TN 24 (09-02)

RS 00615.260 Reduced Spouse's Benefit and DIB Entitlement (B, HA)

A. Policy

1. Spouse Entitlement Followed by DIB Entitlement

  • Beginning 9/65, DIB entitlement can occur after entitlement to reduced spouse's benefits. If the beneficiary had been previously entitled to reduced spouse's benefits only, the DIB is not reduced. However, a reduced DIB usually will result because the beneficiary was deemed to have filed for reduced RIB at the time the claim for reduced spouse's benefits was filed. Reduce the DIB PIA by the number of months of reduced RIB prior to the DIB MOE. If the DIB PIA is the same as the RIB PIA the excess spouse benefit is unchanged. If the DIB PIA is different, subtract the DIB PIA from the spouse OB and reduce the spouse excess by the number of months of spouse entitlement before FRA.

  • Before 1965, a person who became entitled to a reduced spouse's benefit before age 65 could not later become entitled to a DIB.

2. DIB Entitlement Followed by Spouse Entitlement

Effective with applications filed on or after 8/1/61, a person entitled to an unreduced DIB may file for and become entitled to a higher reduced spouse's benefit without terminating the DIB. In such a case, the reduction applies only to that part of the spouse's benefit that exceeds the DIB.

NOTE: When a person who is entitled to DIB files for reduced spouse benefits prior to attainment of FRA deemed filing for RIB does not apply. See GN 00204.020F.2.b.

B. Procedure

1. Entitlement to Spouse's Benefit and Reduced DIB

  • If the first month of entitlement to a spouse's benefit is a month for which there is also entitlement to a reduced DIB, reduce the excess of the spouse's original benefit over the unreduced DIB by the amount it would be reduced if it were the only benefit to which the spouse were entitled. Add the reduced excess to the reduced DIB.

  • Apply the same method of reduction when the previous DIB is reduced and the spouse was entitled, before DIB entitlement, to a reduced widow's benefit on a different SSN.

2. DIB Terminates Before FRA

  • If the DIB of a person entitled to reduced spouse's benefits terminates before FRA deemed filing for RIB will apply. Reduce the RIB to which the person becomes entitled by the number of months of RIB entitlement before FRA.

  • Reduce the spouse's reduced benefit further by the amount of the RIB reduction. This is the exception to the rule that a spouse's benefit amount is not affected by later RIB entitlement.

EXAMPLE: A person is entitled to a reduced spouse benefit. She is not insured for reduced RIB. The OB of 400 is reduced for age to 300. The next month DIB starts with a PIA of 280. We subtract the 280 from the 300 payable as a spouse and get 20 as the excess spouse benefit. Her total benefit is 280 as an HA and 20 as a spouse (the same 300 she was already getting). Note that if the DIB had started the same month she would have received 280 as HA and 90 (400 minus 280 is 120 which is reduced to 90) as a spouse for a total of 370 but that is the penalty for being a reduced spouse first.

Later the DIB ends and RIB starts. The RIB is 280 reduced to 270. We subtract the 270 from the 300 and get 30 as the spouse benefit. If we were to pay that with the reduced RIB of 270 her total benefit would still be 300 and there would be no loss from changing from DIB to reduced RIB. To solve that, we have to also subtract the amount of the RIB reduction from the excess spouse. So we subtract the 10 from the 30 and pay 270 as RIB and 20 as a spouse for a total of 290.

The reason is this. When we subtracted the reduced RIB from the excess spouse we were letting the spouse benefit make up for the reduction in the RIB. So we were basically giving the RIB reduction back in the excess spouse benefit. Instead we subtract the reduced RIB and the amount of the RIB reduction from the excess spouse amount. That is the same result as if we had just subtracted the full RIB of 280 from the 300. We would then have had 20 as the excess spouse benefit and 280 reduced to 270 RIB for a total of 290. If there had been no DIB the reduced RIB would have been subtracted and the payment would have remained at 300 (270 as RIB and 30 as spouse). The existence of the DIB requires that the total payable be decreased when the DIB ends and RIB starts.

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