How Much Will I Receive If My Husband Dies Before Me?

Jun 7 2017 - 3:58pm

My husband was born in 1952, he became disabled and began collecting SSDI in 2011 in the amount of $2000.00 a month. He turned 65 in April of 2017 and also began collecting his pension. I turned 60 this year (born in November of 1956) and have been working since I was 16. I do not reach full retirement age until I turn 66 and 4 mths. and my full benefits would be comparable to his. However, I would like to retire at 62 but I will need the full amount of one of our retirements if he passes away before me. Is that possible in any scenario? Seems if I take anything, either a spouse share on his SSDI or my own retirement at 62 mine will be permanently reduced . If I take my reduced amount at 62 ($1300.00)and he passes away can I get a widows share added to my reduced SS? Or is there another solution? My goal is to get $1800.00 - $2000.00 a month if left alone


Since your full retirement age benefit rate is well over 50% of your husband's benefit rate and you were born after January 1 1954 (, you will not be eligible for spousal benefits as long as your husband is living. And, if you start drawing your retirement benefits before full retirement age, you will be stuck with a reduced benefit rate for as long as both you and your husband are living.

Regardless of when you start drawing your retirement benefits, though, if your husband dies before you and you are at least full retirement age (FRA) when you become eligible for widow's benefits, you will receive the higher of a) your own benefit rate, or b) your husband's full benefit rate. So, for example, if your husband is receiving $2,000 monthly and you are receiving $1300 monthly and he dies after you have reached FRA, you will receive the $2000. In that event, Social Security would continue to pay you your own rate of $1300 plus $700 from your husband's record for a combined rate of $2000. If your husband dies before you reach FRA, you would have the option of either waiting until FRA to receive unreduced widow's benefits as I've just described, or starting your widow's benefits early at a reduced rate.

You may want to strongly consider running the maximization software available on this website in order to explore your filing options and determine your best strategy.

Best, Jerry