At What Point Would I Be Able To Collect Benefits?

Category: 
May 15 2019 - 4:00pm

Hi Larry - I'm 62 years old - born in 1957, but husband died in 2011 at the age of 56 (he was born in 1955) I work full time and make more than $80,000. At what point would I be able to collect his/my social security ?

Hi,

I'm sorry for your loss.

Your annual earnings in excess of $80,000 would likely prevent you from receiving benefits prior to the year you reach your full retirement age (FRA), but it really depends on your potential benefit rates as well as what the exempt amount of earnings is set at under Social Security's earnings test in future years (https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/whileworking.html). The earnings test would require the withholding of $1 of your benefits for each $2 that you earn in excess of the yearly exempt amount until the year you reach FRA, but whether or not that would mean withholding all of your benefits depends or your monthly benefit rate.

Your best strategy with regard to claiming your benefits is almost certainly 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 now 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).

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 software could sort all of this out for you and help you determine your optimal filing strategy.

Best, Jerry