What Benefits Am I Eligible For At Age 60?

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May 21 2017 - 7:46am

This is kind of a 2 part question. First I will be 60 in Feb. I was married to my husband Aug 2008, he passed away in May 2016. He was 59 when he passed away but was on disability. We were married about 7 years. What benefits if any can I receive at age 60 and would it benifit me or how will it affect me later. Part 2, on my phone interview with S.S. They asked if he had been married before, I answered no, very recently I learned differently, he had been married like 18 0r 20 years ago. He was only with his first wife like 2 years. His family assumed his divorce was final years ago. But apparently it was not done until 2007. Him and his first wife only lived together the,first 2 years. How will all of this affect me when it comes to receiving benifits at age 60 or down the road

Hi,

I'm sorry for your loss.

Your husband's first marriage won't affect your benefits in any way, as long as he was divorced and free to marry at the time of your marriage.

If you start taking widow's benefits at age 60, you will be eligible for 71.5% of your husband's primary insurance amount (PIA). His PIA is basically the same as his full monthly disability benefit rate. If you wait until full retirement age (FRA) to file instead, you'll be eligible for 100% of his PIA. Also, there is an earnings test that could affect your ability to receive benefits prior to FRA if you are working (https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/whileworking2.html).

Assuming that you have worked enough to be insured for benefits on your own record, your best 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 at age 62 or as soon as your earnings will permit benefits to be paid, then file for unreduced widow's benefits at FRA.

The maximization software available on this website can help you determine which of these strategies is best in your case.

Best, Jerry