Ask Larry

Will I Still Qualify For Spousal Benefits From My Deceased Husband?

My husband of 39 years passed away 3 years ago. He was on disability for MS. I was 57 at the time and was not eligible for spousal benefits. I remarried a year ago and recently got divorced. I will be 60 in August of this year. Will I still qualify for spousal benefits from my husband?


I'm sorry for your loss.

Yes, it sounds like you would likely meet the requirements for reduced widow's benefits as early as age 60. A subsequent remarriage does not disqualify a person from qualifying for widow's benefits as long as the remarriage has either ended, or if the person remarried at age 60 or later.

It sounds like your best strategy for claiming benefits 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).

Normally, you would want to start out drawing the lower benefit first and then switch to the higher benefit when it reaches its highest potential rate. Our software ( could help sort all of this out for you so that you can determine the best strategy for maximizing your benefits.

Best, Jerry

May 29 2020 - 9:36am
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