Q & A

Is it possible for me to refile after going back to work to see if I can increase my Social Security benefit? Also, is it possible to claim spousal benefits on my ex-spouse’s record? I was six weeks away from being married for 10 years. And, I want to piggyback my Social Security with a pension from Canada. What are some ways to increase my benefits?

Answer: If you are already receiving Social Security benefits and you decide to return to work, there is no need to refile an existing claim to “potentially” receive a higher benefit amount, says Stephen Stellhorn, the author of Navigating the Maze of Social Security.

According to Stellhorn, Social Security calculates a beneficiary’s primary insurance amount (PIA) based on their highest 35 years of inflation-adjusted earnings. Even if you have 40 years of eligible earnings, Social Security will take the highest 35. “So, if by going back to work you expect your annual earned income to be higher than one of those existing years already being used, say maybe 30 years ago, Social Security will include your most recent earnings year, drop the lowest year’s earnings of the 35 and recalculate your PIA,” says Stellhorn. “If you continue working next year, the process will repeat again.” Read more…

Source: Robert Powell, via www.usatoday.com)

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