Are Survivor Benefits Increased At FRA If The Survivor Lost Benefits Due To The Earnings Test?

Mar 27 2019 - 7:22am

Hi Larry,
When you file early social security at 62 and work at the same time, you are subject to earning test. I understand the benefits forfeited are not truly lost as when a person reaches FRA, the agency will restore or adjust the lost income by increasing his or her monthly payment to make up the difference. May I ask whether this apply to someone claiming survivor benefits ??



Hi Letty,

The answer is yes if the survivor benefit is reduced for age. Some survivor benefits, such as benefits for children and surviving spouse's with an eligible child in care, are not reduced for age even if the beneficiary starts drawing prior to full retirement age (FRA). Such benefits aren't increased at FRA to compensate for benefits lost to the earnings test because the benefit rate is already unreduced.

However, the rates for survivor benefits that are reduced for age, such as benefits for widows and surviving divorced spouses who start drawing benefits prior to FRA, are adjusted at FRA to remove the percentage reduction previously applied for any months that the beneficiary didn't receive benefits due to the earnings test.

Best, Jerry