Ask Larry

Is It Correct That My Wife Would Get The Full Benefit I Was Receiving At The Time Of My Death?

I waited this year until I was age 70 to maximize the amount of Social Security that my wife will get when I die, as on her own she will receive 30% less than I receive. She is only age 63. If she waits until she reaches FRA at 66 + 4 months, and I die after that, can you confirm that she will receive the current amount that I am receiving at the time, the DRC (delayed retirement credit). If you talk or chat with an agent, they always talk about the FRA, but I read the regulations, and although not very clear, it says that she will get the greater of either her benefits at the time of my death, or my benefits at the my death.
Part 2: Is there a better strategy?


If you die before your wife and she's at least full retirement age (FRA) when you die, then yes she'll get your full benefit rate inclusive of DRCs unless her own benefit rate is higher than yours. In other words, she'd receive the higher of your rate or her own rate, not both.

It sounds like the only decision left for you and your wife is when she should start drawing her benefits. There are a number of variables involved in making that decision, and which strategy is 'best' is largely a matter of personal opinion. Your wife may want to strongly consider using our software ( to compare her options so that she can make the best possible decision on when to start drawing her benefits.

Best, Jerry

Jul 18 2019 - 3:27pm
MaxiFi software running on a laptop
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.
$40 Annual Household License
$250 Annual Financial Advisor License