Is There Any Way To Increase My Benefits?

Category: 
Jan 12 2017 - 2:30pm

i took reduced ss benefits age 62 - younger husband still working then passed away in 2015 to cancer. I began drawing widows benefits which are also apparently reduced. is there any way to increase my benefits? i will be 69 next month. i also have a living retired ex husband to whom i was married for 15 years over 35 years ago - if that helps in any way.

Hi,

I'm sorry for your loss.

There's probably nothing you can do at this point. As I understand it, you took reduced retirement benefits on your own record at age 62 and then became entitled to widow's benefits in 2015. Since you were already full retirement age when the widow's benefits started, they wouldn't be reduced unless your deceased husband received reduced retirement benefits prior to his death.

You could check with Social Security to see about divorced spousal benefits, but you won't be eligible unless 50% of your ex's full retirement age benefit rate is higher than your combined retirement and widow's benefit rate. However, if your ex dies before you, you could become eligible for surviving divorced spousal benefits if his full benefit rate is higher than your combined retirement/widow's rate.

Best, Jerry