If My Wife Dies Could I Take Survivor Benefits While Still Letting My Own Benefit Rate Grow Until Age 70?

Feb 26 2020 - 10:17am

My wife (age 46) is on SSDI. I'm 66. I'm planning to delay taking my own Social Security retirement benefits till I am 70. If my wife dies before that, could I take survivor benefits based on her SSDI while still letting my own retirement benefits gain 8% a year till age 70? Or, would I be "deemed" to have started my benefits earlier too if I file for survivor benefits earllier than 70?
Thanks so much.


Yes, if your wife dies before you apply for your benefits you could claim widower benefits while allowing your own Social Security retirement benefit rate to grow until age 70. In fact, if you were born prior to January 2 1954 you could potentially claim spousal benefits based on your wife's record while she's living, and still allow your own rate to grow until age 70. However, if you were born after January 1 1954 you couldn't claim spousal benefits without being deemed to be filing for your own benefits at the same time. Deeming wouldn't apply if you were filing for survivor benefits, though.

Best, Jerry