Will My Wife's Widow's Rate Be Calculated Including All Of The COLAs I Received?

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Apr 30 2019 - 10:24am

Larry, Question is on RIB-LIM, my PIA is 35,000 at age 67. I am currently 62 and plan on taking Social Security at age 62 which will pay me a reduced benefit of 70%, so I would receive 24,500. My wife does not have enough years of service to qualify for her own social security (she will get a pension - which will be another question related to GPO another day when you answer this one). If I die at age 80, will my wife receive survivor beneifits at 82.5% of my PIA(including all the COLAs from age 63 to 80 which i will peg at 1%) so the Future Value of my PIA for 18 years at 1% = 41,865 or the higher of my current benefit that I would be getting at age 80 with same calculation comes out to 29,305? Is my method (assuming 1% COLA is accurate) to arrrive at Future Value correct to do the comparison for my wife to collect?

Hi,

Yes, if you file at age 62 and die before your wife, her unreduced widow's benefit would be calculated at 82.5% of your primary insurance amount (PIA) inclusive of all Social Security cost of living increases that occur after you reach age 62.

My expertise is limited to Social Security benefits, so I can't address questions about future value. But, for example, say that by the time of your death your PIA has risen to $3600. If your monthly benefit rate is less than 82.5% of that amount because you started drawing your benefits at age 62 and assuming that your wife is at least full retirement age (FRA) at the time of your death, then her unreduced widow's rate would amount to $2970 (i.e. 82.5% of $3600 .

Best, Jerry