Can A Surviving Spouse Receive Benefits At Age 63?

Jul 5 2016 - 4:00pm

Can a spouse who is 63 years old and whose husband recently died at 60 years old, collect social security payments?

Hi,

The answer is maybe. First off, the surviving spouse must meet all of the requirements for entitlement (see: https://www.ssa.gov/OP_Home/handbook/handbook.04/handbook-0401.html), and there is an earnings test that applies to Social Security benefits payable prior to full retirement age. So, if the person is earning substantially more than the 2016 earnings exempt amount of $15,720, they may not be able to receive benefits until they stop or reduce their work, or reach full retirement age (66 for someone currently age 63), even if they meet all of the entitlement requirements.

Reduced widow(er)'s benefits can start as early as age 60, or age 50 if the widow(er) is disabled. At age 63, the reduction would amount to around 14%. If the widow(er) is also eligible for benefits on their own record, they can file for reduced benefits on one account, and unreduced on the other record at full retirement age, or at age 70 if the higher benefit is on their own record.

If you're asking this question on your own behalf, you may wish to consider running the maximization software available on this website in order to sort out your best option.

Best, Jerry