Can My Wife Continue To Receive Reduced Spousal Benefits If I Die?

Aug 16 2016 - 11:15am

I am 71, and started my retirement benefit at 70. My wife is 62 and just started receiving her spousal benefit. She does not qualify for benefits on her own record. If I pass away prior to my wife reaching her FRA, can she continue to collect her current spousal benefit until her FRA, and then switch to her 'maximized' survivor benefit?

Hi,

No, she can't. If you die before she reaches full retirement age, which is 66 in her case, her benefits will automatically convert to reduced widow's benefits effective with the month of your death.

On the plus side, her widow's benefit would calculated based on your full benefit amount inclusive of the delayed retirement credits you've earned. If you die when she is 66 or older, she'd receive 100% of your benefit amount. If she's under 66 when you die, her benefit amount would be reduced by 19/48ths of 1% for each month that she's under age 66 at the time of your death.

Best, Jerry