How Much May I Collect In The Event Of My Husband's Death?

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Apr 23 2020 - 5:45pm

Hello. I have a question about my social security benefit. My husband is currently 89 years old and began to collect a retired worker social security benefit at the age of 62. His date of birth is 6/1/30 and is currently receiving $18,174 a year in social security income. I was a traditional stay at home Mother. I am currently 85 and began to collect a social security spousal benefit at the age of 62. My date of birth is 4/26/1934. I am currently receiving $8,850 a year in social security. My question - If my husband should pass away in the next 12 months, how much may I collect as a social security benefit after his death? Will it be my husband's benefit of $18,174? If I can not collect my husband's benefit and my current spousal benefit is more than my surviving benefit, may I continue to collect my spousal benefit even if my husband has passed away? Please advise.

Hi,

If your husband dies before you then your spousal benefits will automatically convert to widow's benefits. When a deceased spouse collected reduced Social Security retirement benefits prior to their death, the benefit rate that their widow can be paid is limited to the higher of a) the deceased worker's reduced benefit rate, or b) 82.5% of the deceased worker's primary insurance amount (PIA). A person's PIA is equal to their Social Security retirement benefit rate if they start drawing at full retirement age (FRA).

Therefore, your benefit rate as a widow should be at least as much as the amount your husband is receiving, and it could even be slightly more than that. You won't get both his amount and your spousal amount though, you'll just get the widows rate.

Best, Jerry