Can I Draw Widow's Benefits At Age 60 And Keep Working?

Jan 26 2017 - 12:00pm

Hi Larry, my husband passed 2013 and was receiving disability benefits for 1 yr. I am 59 yrs old and was told that when I turn 60 I could draw my husband's benefits and still work. I plan on working for 10 more yrs. My question is can I draw all his benefits and continue to work? I also was told that if I wait until retirement age that his benefits would be much higher and i would receive a much bigger benefit. Please advise.

Hi,

I'm sorry for your loss.

If you file for widow's benefits prior to full retirement age (FRA), your benefits will be subject to the Social Security earnings test (https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/whileworking2.html). So, you may be able to draw benefits and keep working, but it depends on how much you earn.

Your best filing strategy is likely to be one of the following:
1) File for reduced widow's benefits at age 60 or as soon as your earnings will permit you to draw at least some benefits, then switch to your own record at age 70; or,
2) File for reduced retirement benefits on your own record at age 62 or as soon as your earnings will permit you to draw at least some benefits, then file for unreduced widow's benefits when you reach FRA.

The maximization software available on this website is programmed to handle the effects of the Social Security earnings test, which should allow you to determine not only which of the above strategies is best, but also precisely when you should apply for each type of benefit.

Best, Jerry