So Which Is Right (Part II)?

Jun 18 2017 - 8:18am

This is related to my previous question, So Which Is Right, Jerry answered on Jun 17 2017 - 7:32am
First of all, thank you for very prompt reply.
But that was not kind of confusion on my side that Jerry suggested.
This is the situation:
I called SSA 06/15/2017, and gave to a SSA representative I was talking to this information:
- I am turning 69 this year. My Social Security benefits were initiated and immediately suspended as of November 2014, so I will receive benefit with DRC when I start receiving them.
- My spouse just turned FRA, and started receiving benefits on my work records, which is 1/2 of my benefits I would receive if started receiving them at FRA.
Then I asked him:
-Will my spouse receive widow benefits that include my DRC in case if I die?
He answered :
-No, those DRC only you are entitled to receive. Maximum what your spouse will receive is double of what she is receiving now, i.e. your FRA benefits without DRC.
And he confirmed that again on my request, so there was no ambiguity regarding his answer.
Was his answer correct? I understand that SSA people may be mistaken too. If his answer was not correct, can you give a reference to some SSA document that gives the right answer?
I feel my spouse may need that reference, if she happen to be in situation to receive survivor benefits, and the SSA person to decide on her benefit has the same opinion that the one I talked to.

Thank you,
Sincerely,
Val

Hi Val,

No, what the Social Security employee told you was incorrect. If you die first, your surviving spouse would be eligible for up to your full retirement benefit rate inclusive of any delayed retirement credits (DRC) that you earn. If you die before you start receiving benefits, your spouse's survivor rate would be calculated as though you had started drawing benefits effective with your month of death, and would include the DRCs that you had accrued up to that time. Here is a link to the appropriate reference from Social Security's operations manual: https://secure.ssa.gov/apps10/poms.nsf/lnx/0300615702.

Best, Jerry