When Would Be The Best Time For Me To Apply For Widow's Benefits?

Mar 14 2017 - 7:30am

My husband was 66 and passed away recently. My husband and I thought I would get that same amount he was receiving in Soc Sec if he should pass away before me. Of course I found out that's wrong. I am 58. My husband began receiving SS benefits at 62 because we needed the money to make ends meet. What would be the better time/age for me to apply for widow benefits? I haven't worked full time since 1997.
Thank you, Jackie

Hi Jackie,

I'm sorry for your loss.

Your best strategy is likely one of the following:
1) File for widow's benefits at age 60, then switch to your own record at age 70; or,
2) File for reduced retirement benefits at age 62, then for widow's benefits when they reach their maximum rate.

You will likely want to file for the lower benefit first, and save the higher benefit for when it reaches it's highest point. Since your husband took reduced retirement at age 62, your widow's benefits would likely reach their maximum rate when you are around age 62 and 6 months.

The maximization software available on this website can help you determine which of the above filing strategies is best, and when to apply for each benefit.

Best, Jerry