Can I Take My Social Security At Age 62 And Then Switch To Widow's Benefits Later?

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Mar 13 2017 - 6:45am

My husband passed away in 2015. He was on SS Disability. I wanted to know if I can take my SS at 62 then at 66 or before switch to my widow benefit. And if my husband got his Disability in 2010 did he get his full benefit as if he would have at 66?

Hi,

I'm sorry for your loss.

The answer to your question is essentially yes. You wouldn't actually switch to widow's benefits if you file on your own record first, but you could get an excess widow's benefit that would raise your total rate up to the full widow's rate.

Your best filing strategy is likely one of the following:
1) File for reduced retirement benefits at age 62, then file for widow's benefits at full retirement age; or,
2) File for reduced widow's benefits at age 60, then switch to your own record at age 70.

Your work and earnings may affect these options, but you will likely want to start the lower benefit first and save the higher benefit for last. The maximization software available on this website can help you determine when to apply for each benefit.

The answer to your other question is also essentially yes, unless your husband drew reduced retirement benefits prior to becoming eligible for disability benefits. Social Security disability benefits are calculated using the same formula used to calculate unreduced retirement benefits, except that fewer than 35 years of earnings may be used to calculate disability benefit rates.

Best, Jerry