Ask Larry

Widow(er) Benefits

Can My Wife Take Her Social Security Benefits At Age 62 Without Reducing Her Future Survivor Rate?

Dear Mr Kotlikoff:

I am 72 years old and my wife is 58. My social security is near the maximum possible (45,000/year). I want to be sure that when I die my wife will receive my full social security amount. Can she take social security on her record at 62 with out reducing her survivors benefit when I die or should she wait until her FRA?


Hi Gerald,

Tuesday, October 20, 2020 - 10:45

How Do I Get Widower Benefits?

How do I get widower benefits I was married 22 years he passed away 10 years. Is there any way I can get widower benefits because I can't live on 728 a month that all I get


The only way that you could get widow(er) benefits is by filing an application with Social Security. You can initiate that process by calling 800-772-1213.

Thursday, August 6, 2020 - 09:39

Is My Sister's Husband Eligible To Draw Off Of Her SSI?

My sister recently passed away,Her husband is retired. And drawing his SSI. Is he eligible to draw off her SSI?


I'm sorry for your loss.

By SSI, I assume that you're referring to Social Security benefits. The surviving member of a couple can generally only be paid the higher of their own benefit rate or their deceased spouse's benefit rate. Therefore, it sounds like your brother-in-law could only qualify for widower's benefits if your sister's benefit rate was, or would have been, higher than his own rate.

Monday, August 3, 2020 - 10:30

How Much Would My Husband Or I Be Paid If One Of Us Dies?

Hi Larry,

I am 65, recently retired ss amount is 1224 a month
My husband is 73, his ss amount is 211.00. He receives spousal amt totalling 593.00 (the 211 is taken away). If either of us dies, how would survival or spousal benefit work for my husband? Would my husband be eligible and how much would he be eligible for? Would I lose any ss if he passes first? Thank you.


Monday, July 13, 2020 - 12:27

Do I Have To Wait Until I'm Age 60 To Collect Survivor Benefits?

Hello Larry,
My wife passed in April 2016 she was 53. I am 59 now. Do I have to wait until I am 60 to collect Survivor benefits ?
Thank you


I'm sorry for your loss.

The only way that you could qualify for widower benefits prior to age 60 if a) you're disabled or b) you have a child in your care who is either under age 16 or disabled, and the child is eligible for benefits on your wife's record.

Best, Jerry

Wednesday, June 24, 2020 - 09:52
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