At What Age Should I Switch From A Mother's Benefit To A WIdow's Benefit?

Apr 22 2019 - 4:50pm

My husband passed away last year. He started receiving his benefits at age 62. Due to our disabled adult son, I receive a mother's benefit. I am currently 61, and will be 62 by the end of summer. My question is, at what age should I switch from a mother's benefit to a widow's benefit whereby I will be getting what my husband was getting at the time of his death.


I'm sorry for your loss.

Your maximum widow's rate would be limited to the higher of a) 82.5% of your husband's primary insurance amount (PIA), or b) your husband's reduced monthly benefit rate at the time of his death augmented by any subsequent cost of living increases. If your husband started drawing his benefits at age 62 and didn't lose any benefits to the Social Security earnings test, then the higher of those 2 amounts would be 82.5% of his PIA. If you're now age 61, you would likely be eligible for 82.5% of your husband's PIA if you switch to widow's benefits anytime after reaching roughly age 62 1/2.

Depending on the family maximum benefit rate that can be paid on your husband's record, it's possible that when you switch from mother's benefits to widow's benefits it could cause your son's benefit rate to be lowered. I can't tell you whether or not that will happen in your case without additional information, though. Before filing for widow's benefits you may want to consider using our software to help you determine the best possible month and year to make the switch.

Best, Jerry