Can I Draw Widow's Benefits And Keep Working?

Mar 22 2017 - 7:00am

Hi Larry, I am a 61 year old widow , my husband passed away July 2014 . He had not filed for any Social Security Disability, there was not time. Mike was four years older than myself and he actually retired at age 48.I am having financially a difficult time. Can I draw any amount of widows benefit and still work to keep my health insurance? Last year I made just under $40,000. It is just hard to make it on 1 salary in our household.I do not plan to remarry, and I have paid things off and lowered my bills as much as I can. Help


You are old enough to qualify for reduced widow's benefits, but your level of earnings would likely cause the withholding of most if not all of your benefits. This is due to the Social Security earnings test (, which applies until you reach full retirement age. That said, if your benefit rate would be high enough to permit payment of even a relatively small amount of benefits, it may be advantageous for you to apply, especially if you could get a higher rate on your own record in the future.

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 payment of some benefits, and 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 payment of some benefits, then file for unreduced widow's benefits at age 66.

The maximization software available on this website can analyze your situation based on your benefit levels and expected earnings. It will then be able to advise you which of the above strategies is best, and when you should apply for each type of benefit.

Best, Jerry