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Widow's Benefits

If My Wife Draws Reduced Benefits Will Her Survivor Benefits Also Be Reduced If I Die Before She Reaches FRA?

I started collecting ss at 70 1/2. My wife is 9 years younger and just turned 62. If she starts collecting now based on my earnings since it is higher than if based on her earnings and I passed away before she reaches fra is she required to take the survivor benefit at that time or can she wait until her fra.

Hi Mel,

Friday, January 19, 2018 - 11:15

Should My Mother Have Automatically Received A Retroactive Payment?


My mother is entitled to 6 months of retroactive payment from Social Security due to the RIB-LIM rule. My father had taken Social Security 3 years early, so my mother should have taken her payment immediately after he died in December 2016. However, she thought she had to wait until her FRA, and I didn't know about RIB-LIM until I came across your website.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018 - 12:18

When Can I Qualify For Widow's Benefits?

I’m inquiring about Survivors or Widows Benefits. My husband died suddenly in October of 2016 at age 58. We were married for 35 Years with no children. I have no previous marriages & have not remarried. He worked full time since the age of 18 & the last 10+ Years was a 6 figure income. He did not apply for any benefits prior to his death. I also have worked mostly full time since age 18 at a much lower income. I have recently learned that I am entitled to file for Survivors Benefit. I am 57 & will be 58 in June of this year.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018 - 10:24

Can I Receive Widow's Benefits From Both Social Security And My Husband's Federal Employment?

my husband was a Federal Employee, he died 15 years ago since then i have been receiving a widows benefit am i entitled to his social security when i turn 60.


I'm sorry for your loss.

The answer is likely yes, assuming that your husband was insured for Social Security. Receipt of a federal civil service survivor annuity would have no adverse affect on your potential Social Security benefits. However, if you start drawing widow's benefits at age 60 as opposed to full retirement age (FRA), your benefit rate will be reduced by 28.5%.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018 - 06:28

Can Widow's Draw There Own Benefits At Age 64 With No Penalty For Work?

Hi Larry, Here is a really complicated question that I hope you can help me make sense of related to widow's benefits. I could swear that at one time I heard that as a widow I could take my own full social security benefit 2 years early (so at age 64 instead of waiting until 66) without penalty for continuing to work. I would like to do that and switch to my late husband's social security benefit when it maxes out (would that be when he would have been 70 or when I would be 70)? I hope this makes sense.

Monday, January 8, 2018 - 06:26

Will My Widow's Benefits Be Reduced If I Start Drawing Them At Age 60?

Mr. Kotlikoff and Assistants:

Thank you for the opportunity to ask a question. I am 57.5 years old in a job over 32 years with an ok pension. I lost my husband of 35 years at age 60 in 2015. I am still reeling and confused on widows benefits. The SSA told me when I am 60 I can claim a 1407 benefit with earned income limitations.

Monday, January 1, 2018 - 08:04

Can I Collect Benefits On My First Husband's Record As Well As My Own?

I am 65 1/2 years old. My first husband passed away 7+years ago and I was told then, that I could receive his Social Security benefits if I did not make more than $15,000 annually. I was also told that if I took his benefits based on his salaries over the years that I could not ever collect social security based on my salaries (which are greater for every year). After reading several Q&A of yours, I am now thoroughly confused. I plan to retire at my full retirement age of 66 in June 2018. Can I then collect his social security benefits and mine also?

Saturday, December 30, 2017 - 07:33

Can I Receive Widow's Benefits From Both Social Security And The VA?

HI. I am a widow of a veteran, I currently receive a VA pention. I was wondering if I could apply for social security benefits as well on behave of my deceased husband?He died when he was 53 he never applied for social security, he was only receiving the same VA pention that I now receive.


I'm not an expert on VA benefits, so I can't tell you what effect receiving a Social Security widow's benefit might have on your VA pension. You'll likely need to check with a VA representative to find out.

Thursday, December 28, 2017 - 06:26

How Much Would I Receive If My Husband Passes?

Hi! I am 43 years old and my husband is 69. We have two kids under the age of 18. If my husband passes, what social security benefit would I receive? How much would I receive? If I collect now ,will that affect how much I would receive at my full retirement age. Thank you.


You would need to have a child in care under age 16 or disabled in order to be eligible for spousal benefits at your current age, but if you do receive spousal benefits it would have no effect on your future benefit rate.

Thursday, December 21, 2017 - 10:56
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