Can I Receive Widow's Benefits Now?

Category: 
Jul 25 2017 - 6:40am

My husband passed away in May at the age of 69 and had been receiving social security. Do I receive any social security benefits? I am 49, and working full time. If I don't receive any right now, do I receive any later on if I am not married and still working? If so, at what age should I apply? 6-? It sooks like I can collect his until I retire and then I lose his, but collect mine. I am not sure if this is the case due to our ages. Thank you in advance.

Hi,

I'm sorry for your loss.

You can't qualify for widow's benefits at age 49 unless you have an eligible child in your care, but you would likely qualify for a one time payment of $255 from your husband's record (https://www.ssa.gov/planners/survivors/ifyou7.html). If you haven't already filed for that, you should contact Social Security to apply.

You can potentially qualify for monthly widow's benefits as early as age 60, or age 50 if you become disabled. However, there is an earnings test that could limit your ability to receive benefits prior to full retirement age if you continue working after you file (https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/whileworking2.html).

Your best filing 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 benefits to be paid, 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 benefits to be paid, then file for unreduced widow's benefits at full retirement age or whenever your widow's rate is at it's highest point if your husband received reduced retirement benefits.

Our maximization software can help you determine which of the above filing strategies is best in your case, as well as when to apply for each type of benefit.

Best, Jerry