Ask Larry

What Amount Will My Wife Get As A Widow?

Larry, my wife, born in 1951, is now age 67. A year ago or so, she started her social security benefit based on her own earnings record at her Full Retirement Age 66. I was born in 1949. A couple of years ago, I filed and suspended my benefit in March 2016 (prior to April 29, 2016) at my age 67 and have been letting my credits increase. I am now 69+ and planning on delaying a few more months until I am age 70 in 2019 to start my benefit. Assuming I die after having started to receive my age 70 benefit, what amount will my wife get as a widow benefit? Will it be 100% of the amount I started getting at age 70? Or, will she get only the smaller amount I would have gotten if I had taken my benefit at my full retirement age 66?

Hi,

If you die before your wife she'll get the higher of her own benefit rate or your full benefit rate. So, if you wait until age 70 to start drawing your benefits your wife would get your full age 70 rate as a widow. Technically, she'd continue to be paid her own benefits, plus the difference between that amount and your benefit amount as a widow. The total, though, would add up to your full age 70 rate.

Best, Jerry

Posted: 
Oct 7 2018 - 6:48am
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