Ask Larry

How Will It Impact My Wife If I Start Collecting Benefits Before FRA?

I am 64 my wife is 58. My wife workrd for 12 years and paid into social security. If I collect social security before FRA how will that impact her. What would she get if i passed away. Thanks Bill

Hi Bill. Taking your benefits early wouldn't adversely affect your wife's own benefit rate or any potential spousal benefits that she qualifies for while you're living, but it would limit the amount she could be paid as a widow. If you start drawing your benefits at age 64, the most that your wife could be paid in the event of your death is the higher of her own benefit rate or your reduced benefit rate. If you instead waited until age 70 to start drawing your benefits and subsequently die before your wife, she could get up to the higher of her own benefit rate or your full age 70 rate if she's at least full retirement age (FRA) when she starts collecting widow's benefits.

You and your wife may want to strongly consider using our software ( to fully analyze all of your options so that you can determine the best overall strategy for maximizing your benefits.

Best, Jerry

Apr 21 2022 - 6:20pm
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