What Do I Do Next?

Jun 24 2020 - 9:30am

Hello my question is my husband passed away may31,2019 his age 55 he was disable had 3 amputations and passed under heart surgery may 31,2019,and I am 59 yrs.old I will be 60 in September,I would like to know will I qualify for his social security benefits?I was his payee couldn't work I took care of him til his passing on,recently found a job,my health isn't the best these days I am planning on quiting my job because of my health and I don't know what to do because I like my job,what are my chances can I do a few hours or how much is widow benefits?my husband was on SSI and Social Security,Thank you I'm trying to figure out what next to do.


I'm sorry for your loss.

It sounds like you could probably qualify for widow's benefits as early as age 60, or even earlier if you're disabled. I can't tell you how much your benefit would be, but if you start drawing at age 60 your widow's rate would be reduced for age to roughly 71.5% of your husband's primary insurance amount (PIA). Your husband's PIA would be equal to his full Social Security disability (SSDI) benefit rate inclusive of any Social Security cost of living increases that occurred after his death. If you waited until full retirement age (FRA) to start drawing widow's benefits you would be eligible for 100% of your husband's PIA.

If you file for widow's benefits prior to FRA and you're still working, you can earn up to $18,240 this year without losing any of your benefits. That earnings test exempt amount is adjusted each year.

If you could qualify for SSDI benefits on your own account you could only be paid basically the higher of your own benefit rate or your widow's rate. SSDI benefits are not reduced for age, so if you think that your impairment(s) could be classified as disabling then you should strongly consider filing for SSDI benefits. If you don't qualify for SSDI but you do have enough credits to qualify for Social Security retirement benefits, you could start drawing your retirement benefits as early as age 62. Again, though, you can't be paid both your own benefits and a full widow's benefit at the same time, just the higher of the two benefit rates.

Your best filing strategy depends on your relative benefit rates, how much you'll be earning, and whether or not you can qualify for SSDI benefits. Since I don't have any way of knowing any of those things, I can't really give you any specific advice.

Best, Jerry