Will I Be Able To Get My Deceased Husband's Social Security Benefits When I Reach Age 60?

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Oct 2 2019 - 8:20pm

i will turn 60 in january of 2022 i became a widow in 2008 i was told i couldn't get my husband social security because i work, and i made more then 13,000.00 a year so i wasn't entitled. when i turn 60 years old will i be able to get his social security benefits and still work i heard i should get 75% of his monthly amount which comes out to be around 800.00 a month. my yearly income now is about 32,000.00 year. thank you Cheryl

Hi Cheryl,

I'm sorry for your loss.

You might be able to draw some widow's benefits when you reach age 60, but Social Security would need to withhold $1 of your benefits for each $2 that you earn is excess of the earnings test exempt amount (https://www.ssa.gov/OACT/COLA/rtea.html). The exempt amount this year is $17,640, but the amount changes from one year to the next.

It sounds like your best strategy would likely be one of the following;
1) File for reduced widow's benefits at age 60 or as soon as your earnings will permit at least some benefits to be paid, then switch to your own record at age 70; or,
2) File for reduced retirement benefits on your own record at age 62 or as soon as your earnings will permit at least some benefits to be paid, then file for unreduced widow's benefits at full retirement age (FRA). However, if your deceased spouse received reduced Social Security retirement benefits prior to his death then you would likely want to file for your widow's benefits earlier than FRA.

Normally, you would want to start out drawing the lower benefit first and then switch to the higher record when it reaches it's highest potential rate. Our software could sort all of this out for you and help you determine your optimal strategy.

Best, Jerry