How Much Will My Wife Get If I Die Before Her?

Jan 28 2017 - 7:30am

Larry,
Have read 90% of these answers and your book and still can't find an answer to what I think is a simple question.
My only wife and I are the same age (both will be 65 this year) and her SS payout @ 66 is ~$19,800 , @70 ~ $26,300 and mine is ~$30,900, @70 ~$40,800.
All other machinations aside, if I were to die at 71 and I had waited until 70 to claim, would she receive my 70 yr or 66 yr amount or something else? If I died before filing at say 67. would she get the 66yr amount or could she wait to claim survivor benefit at (my) 70th and receive that amount? And truly stupid question: we both get our amounts so if we both files at 66 we would get two checks of the amounts above?

Also is SS effected by other income like MRD?

Thanks!

Hi,

If you die at age 71 having waited until age 70 to start drawing your retirement benefits, your wife would receive your full age 70 rate, including subsequent cost of living increases. She wouldn't get both her own benefit plus yours, just the higher of the two. If you die at age 67 having not filed for your benefits, your wife would receive the rate that you would have received had you started drawing benefits in the month of your death, inclusive of the delayed retirement credits (DRC) you would have received up until that time. But, she couldn't wait until age 70 and get the DRCs you would have earned had you lived until age 70.

IRA distributions have no effect on your Social Security benefit rate. I'm not sure that I understand your other question. You and your wife will get separate payments while you're both living. When one of you dies, the survivor will get the higher of your 2 benefits, not both.

You and your wife have many different filing options available. If you haven't already done so, you may want to consider running the maximization software available on this website to determine your best filing strategy.

Best, Jerry