TN 24 (09-02)

RS 00615.005 Reduced Benefits

A. BACKGROUND

1. 1956 Amendments Effective 11/56

  • Provided for the payment of reduced retirement, reduced spouse's and unreduced widow's benefits to women at age 62.

  • Set the widow's unreduced benefit amount at 75% of the deceased worker's PIA.

2. 1961 Amendments Effective 8/61

  • Provided for the payment of reduced retirement, reduced spouse's and unreduced widower's benefits to men at age 62.

  • Raised the unreduced benefit amount for widow(er)s to 82 1/2% at age 62. This benefit was not subject to reduction for age.

3. 1965 Amendments Effective 9/65

  • Provided for reduced widow's benefits beginning at age 60. Benefits were reduced 5/9 of 1% for each month prior to age 62.

  • Allowed entitlement to reduced DIB after entitlement to reduced RIB or reduced WIB.

4. 1967 Amendments Effective 2/68

  • Provided for reduced disabled widow's benefits at ages 50-59 and reduced disabled widower's benefits at ages 50-61. (The difference in ages is because aged widow benefits could begin at age 60 while aged widower benefits could not begin until age 62).

  • The widow(er)'s benefit (after any necessary reduction for the family maximum) was reduced by the total reduction amount of:

    • 5/9 of 1 percent for each month of entitlement from age 60 up to age 62, PLUS

    • 43/198 of 1 percent for each month of entitlement from age 50 up to age 60.

5. 1972 Amendments Effective 1/73

  • Provided for reduced widower's benefits at age 60.

  • Changed age for unreduced widow(er)'s benefits to 65.

  • Changed WIB to 100% of the deceased worker's PIA unless the DNH was entitled to a reduced RIB.

  • Changed WIB reduction to 19/40 of 1% for each month from age 60 to age 65 and 43/240 of 1% for each month prior to age 60.

6. 1977 Amendments

Allowed an alternative method of computing the widow(er)'s benefit which includes the DNH's DRCs.

7. 1983 Amendments

  • Deemed all disabled widow(er)s to be age 60 beginning 1/84.

  • Eliminated the additional reduction for the period between age 50 and age 60.

  • Increased the full retirement age for retirement and spouse's benefits for people born after 1/1/1938.

  • Increased the full retirement age for widow(er)'s benefits for people born after 1/1/1940.

8. 1989 Amendments Effective 1/90

Eliminated the carry-over reduction in RIB or DIB due to WIB before age 62. This applies to RIB for workers born 1/2/28 or later and to DIB for workers born 1/2/28 or later with onset dates 1/1/90 or later.

B. POLICY - USE OF FRACTIONS INSTEAD OF DECIMAL EQUIVALENTS

The charts in RS 00615.101, RS 00615.201 and RS 00615.301 show the fractions to use when computing reduced retirement, spouse's and widow(er)'s benefits. When decimal equivalents are used the result is often 10 cents less than the answer resulting from use of the fraction. The Social Security Act establishes the amount of reduction using fractions. For that reason only fractions can be used when computing reduced benefits.

When using fractions, it is important that all multiplication be done before the division.

EXAMPLE: A PIA of $802.80 is to be reduced for 5 months. The applicable calculation is $802.80 x 175/180. First multiply $802.80 by 175 and then divide by 180 for an MBA of $780.50.

Failure to follow this order can result in the same error as that caused by using the decimal equivalent. If you divide 175 by 180 and then multiply by $802.80, the result is $780.49. After rounding, the MBA would be $780.40.

C. POLICY - ADJUSTMENTS TO REDUCED BENEFITS AFTER 1/78 DUE TO COLA OR RECOMPUTATION

Acronyms used in this section are defined in RS 00601.002.

1. Initial Entitlement 1/78 or Later

Subsequent higher PIAs or unreduced amounts (adjusted for family maximum if necessary) are reduced by the original reduction factor (ORF). This reduction factor represents all months of entitlement prior to FRA. The first month of entitlement to the reduced benefit fixes the reduction factor to be applied initially and to all future increases.

At FRA, the ORF is adjusted to eliminate deduction or other crediting events before FRA for that benefit on that SSN. The adjusted reduction factor (ARF) then becomes the constant reduction factor applicable for the month of attainment of FRA and thereafter. An ARF is applied to widow(er)'s benefits also at age 62 to eliminate crediting events occurring before age 62. (See RS 00615.480ff for a detailed explanation of the ARF procedure.)

2. Initial Entitlement Before 1/7