Do I Get My Deceased Husband's Benefit Or Mine?

Category: 
Oct 25 2017 - 5:28am

My husband just died at age 79 - he was retired and getting his SSI, I am working full time and am getting my SSI , I am 70, what happens now? Do I get his SS and lose mine? His was more than mine.

Hi,

I'm sorry for your loss.

By SSI, I assume that you mean Social Security benefits and not Supplemental Security Income (SSI). If that's the case, you would likely be eligible for the higher of a) your own retirement benefit rate, or b) your husband's retirement rate. If your husband's rate was higher than yours, you'll need to file an application for widow's benefits. There is also a one-time death benefit of $255 that you can apply for regardless of whose rate was higher. It would probably be best just to contact Social Security and ask them what you need to do.

If you do qualify for widow's benefits, you won't exactly lose your own retirement benefit. What Social Security would do in that event is continue to pay you your own benefit, plus the difference in your rate and your husband's rate as an secondary widow's benefit. The total, though, would add up to essentially the amount that your husband was receiving, and could even be a bit higher than that if he started drawing his benefits at age 62.

Best, Jerry