Can I Collect Benefits On My First Husband's Record As Well As My Own?

Dec 30 2017 - 7:33am

I am 65 1/2 years old. My first husband passed away 7+years ago and I was told then, that I could receive his Social Security benefits if I did not make more than $15,000 annually. I was also told that if I took his benefits based on his salaries over the years that I could not ever collect social security based on my salaries (which are greater for every year). After reading several Q&A of yours, I am now thoroughly confused. I plan to retire at my full retirement age of 66 in June 2018. Can I then collect his social security benefits and mine also? Does the fact that I have remarried in 2017 affect any widow's benefits I might receive?


You can't draw both a full widow's benefit and retirement benefits on your own record at the same time. The most that you could receive is the higher of those 2 benefit rates. And, your 2017 remarriage will have no bearing on your eligibility for widow's benefits nor your benefit rate since it took place after you reached age 60.

Your best strategy would almost certainly be one of the following:
1) File for 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 retirement benefits on your own record now or as soon as your earnings will permit benefits to be paid, then file for unreduced widow's benefits at your full retirement age.

Spousal benefits on your new husband's record could also potentially be involved at some point, but it depends on a number of variables. Our maximization software should be able to sort all of this out for you and help you determine your best filing strategy.

Best, Jerry