Am I Entitled To Any Widow's Benefits?

Category: 
Jun 7 2017 - 4:42pm

Hello Larry,
I am 61 years old and still working and earning less than 24K annually. My husband of 20+ years passed away 10 years ago at the age of 55, and I have not remarried. He was not drawing any benefits at the time as he was still working. Am I entitled to any widows benefits? Have I missed out on any benefits due me by waiting so long?

Hi,

I'm sorry for your loss.

I can't tell you whether or not you've missed out on any benefits without knowing your potential benefit rate. In any case, your best option is likely one of the following:
1) File for reduced widow's benefits now or as soon as your earnings will permit benefits to be paid, then switch to your own record at age 70; or,
2) File for reduced retirement benefits at age 62 or as soon as your earnings will permit benefits to be paid, then file for unreduced widow's benefits at full retirement age.

The Social Security earnings test (https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/whileworking2.html) would require withholding of at least some of your benefits if you continue to earn more than $16,920 annually.

The maximization software available on this website can help you determine which of the above filing strategies is best in your case, as well as when to apply for each type of benefit.

Best, Jerry