Will My Retroactive Widow's Benefits Affect My Own Benefit Rate?

Feb 17 2017 - 10:30am

I turned 66 in May 2016 and retired Dec. 31, 2016. Applied for SS benefits in Sept. 2016. I am getting widows benefits.
The SS rep advised me that I was entitled to those benefits in May when I turned 66 and can still recieve retroactively. I recieved a lump sum for 5 months retroactive & then regular monthly payments thru Dec. while still employed. At the SS reps recommendation I had 15% Fed Withholding Tax taken out. After I quit working I changed to zero withholding. I was informed that at age 70 I can switch to my earnings benefit if it is more than my late husbands. I was told my benefit will increase 8% per year. Will my having recieved retroactive payment reduce the increase on my own benefits to 4% instead of 8%?

Hi,

No, the fact that you receive widow's benefits, regardless of when they started or whether or not you received retroactive benefits, will have absolutely no effect on the computation of the retirement benefit rate payable on your own record. If you wait until age 70 to start drawing benefits on your own record, the rate payable will be 32% higher than what you would have received at age 66. But, you would only be eligible to receive the higher of your own retirement benefit amount, or your widow's benefit rate.

Best, Jerry