Will I Be Eligible For Widow's Benefits If My Husband Dies Before Me?

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Jan 18 2017 - 6:45am

There is undoubtedly a very easy answer to this question, but I cannot seem to find it. I apologize if this is explained elsewhere--I have spent quite a bit of time looking and seem to only find cases where the widow was not previously receiving benefits.

Simply put:
My husband and I are both began taking our social security benefits when we reached the age of 67. He is now 70 and I am 72. His monthly benefit is $2515 and mine is $1612. Were he to die before me, will I only be eligible for the tiny one time widow's benefit --or, is there a way for me to apply for a higher monthly benefit than I am currently receiving based on my husband's higher monthly benefit?

I would love an answer by email, although I realize you must have millions just like me. I think we received misinformation from our Social Security office back when we were figuring out the best way to handle our benefits, and you are doing a great service by providing correct information. Many, many thanks for any light you might shed on my question!

Hi,

If your husband dies first, you will get his higher monthly rate instead of yours. The way it would actually work is that you would continue to receive your own benefit, plus an excess widow's benefit equal to the difference between your two rates.

Best, Jerry