Will My Wife's Widow's Benefits Be Reduced If She Takes Reduced Spousal Benefits?

Jul 28 2017 - 2:33pm

Question regarding Spousal and Survivor’s benefits.

If my spouse obtains her spousal benefit before her FRA then her spousal benefit will be reduced from otherwise. Understood!

Now should I pass AFTER she is older than her FRA will her Survivor’s benefit be reduced as well? Or because she is then beyond her FRA will she then obtain her full benefit?

Thank you for your assistance.


No, your wife's survivor rate wouldn't be reduced if she is at least full retirement age (FRA) at the time of your death. Whether of not she previously filed for reduced retirement or spousal benefits would have no impact of her survivor rate.

However, your wife's potential widow's rate could be affected by when you start drawing your benefits. If you take reduced retirement benefits before FRA, the reduction you take would carry over at least in part to your wife's widow's rate. And conversely, if you wait past FRA to start drawing your benefits, the resulting increase in your rate from delayed retirement credits would carry over to your wife's potential widow's rate.

The maximization software available on this website should be able to help you and your wife decide on your best filing strategy.

Best, Jerry