Ask Larry

Will I Be Eligible To Collect Widow's Benefits When I Turn Age 60?

My husband was on Social Security Disability from 2002 until he died in December 2016, just shy of his 62nd birthday. I was 53 at the time of his death and I am now 54 years old. I have no dependent children under the age of 18. Will I be eligible to collect Widow/Survivors Benefits when I turn 60? I have always worked and I believe that my earnings will be higher than his when I reach retirement age. I was told by the SS Office that I could file for Widow benefits at age 60, but I would only be eligible to receive $1332/month, and if I choose to do that I can only earn $1332 myself or for every $2 that I go over the $1332 they would deduct $1 from his benefit.


I'm sorry for your loss.

Yes, it sounds like you could qualify for widow's benefits as early as age 60, or even earlier if you become disabled. However, your benefit rate will be reduced if you start drawing your widow's benefits before full retirement age (FRA). And, if you are still working at that time, the Social Security earnings test ( could limit the amount of benefits that you could draw until you reach FRA.

In all likelihood, your best strategy is one of the following:
1) File for reduced widow's benefits at age 60 or as soon as your earnings will permit 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 benefits to be paid, then file for unreduced widow's benefits at full retirement age.

Our maximization software can help you determine which of the above filing strategies is best in your case, as well as when to apply for each type of benefit.

Best, Jerry

Sep 1 2017 - 7:04am
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