When Should I File For Widow's Benefits?

Feb 15 2017 - 7:00am

My husband died 09/2015 at age 56. I was age 63 at the time of his passing. I was working and I am continuing to work until my full retirement age 66. My birthdate 02/1952. I was earning $54,500 when my husband passed and was told I made too much money to quality for survivor spousal benefit over the $16,920. Now I am reading something about $44,880. This year I turned 65 on 02/2017 and expect to be making $56,500.00 for 2017. Should I be signing up for survivor spousal benefit now? Thinking I would be able to collect on his benefit which is only $100.00 less monthly than my benefit and wait to take my SS at age 70 for the maximum amount?

Thank you,


I'm sorry for your loss.

When you should file depends on your potential benefit rate. If you'll earn $56,500 in 2017, your monthly reduced widow's rate would have to be at least $1800 or so in order for you to be due any benefits this year. If it is higher than that, you would probably want to file right away. Otherwise, it's likely that you would be better off signing up for widow's benefits next January and then switching to your own record at age 70.

You may want to consider running the maximization software available on this website in order to be sure that you make the right filing choices.

Best, Jerry