What Is My Best Strategy?

Feb 24 2017 - 8:00am

Larry, my ex husband passed away last fall. He was collecting SSI. I am currently 61 years of age. We were divorced in 2010. He went to live with his mother and had a very good life. I however, have struggled. I am working from home and the income is tight but I make my bills. I have not had a vacation in 10 years and I am very tired. I qualify for a percentage of his SSI as a widow married for more than 10 years. I am alone in every which way and so there is only me to get this right. Do I collect now from January to December with a cap on my income in 2017 it is 16,000 or should I struggle as long as I can to make the monthly amount a bit more? I have been trying to determine this and it is hard. I was in a car accident in December and the other party has been defined as the as fault party but I have difficulty trying to analyze regarding situations as before.

Hi,

Your best filing strategy is likely one of the following:
1) File for reduced retirement benefits on your own record at age 62, then file for widow's benefits at age 66 (or earlier if your ex was receiving reduced retirement benefits); or,
2) File for reduced widow's benefits now or as soon as your earnings will permit payment of benefits, and switch to your own record at age 70.

You'll probably want to start out drawing whichever benefit is lower, and then switch to the higher benefit when it reaches the maximum possible rate. The maximization software available on this website can help you determine which of the above strategies is best, as well as the best time for you to file for each type of benefit.

Best, Jerry