What Are My Options?

Category: 
Oct 2 2017 - 4:33pm

Hi,
Widow benefits? my husband was born in 1943 and started to collect retirement benefits in 2009. He passed away this year. I was born in 1958. What are my options?

thank you

Hi,

I'm sorry for your loss.

Unless you are disabled the earliest that you could draw widow's benefits is at age 60, but your benefit rate will be reduced if you do so. And, there is a limit on earnings that would apply until you reach full retirement age if you continue to work (https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/whileworking2.html).

Assuming that you are insured for benefits on your own record, your best filing strategy is likely one of the following:
1) File for reduced widow's benefits at age 60 or as soon as your earnings will permit benefits to be paid, then switch to your own record at age 70; or,
2) File for reduced retirement benefits on your own record at age 62 or as soon as your earnings will permit benefits to be paid, then file for unreduced widow's benefits at full retirement age. However, if your husband received reduced retirement benefits prior to his death, then it would likely be optimal to file on his record sooner than when you reach full retirement age.

Our maximization software can factor in all of the above variables and determine which of the above filing strategies is best in your case, as well as when to apply for each type of benefit.

Best, Jerry