategy do you recommend for taking social security benefits for my older spouse situation? 


This is the last of the questions I noted from the seminar for follow-on Federal Soup submission to you. 




Ed Zurndorfer  
#2 Posted : Wednesday, April 13, 2011 8:28:54 PM(UTC)
Ed Zurndorfer

Rank: Senior Member

Groups: Registered
Joined: 9/10/2001(UTC)
Posts: 4,414

Assuming that the two of you do not need to start receiving your Social Security retirement benefits until the two of you each reach at least full retirement age (FRA) (age 66), your wife (the older spouse) should delay the start of her Social Security benefit past FRA. On the other hand, you (the younger spouse) should elect to start drawing your Social Security at FRA. At that time (when your wife will be age 68), your wife should elect to draw on half of your Social Security benefit. After one payment, you will then "renounce" your election to draw your Social Security benefit. However, your wife can continue to draw on half of your Social Security benefit and she will continue to do so for two years when becomes age 70. At that time, she will elect to draw on her own Social Security benefit (which, because of delayed retirement credits of 8 percent per year past FRA, will be 32 percent higher) and you (at age 68) will draw on your own Social Security benefit which will be 16 percent higher.      
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