Can I Get Widow's Benefits At Age 60 If I'm Still Working?

Category: 
May 23 2017 - 7:33am

My husband passed away in 2012 at the age of 57 and I was 53. Someone told me that when I turn 60 in 2019 I can apply for his Social Security benefits until I reach my full retirement age. My question is will I qualify for benefits even though I am currently working full time with a yearly income of $45,000? When he died, I lost $1,400 in monthly income and it has been tough financially. Any extra money I would get would help a lot.

Hi,

I'm sorry for your loss.

Your benefits will be subject to Social Security's earnings test (https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/whileworking2.html) until you reach full retirement age. Whether or not you can work and still receive at least some benefits depends on how much you earn, as well as your potential benefit rate.

Your best strategy is likely one of the following:
1) File for reduced widow's benefits at age 60 or as soon as your earnings will permit payment of some benefits, then switch to your own record at age 70; or,
2) File for reduced retirement benefits on your own record at age 62 or as soon as your earnings will permit payment of some benefits, then file for unreduced widow's benefits at your full retirement age.

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

Best, Jerry