How to Manage the Risk of the Death of a Spouse or Partner in Retirement

How to Manage the Risk of the Death of a Spouse or Partner in Retirement

Ask Bob: Are Surviving Spouses Dually Eligible for Social Security?

Financial adviser Jim White says a surviving spouse is eligible for Social Security based on her work record and receive survivors benefit.
Author:
Publish date:

Question

I am a widow, 66 years old. I am healthy and working at a state university. My husband worked for the state for 35 years. He died a few weeks before retirement. I started receiving his Social Security. My paycheck from my employer still takes out Social Security taxes. I understand my Social Security payments will never get to be as high as his monthly disbursement. I have no plans to remarry. Am I "dually eligible" at anytime?

Answer

Yes, you will remain dually entitled, which means you qualify for benefits based on your own work record and your survivor benefit based on your spouse's work record, says Jim White, a CFP and founder of J. H. White Financial

Generally, the higher of the two benefits is paid, not both, he says.

“Although you indicated your benefit will not be as high as your late husband’s, it's a good idea to determine what your benefit would be, based on your work record, at age 70,” says White. “If your benefit happens to be higher than your spouses, then it would be advantageous to delay filing for social security under your own work record until age 70.”

Got Questions? Get Answers!

Email your questions about retirement to Robert.Powell@Maven.io.

Question

I am a widow, 66 years old. I am healthy and working at a state university. My husband worked for the state for 35 years. He died a few weeks before retirement. I started receiving his Social Security. My paycheck from my employer still takes out Social Security taxes. I understand my Social Security payments will never get to be as high as his monthly disbursement. I have no plans to remarry. Am I "dually eligible" at anytime?

Member Exclusive

Get Access to Our Exclusive Content