Does A Full-Time Job Affect Widow's Benefits?

Category: 
Oct 25 2017 - 4:48am

My husband passed away when I was 60, and Social Security told me I could not get Widow Benefits because I'm not disabled and my salary is over $17,000 gross per year. I am still working full-time and currently 62 years old. Does a full-time job paying over $17,000 affect my widows benefit status, if any?

Hi,

I'm sorry for your loss.

Yes, the Social Security earnings test could limit your ability to draw benefits prior to full retirement age (https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/whileworking2.html). However, you still may be able to draw some benefits depending on your benefit rate and earnings level.

Your best filing strategy is likely one of the following:
1) File for reduced widow's benefits now or as soon as your earnings will permit benefits to be paid, then switch to your own record at age 70; or,
2) File for reduced retirement benefits on your own record now or as soon as your earnings will permit benefits to be paid, then file for unreduced widow's benefits at full retirement age. However, if your husband received reduced retirement benefits prior to his death, then it would likely be optimal to file on his record sooner than when you reach full retirement age.

Our maximization software can factor in all of the above variables and determine which of the above filing strategies is best in your case, as well as when to apply for each type of benefit.

Best, Jerry