My Father in law recently passed away at age 86. He had Social Security Benefits beginning at his FRA. My mother in law is 60. Does she qualify for Survivors Benefits?
Potentially, yes. Reduced widow's benefits can be paid as early as age 60, so your mother-in-law meets the minimum age requirement. For more information, refer to Social Security's website: https://www.ssa.gov/planners/survivors/survivorchartred.html. Also, there is an earnings test that could limit her ability to receive benefits prior to full retirement age (FRA) if she is still working (https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/whileworking2.html).
If your mother-in-law worked long enough to qualify for Social Security benefits on her own record, her best strategy is likely one of the following:
1) File for reduced widow's benefits now or as soon as her earnings will permit payment of benefits, then switch to her own record at age 70; or,
2) File for reduced retirement benefits at age 62, then file for unreduced widow's benefits at FRA.
The maximization software available on this website can help your mother-in-law determine her best filing strategy.