How Much Will My Wife's Widow's Benefit Be?

Jul 11 2016 - 11:45am

Rick (retired) began receiving social security benefits early at age 62. Now, at age 65, he currently receives $1800 per month. Wife Vickie is 64. A recent social security benefits statement indicates she can currently file for benefits and receive $1100 per month (based on her own earnings). We understand the disadvantages of Vickie filing early for benefits, but with Rick's health somewhat questionable, see little reason for Vickie to defer filing for two more years, if we also assume Rick's life expectancy is only 5-10 more years. Having done much research, it is our understanding that if Rick dies and if Vickie has reached age 66, she will qualify to receive Rick's $1800 monthly benefit (spousal benefit). Before Vickie files for benefits early (now at age 64), we just want to verify our understanding is correct, i.e., she will qualify to receive Rick's benefit (in lieu of her own benefit). We get it that she would NOT receive both $1800 plus $1100 per month, but want to make sure she'd get $1800/month. Thank you.

Rick,
Since you filed for your retirement benefit early, Vickie's widow's benefit will actually be more than $1,800/month due to the RIB LIM provision, https://secure.ssa.gov/poms.nsf/lnx/0300615320, even if she files for it before her full retirement age. Our software, MaximizeMySocialSecurity, can calculate the exact amount of her widow's benefit.
Best,
Mike