# How Much Would My Wife's Survivor Benefit Amount Be If I Die Before Taking Benefits?

I am 68 years old and still waiting to begin collecting SS benefits. My wife is also past FRA and is collecting her benefits. My latest SS statement shows my spouse's survivor benefit being what I calculate to be my current PIA. I calculate my current PIA to be what it was in 2021 (when I turned 66 and 2 months) multiplied by the last two years inflation factors of 5.9% in 2022 and 8.7% in 2023. Indeed, using this calculated PIA yields the same result at 70 ( which for me is 46 months of 2/3% per month increase) as what my SS statement shows. So I feel confident that my adjusted PIA is correct. My question is: If I die before beginning my benefits, is my wife's survivor benefit stuck at what my PIA is at the time of death, whereas if I was taking benefits and then die, she would get my actual benefit, assuming it was more than hers? Of course since I am well past my FRA, my actual benefit when I begin collecting will be quite a bit more than my PIA. Am I missing something here? The line on the SS statement that I am refering to is under Survivors Benefits and is titled "Spouse, if benefits start at full retirement age" . I assume that means if your spouse is at full retirement age when she would begin receiving such benefits, not me since the system should know I am already past that point. Just want to make sure there is not a loophole here where spouse can really get shortchanged if I would pass away before starting my benefits.

Thanks!

Clint

Hi Clint. If you die before starting to draw benefits your wife's survivor rate would be calculated based on the benefit rate you would have received if you had started drawing your benefits effective with your month of death. That would include any delayed retirement credits (DRC) you had accrued up until the time of your death. Just to clarify, though, your wife wouldn't get both her own benefit and your full benefit, just the higher of the two amounts.

So, your wife won't be shortchanged if you continue waiting to collect your benefits. In fact, waiting until age 70 to start your benefits would assure your wife of her highest possible survivor rate. However, if your wife starts drawing survivor benefits prior to her full retirement age (FRA), then her benefit rate would be reduced for age. You may want to strongly consider using our software (https://maximizemysocialsecurity.com/purchase) to fully compare and analyze all of your options so that you can determine your best strategy for maximizing your benefits for you and your wife.

Best, Jerry

Posted:
Apr 20 2023 - 7:41am
Get What's Yours!
Discover tens of thousands in extra retirement dollars with Maximize My Social Security software!
• Find your maximized strategy
• Unlimited what-ifs
• Step-by-Step filing instructions
• Our software's lifetime-benefit increase for an illustrative couple earning \$65K each and planning to take retirement benefits at 62.

Results will differ based on your specific case and filing strategy.

Getting Started is Easy
Web-based software. Works on ALL browsers. No download.