Ask Larry

Is It True That I Can't Collect My Deceased Husband's Benefits For More Than The Past Nine Months?

Hello, I have been receiving my SS benefits since my husband passed away in July 2020. I realized that I could be receiving more under my husband's
name. When I called the SS office; I was told I can only receive his benefits for the past 9 months instead of when he passed away. Do you know
if that is true or not? Kind Regards, Karen

Hi Karen. I'm sorry for your loss. Actually, the limit on payment of retroactive widow's benefits is 6 months prior to the date you file your application. And, if you're under full retirement age (FRA) then you may not be able to claim any retroactive benefits. The only way that you could be paid benefits for more than six months prior to the month in which you apply is if you established some type of earlier protective filing date (

Furthermore, since you're apparently already collecting your own benefits you could only qualify for additional survivor benefits if your survivor benefit rate is higher than your own benefit rate. If you're under your FRA, then the best time for you to claim survivor benefits depends on a number of different variables, so you may want to consider using our software ( to fully compare and analyze all of your options so that you can determine your best strategy for maximizing your benefits.

Best, Jerry

Mar 28 2023 - 1:41pm
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