What Is My Best Strategy?

Jan 28 2017 - 10:15am

I was widowed in Nov 2016. I am 61 years old. I was advised to file at age 62 under my living ex-spouse's benefits, which are higher than my earnings, and then switch to my deceased husband's bebefits when I turn 62 in order to be able to get 100% of his benefits, which are highest of all. I do have some funds to supplement my income until that time. Is this a permissible strategy? My approved upcoming benefits statement classify me as retired. Will I then file as a survivor or widow at age 66 for my deceased husband's benefits?

Hi,

I'm sorry for your loss.

Your best strategy is likely one of the following:
1) File for retirement benefits, and divorced spousal benefits if you're eligible, at age 62, then file for widow's benefits at age 66, or sooner if your deceased husband received reduced retirement benefits; or,
2) File for widow's benefits now and switch to your own record at age 70.

You can't file for divorced spousal benefits on your living ex's record without also applying for your own retirement benefits. The maximization software available on this website is designed to handle multiple potential entitlement cases like yours, so you may want to use it in order to determine your best filing strategy.

Best, Jerry