Am I Entitled To Survivor Benefits?

Jan 3 2017 - 4:30pm

Hi - I am in my late 30s, my wife of the same age passed away- I am caring for a child that we had together. I am currently receiving only a surviving child benefit under my child's name, which I have to account for and report on each year. Am I entitled to a surviving spouse benefit as well? SS office had told me 'no' because my income is above a certain amount. In addition - IF I remarry in the future, do I lose my child's benefit? IF I am entitled to spouse benefits, would I lose that as well if I remarried? Thank you!!

Hi,

I'm sorry for your loss.

If your child is under age 16 or disabled, you would likely at least be technically entitled to father's benefits on your wife's record. However, there is an annual earnings test (https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/whileworking2.html) that may limit the amount of benefits that you could receive. Under the earnings test, Social Security would withhold $1 of your benefits for each $2 that you earn in excess of $16,920 this year. So, depending on the level of your earnings, that could result in all of your benefits being withheld.

Your earnings have no effect on your child's benefits, though. Nor would your child's benefits be affected if you remarry. However, your own survivor benefits would terminate if you remarry, unless you happened to marry someone who is receiving Social Security benefits. Also, remarriage after age 60 does not preclude entitlement to widower's benefits.

Best, Jerry