My husband passed away in December 2014 at the age of 56. I am now 61 years old and am trying to get a grasp on all my options. How do I find out what his social security benefits would have been so I know when would be the best time to file for widow benefits?
I'm sorry for your loss.
If you have a record of your husband's earnings history or if you can obtain that from Social Security, the maximization software available on this website can calculate your potential widow's benefit rate and help you determine the best time to file. Even if you can only obtain your husband's primary insurance amount (PIA) from Social Security, though, the software will be able to use that figure to help you determine when to file.
Assuming that you are also insured for benefits on your own record, 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 at age 62 or as soon as your earnings will permit benefits to be paid, then file for unreduced widow's benefits at full retirement age.
Our maximization software can tell you which of the above filing strategies is best in your case, as well as when to apply for each type of benefit.