Ask Larry

What Is The Best Strategy For Me?

Larry,
I was married for over 17 years. My ex was 80 when he died and he had been taking his social security. There was 22 years difference in our ages. I am currently 61 1/2 born in 1960. He was born in 1938.
If I have read everything there is to "find" for deceased ex-spouse and social security, Since I am over age 60 and have not re-married at age 60 (and preferably 1 month) if I marry in this year, I am eligible for either spousal benefits or my own anytime after age 62 (and preferably 1 month). I can continue with spousal benefits and let my own social security benefits grow until age 70, when I could switch to my own social security benefits.
I am trying to strategize the best plan for me- each persons situation is their own. Since I have several health issues I would like to retire at age 63 rather than wait until at least age 65 where I would be eligible for Medicare.
Calling social security agents are not extremely helpful in this unique situation.

Hi. I'm not sure I follow your entire question. You could apply for survivor benefits and let your own benefits grow until age 70, but if you remarry you couldn't apply for spousal benefits on your new husband's record without being required to claim your own benefits at the same time. Only people born prior to January 2 1954 are allowed to apply for spousal or divorced spousal benefits on the account of a living spouse or ex-spouse without being required to claim their own benefits at the same time.

Remarrying at age 60 or later would not prevent you from being able to collect survivor benefits from your first husband's account. It sounds like your best filing strategy depends on your relative benefit rates and how much you are currently earning. Your best strategy is almost certainly one of the following:
1) File for reduced survivor 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 full retirement age (FRA). However, if your deceased ex-husband started drawing his benefits prior to his FRA, then it would probably be more advantageous for you to claim survivor benefits at some point prior to your FRA.

Basically, you would likely want to start out drawing the lower benefit first and then switch to the higher benefit when it reaches it's highest potential rate. Our software (https://maximizemysocialsecurity.com/purchase) could help sort all of this out for you so that you can determine the best strategy for maximizing your benefits.

Best, Jerry

Category: 
Posted: 
Aug 30 2021 - 10:09am
MaxiFi software running on a laptop
Get What's Yours!
Discover tens of thousands in extra retirement dollars with Maximize My Social Security software!
  • Find your maximized strategy
  • Unlimited what-ifs
  • Step-by-Step filing instructions
  • Our software's lifetime-benefit increase for an illustrative couple earning $65K each and planning to take retirement benefits at 62.

    Results will differ based on your specific case and filing strategy.

Getting Started is Easy
Web-based software. Works on ALL browsers. No download.
$40 Annual Household License
$299 Annual Financial Advisor License