The biggest Social Security change in 2018 is flying under the radar
Looks like it officially will be a 2% cost of living increase. That article is worth reading too, especially if you are close to retirement age, and/or if you have Medicare Premium B deducted from your monthly SS benefits, as there seem to be some important possible changes to your bottom line.
Is there any chance that other states will follow New York's example and offer absolutely free, four year college tuition?
If you weren't aware, New York just passed a program called the Excelsior Scholarship, that will be rolled out over the next 3 years, that makes tuition for a four year public college in the state completely free to anyone that is a resident and is a part of a family that makes less than $125,000/year.
One catch is that you have to remain a New York resident for a few years after graduation. I assume this is to stimulate the economy after you receive the value of the free education. Seems completely fair to me.
There are no caps on how many students can be eligible. That's another huge boon to this program. Really the only knock that some lawmakers have is that it's also incredibly expensive to pay for housing and books and whatnot. So there is still an outcry for the program to go further, especially for the lower income households, making it even less expensive all around.
That being said, c'mon.. free tuition. We already have some states offering completely free tuition for 2 year community colleges: Tennessee, Oregon, and Minnesota. And many more could follow suit.
I wonder if this will start a trend, and then eventually a landfall where every state could one day offer free four year degrees at every single public college in the nation? As important as education is, I think New York is setting an awesome precedent of priorities for their state, and I would love to see every other state follow suit.
The #1 burden young people have in this country going into the workforce is student loan debt. Can you imagine if the next generation coming up never had to worry about that? Our country would be inherently different, 100% for the better.
What are your thoughts on what NY is doing? Can it be done in your state? Or is this a luxury singular to NY's budget? I'm curious if anyone here disagrees that tuition from public universities should be free/state funded.
I definitely agree about everything being so confusing. To help with your situation, can you give us some more info? Like.. Did you work enough to draw social security in retirement? Are you working now?
With spousal benefits, you are able to get up to 50% of your spouse's benefits, from age 62 onward. But I don't think you can claim earlier than age 62. So the reason I ask about your work history is if you also worked and made close to what your husband earned, it might be a higher benefit for you to claim your own social security early instead.
Either way, claiming either your own social security or spousal will count as early retirement, and you will receive reduced monthly payments for claiming early vs waiting until full retirement age.
Just depends on your life situation. There are no wrong answers. If you could use the money now (or as soon as you turn 62) and don't mind taking the cut, claim early. But if you can wait, you will get much higher payouts if you wait until 65-67.
Here's a good article on exactly what you're asking. Hope this helps.
How the The Social Security Spouse Benefit Works
Correct. Actually, whenever you apply for benefits, the application should take care of this for you. You can use SSA's online calculator here, to see what benefits you would have based on your own earnings, if you like.
Found an exert from a Fox Business article on Tapping Your Ex for Social Security Benefits… and Making the Most of It. You should find this helpful. (FRA stands for full retirement age)
Make the Most of It
If you begin a divorced spouse benefit before your FRA, Social Security will first check to see if you would get a bigger check based upon your own work history. You will receive whichever benefit is higher, and you are locked into this.
However, waiting until you are full retirement age to begin Social Security could significantly increase your benefit. This is because if you are eligible for two types of Social Security benefits- say, one based upon your own earnings record and one based on your ex-spouse’s- once you reach FRA you can choose which type you want to receive.
So, I would recommend thinking about what age you actually want to retire, if you have any choice that is. Your monthly payouts will be considerably larger, the longer you wait, up until the age of 65-67, depending on your birth year and month.
And then when you file, do so as a divorced spouse, and the SSA dept will also check your work history, and pay you the higher amount.
Information You Need To Apply For Spouse's Or Divorced Spouse's Benefits - Form SSA-2
Thank you Bryce,
My late husband was on disability, as he had cancer, how will this affect things?
Good question. After some research on this, it doesn't seem that it would change anything, with one exception:
Are you disabled yourself? If you are, you can begin claiming benefits on your spouse as early as age 50. Here's an exert of note on that:
Spouse’s Survivors Benefit
If a spouse was married for at least a year to a disabled worker who died while receiving Social Security disability benefits, the surviving spouse can get benefits in either of these circumstances:
- The surviving spouse is 60 years old or older.
- The surviving spouse is disabled and between 50 and 60.
This benefit is sometimes called the widow or widower’s benefit. Note that the surviving spouse’s benefits will end if he or she remarries or becomes eligible to receive significantly higher Social Security benefits on his or her own record.
Otherwise, it seems that spousal benefits from Social Security would work out to the same monthly payout, regardless of if he was on disability prior.
Whenever you are ready, you can verify all this info by applying for benefits with this site:
Apply Online for Retirement/Medicare Benefits
Or call SSA directly, to make sure. That's your best bet. 1-800-772-1213. As you are close to being able to start taking early benefits, it would be best to chat with them about your options, and to get a really good understanding of how much you will be receiving monthly, so you can plan accordingly.
Sounds like roughly 3-5% cut to funding overall. I wonder where this money is being reallocated? Any ideas?
Ofmgr421 Wrote: Hi, My husband passed at the age of 50 (13yrs ago) and I was wondering how I can go about seeing if I have any current benefits coming at my age, which is 58, or when I can start getting his benefits.
You can start receiving reduced benefits as early as age 60, according to the Social Security website, as JFoster was also mentioning above.
Survivors Planner: If You Are The Worker's Widow Or Widower
It's similar to regular social security benefits: you can chose to take benefits early (age 60) and get a reduced monthly amount. Or you can wait until full retirement age (65-67 years old) and get the full amount of benefits. Full retirement age depends on when what year you were born:
Social Security Benefit Amounts For The Surviving Spouse By Year Of Birth
Hope this helps.
This should help a lot of families wanting to mitigate college expenses:
The American Opportunity Tax Credit
Like most tax credits, I would wager most aren't aware of this. But it can save you a lot of money on your taxes, to offset tuition costs. So it could be worth considering paying for tuition at least in part out of pocket. Here's an exert:
The most generous tax breaks for college costs are the American Opportunity Tax Credit and Lifetime Learning Credit, which offset your tax bill dollar-for-dollar compared to a tax deduction that merely reduces the amount of income subject to tax. You can't claim both credits for the same student in the same year, and income limits restrict who can claim them.
For 2016, you can claim the American Opportunity Tax Credit of up to $2,500 if your student is in his or her first four years of college and your income doesn't exceed $160,000 if you are married filing a joint return ($80,000 for single taxpayers).
Above these income levels, the credit is phased out. The credit is based on 100% of the first $2,000 of qualifying college expenses and 25% of the next $2,000, for a maximum possible credit of $2,500.
The American Opportunity Tax Credit can be claimed for as many eligible students as you have in your family.
For example, if you have three kids who are all in their first four years of college, you can potentially qualify for up to $7,500 of American Opportunity Tax Credits. Up to 40% of the American Opportunity Tax Credit amount is refundable. That means you can collect at least some of any credit amount that is left over after your federal income tax bill has been reduced to zero.
You should definitely contribute, if you can. Also, if you make below certain amounts annually, you can also deduct the 401k contributions from your taxes using what's called the Savers Credit.
You can get anywhere from $200-$1000 credit toward your tax bill if you end up owing. But not money back. It just reduces your bill. Still, extra incentive for using a 401k.
Here's more info on if you qualify and how much you can get off your taxes:
What Is The Savers Credit?
It's a bit ironic (is that the right use of the word here? I never know), anyways it's ironic that the govt agency in charge of gathering taxes to fund almost the entirety of the govt itself is hurting for resources and making budget cuts.