Ask Larry

Will My Benefits Go Up In The Future?

My husband was 47 & drawing SSD, I was 60,drawing SSD. Husband passed away in June of 2013 @ 47 years old.I was drawing my $1015.00 & $269.oo I will be 65 in Jan.29,2016,will I be able to draw all my husband's that he was getting when he passed.$1402,00? & allso keep a getting my $1015.00? I was also married to a man for 16 years before this marriage,he is retired & drawing over $ 1900. a month.Can I get any of his?This is very confusing.

Thanks Susan

Hi Susan,

You'll never be eligible for 2 full benefits, but it sounds like your benefit rate should be increased effective with the month you reach age 66, which is your full retirement age (FRA). This is due to a rather arcane provision in the Social Security rules that results in removing the reduction in widow's benefits at full retirement age for someone who was entitled to disability benefits on their own record when they became eligible for reduced widow's or disabled widow's benefits (
This recalculation should raise your combined benefit rate up to the full amount that your husband was receiving, plus any cost of living increases that have occurred since his death. The problem is that this recalculation is done on an automated basis, so it may take up to 18 months after you reach FRA before you see the increase. Social Security will, however, pay you any back pay due retroactive to the month you reached FRA.

With regard to your former husband, as long as he is living your potential divorced spousal benefit rate would be 50% of his full retirement age benefit amount (PIA). And, if the amount that you are drawing on your own record plus your excess widow's benefit exceeds 50% of his PIA, you would not be eligible for divorced spousal benefits. However, if he dies before you, you would be eligible for up to 100% of his benefit rate, so you should definitely file for survivor benefits on his account in that event. You would only get a total of the higher benefit, though, not 100% of his benefit in addition to your own.

Best, Jerry

Nov 2 2016 - 11:30am
MaxiFi software running on a laptop
Get What's Yours!
Discover tens of thousands in extra retirement dollars with Maximize My Social Security software!
  • Find your maximized strategy
  • Unlimited what-ifs
  • Step-by-Step filing instructions
  • Our software's lifetime-benefit increase for an illustrative couple earning $65K each and planning to take retirement benefits at 62.

    Results will differ based on your specific case and filing strategy.

Getting Started is Easy
Web-based software. Works on ALL browsers. No download.