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Social security
Old 10-03-2015, 06:30 PM
 
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Just wondering how many teachers who pay into a state retirement system know that they cannot claim a widow's benefit when their husband passes away. This has happened to me. My husband paid thousands and thousands of dollars into social security and now that he has passed away I have no claim to it because I have a state pension; I never paid into social security. All his hard earned money goes back into "the system" where I will barely get by on my small retirement pension. Had I known years ago about this I would have made provisions for my future. It just seems so unfair. I want to warn others to look into this and not be caught off guard as I was.


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Old 10-03-2015, 06:36 PM
 
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I do know this and it makes my DH so angry. If I weren't a teacher, I'd be entitled to his SS (assuming, of course, that he goes first).

Even worse, I can't get any of the SS I paid into the system when I worked in a private school.

Very unfair!
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Is there
Old 10-03-2015, 06:38 PM
 
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anything we can do to maximize benefits? I'm open to any suggestions! Thank you for bringing this up during such a difficult time for you. It is not something that a lot of us want to think about but is so important.

Last edited by Daisy1122; 10-04-2015 at 09:35 AM..
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Old 10-03-2015, 06:58 PM
 
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I'm confused about how you have a state pension but have not paid into SS?
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Old 10-03-2015, 07:01 PM
 
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Teachers in many states pay into both SS and their state's retirement system so they are entitled to a survivor benefit if a spouse dies.

In my opinion, there is a valid reason for the law that limits survivor benefits to working spouses who never paid or paid minimally into the Social Security system. This subject comes up fairly regularly on the retired teachers board. I'm just copying my response from a similar question.


Many of you misunderstand about spousal survivor benefits under SS. In my case, both my spouse and I have contributed throughout our working career to SS. Assume my SS is $1500 and his is $1800. If I die before him he only continues to get his check, because it is higher. If he dies before me, I continue to get my $1500 check plus the difference between his and mine which is $300 (that's the spousal survivor benefit) for a total of $1800. That was the larger check for either of us. Under NO CIRCUMSTANCES does a surviving spouse receive both checks.

If you did not pay into SS, you can only receive a portion or perhaps even none of your spouse's check if you were a survivor. (The formula is messy, I know.) You did not pay into the SS system for a long period of time. You had that additional income over your entire career to invest as you saw fit. To give you your spouse's total SS check, in addition to the individual investment account you could have created from the money that wasn't taken out for SS, gives you an unfair advantage over two income SS spouses. So the government created WEP.

A full survivor benefit check only goes to a surviving spouse who was completely financially dependent on a spouse for the duration of the marriage. For example, a stay at home wife in a 40 year marriage. Please notice, that spouse is only getting one check since she never worked and contributed to SS. Retired teachers were never completely financially dependent on their spouses.


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Old 10-03-2015, 07:05 PM
 
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I did not expect his total social security check, just the half that a widow would receive. He just recently passed away at the age of 63 and only received his benefits for not even a year. He chose to claim social security early because of his cancer diagnosis. It just upsets me that he paid thousands and thousands into the system, not to mention Medicare which he could not use because of his age.
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Old 10-03-2015, 07:19 PM
 
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A widow doesn't get half. In the example I gave you, my survivor benefit would have been $300, the difference between my check and his. And I have paid into Social Security my entire life. You had additional money available to invest your whole working career because no money was taken our for SS. For the government to give you all or even half of what his benefit might be would be giving you all the benefits of a system that frankly you didn't invest in or invested in minimally. That's the reason for the WEP.

I am very sorry about your husband and also sorry you didn't understand about this when you were hired by a system that doesn't contribute to Social Security.

No one gets back exactly what they put into the SS system. It's not set up for that. Many people draw much, much more over a long lifetime than they ever put in and some (like my sister) die just a few months into retirement and get almost none of what they contributed.

The only way a surviving spouse can get the entire amount of a SS check that was earned by the husband/wife is for them to have been 100% financially dependent on the spouse for the entire marriage. If you had done that, you might have his SS but you would not have your teacher pension or the benefit of any of the money you earned in your lifetime.
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Old 10-03-2015, 07:23 PM
 
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Even if you had social security taken out of your check you would be only getting one one check.
You only get the one that is higher -- yours or his.

As to Medicare, you should check to see if you are able to get Medicare based on his record.

Last edited by marguerite2; 10-03-2015 at 07:32 PM.. Reason: Corrected
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Not only that
Old 10-03-2015, 07:36 PM
 
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but, if you worked summers and after school in retail any Social Securify will be offset by your pension. Married 30 years and I get nothing of my husband's Social Security. Caveat - if you pay into Social Security for 30 years you will get your full Social Security. Think about people who worked and paid into Social Security and then became teachers. We have a teacher who paid into So ial Security for 20'years then became a teacher at 45 and found out her pension would offset her SS. She was devastated.
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Old 10-03-2015, 07:37 PM
 
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I did pay into Medicare so when I reach age 65 that won't be a problem.


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Old 10-03-2015, 07:41 PM
 
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Check and make sure. You may get a reduced amount. Your teacher's pension will offset and decrease your So ial Security benefit. One teacher had his benefit reduced from $800 to $300. This was back in the 90's
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I posted
Old 10-03-2015, 11:07 PM
 
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a couple times links to petitions...

It pisses me off and I'm not married and I wouldn't qualify for SS!
I've known for 15+ years and every time that petition comes around I post it on FB and PT. Mostly for others and my sister.

I think it's the stupidest thing in the world. You should get all the money you paid/your husband paid! Everyone else does.

I don't know how to search but it hasn't been too long.
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it depends...
Old 10-04-2015, 03:37 AM
 
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To the OP, how kind of you to post a warning even as you grieve the loss of your husband.

SS laws vary depend on the state you live in. Teachers focus so much on helping others that they never seem to plan ahead for themselves. Make an appointment with a financial advisor, take a class on retirement planning at a community college, and/or read books by Dave Ramsey, Suze Orman or other experts. If you move to another state check with a financial advisor in your new state...heck, do it before you move to be sure you won't lose any of the benefits you built up in your current state. No matter what your age is, if you are still working set up a Roth IRA account, choose to have an amount drafted directly from your checking account. PAY YOURSELF FIRST! If you are lucky enough to get a raise be sure to apply a portion to increase your Roth IRA payment to yourself. I am assuming that a Roth is available no matter what state you live in even if you are a teacher but check that out before you set one up.

If not for ProTeacher I never would have known about the SS rules differ by state. This truly is an amazing site with amazing posters. Cubbies, how unselfish and kind to think of others at this time.
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Old 10-04-2015, 06:17 AM
 
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Quote:
SS laws vary depend on the state you live in
In the 1930s when SS was enacted government and municipal workers were excluded.
Then in the 1950s municipalities were given the choice of having their employees join SS or not. In some states all joined, in some stares none joined, and in others some did and some did not.
So if you do not pay into social security it is a choice that was made by your local officials.

Even though SS is commonly thought of as a "pension". It is not a pension. It is a public benefit, a safety net.
It is not a savings account and not like a 401k or a 403b where the money is yours. It is a bottom loaded system where the lower wage earners collect a greater proportion of their earnings than the higher earners.

It is the bottom loading that is the reason for the offset. You cannot collect more SS than the total your government non SS pension and your actual SS would yield if all were SS earnings.
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Ssi
Old 10-04-2015, 06:28 AM
 
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Yep, frosts my cookies.

Amiga, in California you do get some of your SS, if you worked your full 40 credits. I think it is only 1/3 of what you paid into it. Thank you Governor Ronald Reagan😤.
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Old 10-04-2015, 06:43 AM
 
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I will get nabbed on this as well. I paid into SS ages 15-24, into both SS and the state pension system ages 24-41, and just into the state pension system when we moved to Texas for ages 42-61. It's a rip off. If you paid into the system I think you deserve the benefit. Most public servants aren't rich to begin with and their pensions aren't huge.

Here's a good explanation of this:
http://socialsecuritysmart.com/under...ion-provision/

Another:
http://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10045.pdf
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You are correct...
Old 10-04-2015, 06:55 AM
 
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I understand your frustration.
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Old 10-04-2015, 08:24 AM
 
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Yes, in my state it is known as the "windfall" rule. I won't get SS and my DH will only get a fraction of his benefits because he is married to me.
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(((cubbies)))
Old 10-04-2015, 09:14 AM
 
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I'm so sorry for your loss, and I agree that it's heartbreaking that you'll receive none of the money your husband paid into Social Security. This happened to several of my friends, and most of them have said they never would have become teachers if they'd known how reduced their retirement income would be because of it. It just seems wrong to me.
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Old 10-04-2015, 10:06 AM
 
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Sorry for your loss. I agree, unfair. It is WEP for me. I just would like my own SS!!Plus, I found out, the age for years/substantial earnings stops at 62. I have 25 or 26 full years into SS, but will lose a lot of my $800 pension from another state because of WEP. So, I thought I'll work until 66 so I'll only lose a year or so. (add another 4 or so to SS)NOT! I will keep working, but years paid into SS are only until 62 for me. So, even if I get 29 or 30, it doesn't count toward WEP. I have worked over 40 total years, but several were a few hundred dollars short of "substantial earnings".That really seems unjust. Especially when so many people paid nothing in..........Rant over-I have posted this before!!!
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Old 10-04-2015, 10:34 AM
 
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I'm so sorry Cubbies for the loss of your husband
When I worked in Florida which is a social security state I just assumed that all the states were the same. Big surprise when I worked in Colorado and found out it is not. Thank God I had worked in Florida long enough in other industries besides education and had enough credits to get social security. I don't understand why you wouldn't be entitled if your husband received social security. My mom worked very little but she and my dad received social security. Have the laws changed since then??S
Sending you hugs and prayers
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I am sorry about the loss of
Old 10-04-2015, 11:08 AM
 
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your husband. SS is a rip off because I paid into it many yrs by working during the summers. I'll never see any of that $$ either. Around here and IDK why no1 even mentioned this....Kids who are emotionally disturbed get SS checks. They have never worked and often their parents play a role in how the kid ended up ED. It makes no sense to me as I kind of saw it as a retirement help for pple. It is wrong for sure.
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Old 10-04-2015, 01:19 PM
 
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This is so unfair
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Look for an elder care lawyer.
Old 10-04-2015, 01:50 PM
 
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They're well versed in SS laws and can explain your options. It's worth a try. Good luck.
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Old 10-04-2015, 02:36 PM
 
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Cubbies..I am so sorry for your loss

Thank you though for bringing this topic up,,,,i became much more educated tonight!
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Old 10-04-2015, 03:06 PM
 
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I'm going to have to figure out our stuff - I've paid into SS for a long time, but my husband has worked for the state his whole career (so he's the one with the state pension). I do have money in the teacher retirement system, so someone is going to get screwed in the end I'm sure.
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Old 10-04-2015, 03:52 PM
 
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Just really wish I had known about this years ago. Hope some teachers are educated now concerning their futures. I would have certainly made some changes concerning finances. Never did I think I would ever be in this position. So bottom line teachers, is when given the opportunity to invest in a separate retirement account like a 401k, do it! I'm thankful my husband did and that is what will have to see me through. If only I would have also, it would make things a lot easier now.
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Old 10-05-2015, 03:45 PM
 
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Cubbies, I'm so sorry for the loss of your husband....It's so kind of you to bring up this topic here--so that others can investigate and plan for their future....If anyone is interested--I love the "Jill on Money" podcast/website. In particular, episode 238 deals with social security questions, with Mary Beth Franklin, who is a social security expert. The last 20 minutes or so deals with the Windfall Elimination Provision and the Government Pension Offset....Personally, I live in MO--conservative but strong pension system. I won't get any SS (nor did I pay into it), but I will get Medicare, since MO teachers do pay into that. MO teachers have 14.5% of their paycheck taken for retirement--so we've definitely paid into the system (just not the SS system). Luckily, my dh is also a teacher.--Hmm, never thought I'd say that since neither of us had/have big paychecks! But anyway, since we knew neither of us would have SS/SS spousal benefits, we're choosing to each take a slightly smaller monthly pension benefit--which will allow for a reasonable pension spousal benefit after one of us passes....Please everyone, be aware of your particular situation.
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Old 10-05-2015, 04:40 PM
 
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Thank you so much for wanting to educate others, and my sympathy on the loss of your DH. I've always known that as a teacher I would be entitled to my retirement only, and would receive nothing from my DH's SS should he precede me in death. To me it makes sense. I get back more than what I paid in on my retirement, so I'm already ahead of the game.
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Old 10-05-2015, 05:22 PM
 
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age 65 who have not paid enough into SS will end up paying $450.00 a month each instead of $105. O0 each had one of them paid into SS. I get my H SS benefit for Medicare but not any SS benefits. So I dont have to pay &450.00. Instead I pay &105.00. I can claim that from his SS for Medicare.
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