When Should I Apply For Survivor Benefits?

Feb 22 2018 - 12:22pm

When should I apply for SS survivor benefits after my husband passes? Immediately or wait til the whole estate is settled? He passed at age 66. Before he started receiving his SS benefits he was on disability. When he turned 65 SS changed his status from disabled to straight SS. He continued to receive the same amount. I too am receiving SS. I will be 65 in May. I started receiving my benefits at age 62.


I'm sorry for your loss.

You certainly don't need to wait until the estate is settled, since that would be irrelevant to Social Security. Assuming that your husband's benefit rate is higher than your own rate, though, you may want to consider waiting until age 66 to file for widow's benefits. That way you'll receive an unreduced widow's benefit, which would then be added to your own reduced benefit rate to bring your total monthly benefit amount up to your husband's full rate. If you file for widow's benefits now, they will be reduced for age.

Before filing, you may want to consider using our maximization software in order to compare your options to help you decide when to claim your widow's benefits.

BTW, there is a one-time $255 death benefit for which you could file even if you delay taking or don't qualify for widow's benefits.

Best, Jerry