What Widow's Benefits Are Available?

Jul 1 2016 - 11:45am

I am helping a neighbor, Betty, navigate the Social Security maze. Betty is approaching full retirement age and is still working. Her first marriage lasted more than ten years and ended in divorce. Her ex is now deceased. She married again at age 58. Her second husband recently passed away and Betty is now unmarried. Is Betty entitled to her ex’s survivor benefit if it is larger than her late husband’s survivor benefit? p.s. Your latest "Get What's Yours" book is terrific. Thanks, Frank

Frank, she can claim a widow's benefit on either of her ex's records as long as she was married to each for at least 9 months. After FRA, the Earnings Test is no longer applied and in the year she attains FRA, the exempt amount is significantly higher than in previous years. See this link for more on the Earnings Test. Thanks, John