Can I Draw Survivor Benefits And Continue Working?

Category: 
Feb 12 2017 - 7:15am

I am 62 years and working full time is becoming very exhausting. I have been a widow for over 15 years and have been struggling to survive even though I work full time. Please, can I collect survivor's benefits while working?

Hi,

That depends on how much you earn. If you file now, Social Security would withhold $1 of your benefits for every $2 that you earn in excess of $16,920 this year (https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/whileworking2.html). For example, say Jane is eligible for a reduced widow's benefit at age 62 in the amount of $1500 per month. If she continues working and earns $46,920 in 2017, Social Security would withhold $15,000, or 10 months worth of her benefits (i.e. ($46920 - $16920)/2).

Your best filing strategy is likely one of the following:
1) File for survivor benefits now or as soon as your earnings will permit payment of at least some benefits, then switch to your own record at age 70; or,
2) File for retirement benefits now or as soon as your earnings will permit payment of at least some benefits, then file for survivor benefits at age 66.

You generally want to start by drawing the lower benefit first, and save the highest benefit rate for last. You may want to consider running the maximization software available on this website in order to determine the best filing strategy in your case.

Best, Jerry