So at least that’s the message I usually deliver to these “grudge-nothing”. But it does not usually soften them. They have been telling themselves for years that they are being cheated for benefits and a simple statement from me telling them that they are being paid properly will not change their mind.
But at least sometimes I can explain to them some social security rule that they did not know and that can help them understand why I know they are being paid properly. The rest of this column will contain some examples of this.
Q: I’m 85 years old. My husband is 89. He has been receiving benefits since he was 65, and I have been receiving benefits since 62. For all these years, I have been told that a wife receives half of her husband’s social security benefits. But I do not come close to that. So I think I’ve been cheated for what’s rightfully mine for 23 years now. Can you help me fix this?
ONE: There is nothing to correct. A wife must pay a spousal rate of 50% if she waited until her full retirement age to claim benefits. But you said you took benefits at 62. And if you do, the spouse percentage is more like 30%. And I’ll bet that’s what you get.
Q: I’m 91 years old. I started my social security in 1993. At that time, they got about 50% off my social security check because they said I was a so-called “double-dipper”. I get a pension from the police department where I worked for 30 years. I just know it’s wrong and unfair. Can you get the 50% back for me?