Will My Widow's Benefits Be Taxed Or Reduced Due To My Earnings?

Jul 19 2016 - 12:15pm

I am 57, working full time. I will collect widow benefits at 60. Will this benefit be taxable or reduced because I will still be working full time?

Hi,

If you apply for benefits prior to full retirement age, Social Security will withhold $1 of benefits for each $2 that you earn in excess of an exempt amount, which in 2016 is set at $15720. The exempt amount is higher in the year you reach full retirement age, and the withholding rate drops to $1 for each $3 of excess earnings.

You may also have to pay taxes on at least a portion of any Social Security benefits that you do receive. How much, if any, of the benefits are considered taxable depends on your total income. See this link for more information: https://www.ssa.gov/planners/taxes.html.

Since you will apparently be eligible for both widow's benefits as well as retirement benefits on your own record, you may wish to consider running the maximization software available on this website. You will likely either want to start widow's benefits first, then switch to your own record at age 70, or start reduced benefits on your own record first, and switch to widow's benefits at full retirement age. The software will help you determine the best possible strategy for you.

Best, Jerry