Why Can't I Draw My Own SS If I Receive Widow's Benefits?

Jun 21 2020 - 4:07pm

I receive widows benefits,why can't I draw my own SS. I am 75. I paid in for over 50years. What happens to my money?


You can draw your own Social Security benefits, but you can't draw both your own benefits and a full widow's benefit at the same time. The most you can be paid is either your own benefit rate or your widow's rate. The reason for that is simply that it's stated that way in the Social Security law that congress passed into law.

If you're drawing your own benefits and your spouse dies before you, you can only be paid the higher of the two amounts. However, your own benefits wouldn't stop in that event. Instead, you'd continue to be paid your own benefits, and if your spouse's rate was higher than your own rate you'd also be paid a partial widow's benefit in addition to your own benefit. The partial widow's benefit would amount to the difference in your benefit and your deceased spouse's rate, so the net result is that you'd then receive a combined rate equal to your deceased spouse's higher rate.

Best, Jerry