My wife and I are the same age (58). She has mostly been a stay at home mom and has earned very little towards Social Security. I have a government pension that dies with me. I want to maximize her social security benefit. Will she benefit If I wait until 70? Must she wait until 70 to receive the maximum benefit from me? Thanks!
Yes, your wife would be eligible for a higher survivor rate if you wait until age 70 to start drawing your benefits, and, no, she doesn't need to wait until she's age 70 to qualify for a full unreduced widow's rate. Widow's benefits are unreduced as long as the widow(er) is at least full retirement age (FRA) at the time they start drawing the widow's benefit. Therefore, if you live at least until age 70 and you wait until then to start drawing your benefits, and if your wife is at least FRA when she starts drawing survivor benefits, then she would be eligible for your full age 70 rate as a widow. She couldn't be paid that full amount plus her own Social Security benefit rate, though, just the higher of the two amounts.