Can I Suspend My Reduced Widow's Benefits In Order To Get An Unreduced Rate In The Future?

Nov 12 2017 - 10:54am

My husband was on SSDI April 2006 at age 56 and passed away Oct. 2011 at age 61. He worked for 32 years and his last income was at 99,000/year. I started collecting survivors benefit when I retired at age 60 after working for 32 years. My last income was 68,000/ year. Can I suspend this benefit until I am 70 1/2 years old to get a full benefit from him?


I'm sorry for your loss.

No, you can't voluntarily suspend widow's benefits. And, there would be no point in doing so after you reach full retirement age because you don't earn delayed retirement credits on widow's benefits.

You don't mention your current age, but short of withdrawing your claim for widow's benefits and repaying the benefits you've received, it sounds likely that your only remaining option would be to file for retirement benefits on your own record at some point in time. There's probably no point in doing that unless your own rate would be higher than your reduced widow's rate. Your own rate would continue to grow until you reach age 70, so that would likely be the optimal time to file on your own record if your own rate is in fact higher at that time.

You may want to consider using the maximization software available on this website to explore your options and determine your best strategy.

Best, Jerry