Ask Bob: Social Security Survivor Benefits

Robert Powell, CFP®

Question: I've read conflicting information on what a widow's Social Security benefit would be. My husband is nine years older than me. He is waiting until age 70½ to collect, so my survivor benefit will be higher -- but I read somewhere that the survivor benefit reverts to what it would have been at his full retirement age (FRA), in which case my own benefit is similar, not the increased amount because he waited.

Answer: Your widow's benefit would be the increased amount that your husband was, or would have been, receiving at the time of his death, says Mike O'Connor, of Economic Security Planning, which developed and sells the Maximize My Social Security software program.

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