Am I Entitled To Widow's Benefits?

Category: 
Jan 30 2020 - 12:13pm

I was married for 21 years. My husband passed away in 2001 at the age of 48. I am now 62 years old. Am I entitled to Widow's Benefits?

Hi,

I'm sorry for your loss.

Yes, it sounds like you would potentially be eligible for widow's benefits assuming that you haven't remarried (or you remarried after age 60) and if your husband paid into Social Security long enough to be insured. However, if you're still working, your benefits could be subject to full or partial withholding until you reach full retirement age (FRA) if you earn more than the amount allowed by Social Security's earnings test (https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/whileworking.html).

It sounds like your best filing strategy is likely one of the following:
1) File for reduced widow's benefits now or as soon as your earnings will permit at least some benefits to be paid, then switch to your own record at age 70; or,
2) File for reduced retirement benefits on your own record now or as soon as your earnings will permit at least some benefits to be paid, then file for unreduced widow's benefits at full retirement age (FRA).

Normally, you would want to start out drawing the lower benefit first and then switch to the higher record when it reaches it's highest potential rate. Our software (https://maximizemysocialsecurity.com/purchase) could sort all of this out for you and help you determine your optimal filing strategy.

Best, Jerry