Is It True That I Can't Receive Benefits Until I'm Age 66?

Category: 
May 24 2017 - 7:09am

Hi,

My husband recently passed away at age 71. He was still working at the time, but we had started to receive his social security payments this past year.
I am 64 and still working. The social security representative I just spoke to said that I cannot continue to receive his benefits until I am age 66, at which point I can apply to receive. Is this correct?

Thanks!

Hi,

I'm sorry for your loss.

Whether or not you can receive benefits prior to age 66 depends on how much you are earning. Social Security would withhold $1 of benefits for each $2 that you earn in excess of $16,920 this year, which could reduce the amount payable to zero (https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/whileworking2.html).

Your best strategy is likely one of the following:
1) File for reduced widow's benefits now or as soon as your earnings will permit payment of some benefits, then switch to your own record at age 70; or,
2) File for reduced retirement benefits on your own record now or as soon as your earnings will permit payment of some benefits, then file for unreduced widow's benefits at your full retirement age.

The maximization software available on this website can help you determine which of these strategies is best in your case, as well as the best time for you to apply for each type of benefit.

Best, Jerry