If I Die Before Age 70, Can My Wife Get A Higher Widow's Rate If She Waits To Claim Widow's Benefits Until I Would Have Been 70?

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Jul 27 2020 - 11:07am

My wife is 69 and already collecting SS. I turn 66 this October and plan on delaying SS until 70. If I die before I turn 70, can my wife wait until my 70th birthday to start collecting spousal benefits for maximum payout or do they stop accruing if I die before 70?

Hi,

No, the widow's rate payable on your record would not continue to grow after your death, other than for cost of living increases. Delayed retirement credits (DRC) can only be credited for months prior to the month of a person's death. So, if you die at full retirement age (FRA) or before, then no DRCs would be used in the calculation of your wife's widow's rate even if she waited past the time you would have reached FRA to claim widow's benefits. If you die between FRA and age 70 and if you never drew benefits, your wife's widow's rate would include credit for the DRCs you earned prior to your death.

Best, Jerry