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Topic: Applying for SS - actual experience  (Read 2371 times)

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Re: Applying for SS - actual experience
« Reply #15 on: October 09, 2021, 07:38:53 PM »
You may remember I started this process a couple of years ago, the whole experience documented here.

Your experience sounds very similar to mine except that from my initial contact with the FBU (via an online form), to getting my first payment (which included a backdated amount), took a whopping 11months!  I'm loving the regular monthly payments directly into my UK bank account - compared to  401(k)/IRA withdrawals it's a breeze.

One thing that surprised me, although I may have misunderstood you - I thought WEP only came into play when you start taking your "workplace/company" pension(s) (or whatever the correct term is).  I didn't think taking OAP pension affected WEP.  Or is it voluntary contributions that's the issue?
« Last Edit: October 09, 2021, 08:42:12 PM by crowman »


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Re: Applying for SS - actual experience
« Reply #16 on: October 09, 2021, 07:49:51 PM »
You may remember I started this process a couple of years ago, the whole experience documented here.

Your experience sounds very similar to mine except that from my initial contact with the FBU (via an online) form, to getting my first payment (which included a backdated amount, took a whopping 11months!  I'm loving the regular monthly payments directly into my UK bank account - compared to  401(k)/IRA withdrawals it's a breeze.

One thing that surprised me, although I may have misunderstood you - I thought WEP only came into play when you start taking your "workplace/company" pension(s) (or whatever the correct term is).  I didn't think taking OAP pension affected WEP.  Or is it voluntary contributions that's the issue?

Thanks for the reminder and link to that thread.

There will be no WEP until OAP starts being received and there is a form to send to SSA once that happens. That form actually has a place to enter the dates that voluntary NI contributions are applied. WEP is only calculated on the portion of the OAP attributed to foreign earned income.
Dual USC/UKC living in the UK since May 2016


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Re: Applying for SS - actual experience
« Reply #17 on: October 09, 2021, 08:46:15 PM »
Thanks for the reminder and link to that thread.

There will be no WEP until OAP starts being received and there is a form to send to SSA once that happens. That form actually has a place to enter the dates that voluntary NI contributions are applied. WEP is only calculated on the portion of the OAP attributed to foreign earned income.

Thanks for that.  I have two UK company pensions due to start when I'm 65 but I won't get my UK state pension until I'm 66.  Sounds like you've answered the question, and it may well be answered in the documentation I received from the SSA, but does this mean I won't have to inform the FBU when I start receiving those company pensions?


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Re: Applying for SS - actual experience
« Reply #18 on: October 09, 2021, 09:00:00 PM »
Thanks for that.  I have two UK company pensions due to start when I'm 65 but I won't get my UK state pension until I'm 66.  Sounds like you've answered the question, and it may well be answered in the documentation I received from the SSA, but does this mean I won't have to inform the FBU when I start receiving those company pensions?

She was told by the FBU person who interviewed her that once she actually starts receiving her OAP she needs to contact them again and have filled out form SSA-308 (below) and this form contains the dates for which she paid voluntary contributions as they don't count towards the WEP calculation. (Windfall Elimination Provision). He said that they at the FBU would contact the DWP to confirm which contribution years were from paid employment.  Her SS payments would then be reduced accordingly. She plans to download and complete this form and submit it to the FBU once she starts receiving her OAP.

https://www.ssa.gov/forms/ssa-308.pdf
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Re: Applying for SS - actual experience
« Reply #19 on: October 09, 2021, 11:47:25 PM »
She was told by the FBU person who interviewed her that once she actually starts receiving her OAP she needs to contact them again and have filled out form SSA-308 (below) and this form contains the dates for which she paid voluntary contributions as they don't count towards the WEP calculation. (Windfall Elimination Provision). He said that they at the FBU would contact the DWP to confirm which contribution years were from paid employment.  Her SS payments would then be reduced accordingly. She plans to download and complete this form and submit it to the FBU once she starts receiving her OAP.

https://www.ssa.gov/forms/ssa-308.pdf

Sorry to be a bother, but I was more interested in UK company pensions.  Would I be right in thinking that your wife doesn't have any UK company pensions, so that the only pension that'll WEP her SS pension is her OAP?

I think somewhere along the line I've got the wrong end of the stick.  When I first looked into this, my understanding was that the US weren't interested in UK OAP - for reasons I can't remember.  But I'm gathering now that they're interested in all UK (or all foreign actually) pensions.  Seeing as I have no desire to delay taking any of my UK pensions, I'll need to inform the FBU when I start taking my UK company pensions (2 of them) when I turn 65.  Is that right?

I believe that those 2 pensions will be enough to max WEP me, so there'll be no further reduction when I start taking OAP at 66 - although I may still need to tell them.


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Re: Applying for SS - actual experience
« Reply #20 on: October 10, 2021, 02:14:39 PM »
Sorry to be a bother, but I was more interested in UK company pensions.  Would I be right in thinking that your wife doesn't have any UK company pensions, so that the only pension that'll WEP her SS pension is her OAP?

I think somewhere along the line I've got the wrong end of the stick.  When I first looked into this, my understanding was that the US weren't interested in UK OAP - for reasons I can't remember.  But I'm gathering now that they're interested in all UK (or all foreign actually) pensions.  Seeing as I have no desire to delay taking any of my UK pensions, I'll need to inform the FBU when I start taking my UK company pensions (2 of them) when I turn 65.  Is that right?

I believe that those 2 pensions will be enough to max WEP me, so there'll be no further reduction when I start taking OAP at 66 - although I may still need to tell them.

Correct, my wife only has OAP. For sure the OAP counts since all foreign pensions from earned income is considered, as confirmed by the FBU official she talked to.

I have 2 UK private pensions so those will be in play, however I will have 28 years of SS contributions so it should not be much of a hit from WEP. I am waiting until age 70 mainly to maximize the bump in pension my wife will get when I die.
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Re: Applying for SS - actual experience
« Reply #21 on: October 10, 2021, 02:47:34 PM »
Correct, my wife only has OAP. For sure the OAP counts since all foreign pensions from earned income is considered, as confirmed by the FBU official she talked to.

I have 2 UK private pensions so those will be in play, however I will have 28 years of SS contributions so it should not be much of a hit from WEP. I am waiting until age 70 mainly to maximize the bump in pension my wife will get when I die.
Thanks for that clarification.  I'm expecting quite a hit from WEP because I only have 15 years SS contributions.  Must admit, my approach has always been to take various pensions at the earliest opportunity.  I did this with my 401(k) and my US state pension, although in the case of the 401(k) it was as much to get everything sorted (tax rules, withdrawal rules, international currency transfer, US/UK tax implications, etc) - without wishing to sound morbid, and I don't intend going anywhere anytime soon, I wouldn't have wanted to leave this for my wife to sort out.  Since I do everything finance related in our house, she would have found it almost impossible.


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Re: Applying for SS - actual experience
« Reply #22 on: October 10, 2021, 03:55:15 PM »
Thanks for that clarification.  I'm expecting quite a hit from WEP because I only have 15 years SS contributions.  Must admit, my approach has always been to take various pensions at the earliest opportunity.  I did this with my 401(k) and my US state pension, although in the case of the 401(k) it was as much to get everything sorted (tax rules, withdrawal rules, international currency transfer, US/UK tax implications, etc) - without wishing to sound morbid, and I don't intend going anywhere anytime soon, I wouldn't have wanted to leave this for my wife to sort out.  Since I do everything finance related in our house, she would have found it almost impossible.

I hear you and I am also trying to make things easier for my wife.  The year after retiring in 2010 I moved my and her 401k to IRAs with Vanguard and have been doing IRA to Roth conversions every year.  I am now 100% Roth,  and next year will make the final conversion for my wife, so then no more forms 8606 to file and no tax payable on Roth distributions after that. (We moved to England in January 2017)
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Re: Applying for SS - actual experience
« Reply #23 on: October 17, 2021, 09:12:38 PM »
@durhamlad

Quote
You need 40 quarters (10 years) of contributions to be able to claim SS, so probably not enough credits yet.

Not quite right any more - I left the US back in 96 with 36 credits (thinking they were quarters)  and never gave it another thought until just a few years ago when I realised retirement was creeping up on me  ;D

The term 'quarters' has been phased out in favour of credits and in fact you can now earn 4 credits in one year, but surprisingly you can earn 4 credits in one go. If you Google Publication No. 05-10072 you'll find the link to the SS publication. Basically in 2021 you can earn a credit for each $1,470 of earnings - but if you earn 4 times this amount ($5,880) in one go, you get 4 credits. Having done the maths myself back in 2017, I took a short term assignment in the US over a few weeks, earned over the limit at the time ($5,200) and got my 4 credits- subsequently acknowledged by the SSA. I earned a bit more than the $5,200 but have since come to realise that I'm now entitled to a SS income that is worth more in one month than my earnings required for 1 credit - and that is each and every month! (spousal 50% SS included and with WEP of the maximum $498 per month).

Message to the OP is therefore, do the maths very very carefully, find out how many credits you have (from your SS record) and if you're close with the number of credits you have, plan on maybe taking some time back in the US, doing some work while you're there and earn the credits towards a SS income at retirement.

The value of a potential SS income is too much to ignore - especially when it's each and every month!


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Re: Applying for SS - actual experience
« Reply #24 on: October 18, 2021, 12:51:38 PM »
I think when I applied for SS I just applied straight to the SS office in the US. Everything got done in a month or two. Is there a rule that states you are "supposed" to apply through the embassy?
Fred


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Re: Applying for SS - actual experience
« Reply #25 on: October 18, 2021, 02:59:18 PM »
I think when I applied for SS I just applied straight to the SS office in the US. Everything got done in a month or two. Is there a rule that states you are "supposed" to apply through the embassy?
I’m betting that is pre-pandemic, and also that you don’t have OAP with voluntary contributions. Did SSA make an international phone call to discuss foreign pensions and WEP?

The advantage of using the FEB in London is that the SS officials there understand all about OAP and it’s value based on earned income only and will do the WEP calculations correctly.  The FEB have been great and with 2 phone calls completed the application, told her how much she will get etc, including UK bank details for the payments to go into. It is this last step that has to be done by SSA in the US that is the problem. Fortunately we have the ability with our Skype account to make US toll free numbers as she was on the phone for a very long time to SSA asking what the holdup is.
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Re: Applying for SS - actual experience
« Reply #26 on: October 18, 2021, 03:10:17 PM »
I’m betting that is pre-pandemic, and also that you don’t have OAP with voluntary contributions. Did SSA make an international phone call to discuss foreign pensions and WEP?

The advantage of using the FEB in London is that the SS officials there understand all about OAP and it’s value based on earned income only and will do the WEP calculations correctly.  The FEB have been great and with 2 phone calls completed the application, told her how much she will get etc, including UK bank details for the payments to go into. It is this last step that has to be done by SSA in the US that is the problem. Fortunately we have the ability with our Skype account to make US toll free numbers as she was on the phone for a very long time to SSA asking what the holdup is.
Yep, should have been around winter 2019......less than 2 years but before the kablooey started up. I'm not sure what OAP (old age pension) is....so no, not likely something I'm a part of. I did get a call from a lady/SS as a final assessment and to check details. Don't think WEP or foreign pensions came up.

We aren't in any hurry, so it's about 7 months until my wife turns 62.....sometime in the next month I'll start the process.....providing she is still eligible for spousal. It still just sounds too good to be true. Wife is not a US citizen, has not worked in the US, just married to me the last almost 15 years.
Fred


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Re: Applying for SS - actual experience
« Reply #27 on: October 18, 2021, 04:44:08 PM »
Yep, should have been around winter 2019......less than 2 years but before the kablooey started up. I'm not sure what OAP (old age pension) is....so no, not likely something I'm a part of. I did get a call from a lady/SS as a final assessment and to check details. Don't think WEP or foreign pensions came up.

We aren't in any hurry, so it's about 7 months until my wife turns 62.....sometime in the next month I'll start the process.....providing she is still eligible for spousal. It still just sounds too good to be true. Wife is not a US citizen, has not worked in the US, just married to me the last almost 15 years.

LOTS of threads here on OAP and WEP.  WEP reduces your SS if you have worked in jobs that did not pay into the SS system via FICA payroll deductions and that includes foreign pensions.  OAP is counted as a foreign pension but credits are earned a) through work, b) being in full time education, c) staying home to look after young children and d) through voluntary contributions. My wife's OAP is based on 31 years of credits but only 9 of those years were through payroll contributions so her SS reduction through WEP will be much smaller than one would expect.  The chances of finding someone in the SSA within the USA who understands all this is very small which is why it is advantageous for residents in the UK to apply through the FBU in London.  For us we also had to prove we were US citizens so sending off our passports to London was a lot less scary than sending them to the USA. The FBU sent them back within a couple of days of receiving them.

The good news is that because your wife will be getting spousal SS based on your SS record, she will not have it reduced when she starts collecting her OAP.  She won't even be asked if she is receiving any foreign pension.
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Re: Applying for SS - actual experience
« Reply #28 on: October 18, 2021, 05:54:17 PM »
LOTS of threads here on OAP and WEP.  WEP reduces your SS if you have worked in jobs that did not pay into the SS system via FICA payroll deductions and that includes foreign pensions.  OAP is counted as a foreign pension but credits are earned a) through work, b) being in full time education, c) staying home to look after young children and d) through voluntary contributions. My wife's OAP is based on 31 years of credits but only 9 of those years were through payroll contributions so her SS reduction through WEP will be much smaller than one would expect.  The chances of finding someone in the SSA within the USA who understands all this is very small which is why it is advantageous for residents in the UK to apply through the FBU in London.  For us we also had to prove we were US citizens so sending off our passports to London was a lot less scary than sending them to the USA. The FBU sent them back within a couple of days of receiving them.

The good news is that because your wife will be getting spousal SS based on your SS record, she will not have it reduced when she starts collecting her OAP.  She won't even be asked if she is receiving any foreign pension.
Just me and my crap memory. I had written OAP off as a British issue.....not something I really needed to worry about. I couldn't remember the details with WEP, but I had looked into that years ago and didn't think it had much of anything to do with me either. Now that you mentioned it about the SS type jobs....all my jobs were SS related so that's why I had written it off in my head.

Just wish I had a better memory. Just switched over to playing fingerstyle guitar a couple of months ago.....it would be a LOT easier if I could memorize things better. I have to fight it.
Fred


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Re: Applying for SS - actual experience
« Reply #29 on: October 19, 2021, 11:57:17 AM »
[quote author=DaveB link=topic=99441.msg1312837#msg1312837 date=1625308616

BTW, if anyone reading this thread is in the same position as me (looking at filling in missing years), be aware the HRMC web page that shows you the gaps you can fill in (https://www.tax.service.gov.uk/check-your-state-pension/account/nirecord/gaps) only shows the price of making voluntary Class 3 contributions (~£800 / year). If you been working abroad, you are likely eligible to pay Class 2 (even if not self-employed) instead. Class 2 is much cheaper (~£160 to fill in a year) and entitles you to more benefits.
[/quote]

So i may have paid the wrong class of voluntary contributions based on this.  Not sure whether to be happy or sad, may be due a refund, but may be condemned to hours on hold to ask about it.


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