Would My Earnings Prevent Me From Collecting Survivor Benefits?

Jul 24 2019 - 9:53am

My wife died and I have one child 10 years old. I understand that the child is entitled to receive 75% benefit of my wife FRA social security due to my wife death until the child turns 18 years old (or 19 if in child in high school). I also understand that I can receive father/mother benefit while I am caring for our child who is under 16 old. I am 45 years old and work and my income is roughly 100k per year. Would receiving this income prevent me from collecting the social security benefit for caring for the child under 16 years old?

Hi,

I'm sorry for your loss.

The answer to your question is yes. Child in care father's benefits are subject to the Social Security earnings test (https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/whileworking.html), so Social Security would need to withhold $1 of your potential benefits for each $2 that you earn in excess of $17,640 in 2019. And, if you're earning roughly $100,000 per year that would require all of your benefits to be withheld unless there are any months in which you earn $1470 or less (https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/rule.html).