Ask Larry

Is My Friend Entitled To More Money Now That She's Reached Her Full Retirement Age?

Ok Larry a friend of mine received ssdi from her benefits for 30 yrs. She now reached her full retiremen is she entitled tomore money plus widows which she has been collecting for 30 yrs

Hi. The rate of your friend's Social Security disability (SSDI) benefit won't change when she reaches full retirement age (FRA). SSDI benefits automatically convert to regular Social Security retirement benefits when a person reaches FRA, but their monthly benefit rate stays the same.

If your friend is just now reaching FRA then she couldn't have been collecting Social Security widow's benefits for 30 years. The earliest that a person can qualify for widow's benefits if they're disabled is age 50. It's possible that your friend may have collected Social Security survivor benefits prior to age 50, but only if she had an eligible child in her care. Such child in care survivor benefits are called mother's or father's benefits, not widow's benefits.

If what your friend receives is in fact a Social Security widow's benefit then her widow's rate could go up at FRA, but only if her widow's benefit entitlement started later than or at the same time as her SSDI benefits. When a a person is eligible for both SSDI benefits and a higher widow's benefit, Social Security pays the full SSDI rate plus a partial widow's benefit that can be as much as the full difference between the higher widow's rate and the SSDI rate. In other words, the widow can only be paid up to the higher of the two benefit rates, not both full benefit rates.

However, if a person starts drawing widow's benefits prior to FRA then their benefit rate is reduced for age. Normally that reduction in their rate is permanent, but if the widow was already collecting SSDI benefits at the time they started drawing reduced widow's benefits then the reduction for age applied to their widow's benefits is removed when they reach FRA. So, if sounds as though your friend's survivor benefit rate might increase now that she's reached FRA, assuming that she's a) drawing reduced widow's benefits, and b) she didn't start drawing widow's benefits prior to when her SSDI benefits started.

Best, Jerry

Oct 15 2021 - 6:18am
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