Ask Larry

Do You Think I Can Qualify For Benefits?

Hi..My husband passed away20yrs ago and about 10yrs ago I got married and that marriage lasted for 3yrs..I do have a full time job . Do you think I can qualify for benefit...Thanks


It sounds like you could probably qualify for widow's benefits as early as age 60, but your benefit rate will be reduced for age if you apply prior to your full retirement age (FRA). Also, Social Security has an earnings test that applies until you reach FRA, so if you're earning too much your benefits may need to be fully or partially withheld.

It sounds like your best strategy for claiming benefits would likely be one of the following:
1) File for reduced widow's benefits at age 60 or as soon as your earnings will permit at least some benefits to be paid, then switch to your own record at age 70; or,
2) File for reduced retirement benefits on your own record at age 62 or as soon as your earnings will permit at least some benefits to be paid, then file for unreduced widow's benefits at full retirement age (FRA).

Normally, you would want to start out drawing the lower benefit first and then switch to the higher benefit when it reaches it's highest potential rate. Our software ( could help sort all of this out for you so that you can determine the best strategy for maximizing your benefits.

Best, Jerry

Jun 24 2020 - 8:01am
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