When Should I File For Widow's Benefits?

Jul 23 2016 - 5:30pm

My husband died in 2002 leaving one child under 19 years of age. He received SS benefits until he completed high school. I did not receive widows benefits. I retired last August at 62 and moved from CA to MI. I began receiving my own SS in Sept. My understanding is that when I am 66 I can take my full survivor's benefits and that waiting until 70 or ? would not increase my benefits. Is this correct?

Hi,

Yes, you are correct that there is no advantage to waiting past full retirement age, which is 66 for you, to file for your widow's benefits. Provided that your husband did not receive reduced Social Security benefits prior to his death, filing for your widow's benefits when you reach age 66 is almost certainly the best option for you.

On the off chance that he did receive reduced SS benefits before he died, you would want to file at some point prior to age 66. In that event, you may wish to consider running the maximization software available on this website in order to determine the best month to start.

Best, Jerry