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rity benefits will not be affected by the earnings test, even if you file a joint return which has an Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) which is more than the annual earnings limit because your wife works.

As for your second question: it is not necessary, nor would it gain you any advantage, to register with Social Security before you are ready to claim your benefits. Indeed, Social Security does not even provide you with a way to do that. What they do provide is a way for you to create your own personal “My Social Security” online account, which gives you access to all of the online features provided by the Social Security Administration, including allowing you to apply for your benefits online (the fastest way to claim) whenever you’re ready to do that.

Having an online SS account doesn’t provide you with any benefit advantage, but it allows you to monitor your lifetime earnings record, get a replacement SS card if needed, and get estimates of your current and future Social Security benefits to help you decide when to claim. You can create your personal “My Social Security” account by going to They use a “two-factor” security process, which means you’ll not only need to set up a password but also a second way to confirm your identity (usually via a code sent to a text-enabled cell phone or your email account). But, even if you have this online account pre-established, your wife will still need to contact Social Security directly to claim her survivor benefit if you predeceased her. Survivor benefits must be applied for by the surviving spouse directly contacting Social Security. This article is intended for information purposes only and does not represent legal or financial guidance. It presents the opinions and interpretations of the AMAC Foundation’s staff, trained and accredited by the National Social Security Association (NSSA). NSSA and the AMAC Foundation and its staff are not affiliated with or endorsed by the Social Security Administration or any other governmental entity. To submit a question, visit our website or email us at ssadvisor@

The 2.1 million member Association of Mature American Citizens ( www. amac. us) is a vibrant, vital senior advocacy organization that takes its marching orders from its members. AMAC Action is a non- profit, non- partisan organization representing the membership in our nation’s capital and in local Congressional Districts throughout the country. And the AMAC Foundation ( www. AmacFoundation. org) is the Association’s non- profit organization, dedicated to supporting and educating America’s Seniors. Together, we act and speak on the Association members’ behalf, protecting their interests and offering a practical insight on how to best solve the problems they face today. Live long and make a difference by joining us today at www. amac. us/ join- amac.

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