Why Does The Maximize My Social Security Software Show Potential Survivor Benefits For My Wife?

Mar 1 2017 - 8:00am

My wife is a teacher in Connecticut covered by the State Teachers Retirement Plan and does not pay into Social Security. Maximize My Social Security shows that she will receive a survivor's benefit if I die first. I have paid Social Security Tax since 1975 and have substantial earnings since 1979. A financial planner told us that if I die first, my wife will not receive a survivor's benefit because she only has 9 years of substantial earning under Social Security and is subject to WEP and GPO. Why does Maximize My Social Security show the survivor's benefit for my wife?

Hi,

I don't have access to your Maximize My Social Security software data, so please submit future questions about the software via the online contact form in the help menu. However, I assume the answer is that the widow's rate payable to your wife in the event of your death would be more than 2/3rds of the amount of her teacher's pension. If that's the case, the excess amount could be paid to her even if she does receive a government pension (https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10007.pdf). Your wife would not need to have paid Social Security taxes herself in order to potentially qualify for spousal or widow's benefits from your record.

Best, Jerry