What Benefits Am I Entitled To As A Widow At Age 60?

Category: 
Feb 7 2019 - 5:13pm

I am a widow, age 60, never remarried, what benefits am I entitled to?
can I still work as well?

Hi,

Assuming that you meet the requirements for widow's benefits (https://www.ssa.gov/OP_Home/handbook/handbook.04/handbook-0401.html), you could potentially qualify for widow's benefits now that you've reached age 60. However, if you file for widow's benefits prior to your full retirement age (FRA), your benefit rate will be reduced for age. Also, if you file for widow's benefits prior to FRA and you are still working, your benefits could be fully or partially withheld if you earn too much (https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/whileworking.html).

It sounds like your best strategy would likely be one of the following:
1) File for reduced widow's benefits now or as soon as your earnings will permit at least some 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 at least some benefits to be paid, then file for unreduced widow's benefits at your full retirement age (FRA). However, if your husband received reduced Social Security retirement benefits prior to his death, then it would likely be more advantageous to claim widow's benefits at some point prior to your FRA.

Normally, you would want to start out drawing the lower benefit first and then switch to the higher record when it reaches it's highest potential rate. Our maximization software could sort all of this out for you and help you determine your optimal strategy.

Best, Jerry