10 Odd Social Security Rules and Practices

10 Odd Social Security Rules and Practices

Ask Bob: When Should I Claim Social Security Widow Benefits?

A reader asks whether she should claim her own benefits now or her widow benefits.
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Question

My husband just passed away and I need help deciding when to collect Social Security. My husband waited to collect his Social Security until his full retirement age. His monthly payment was $2448. I just turned 62 and I have my own Social Security record. I would only receive $774 if I collect on my own record at 62.

I would like to file for my own benefit and then switch to my husband’s survivor benefit at my full retirement age of 66 and 6 months. I have been getting conflicting information from the Social Security claims agents. One agent said once I file at age 62 I would be forced to choose between my Social Security benefit or my husband’s reduced survivor benefit. Another agent said I could file for my benefit at age 62 and then claim the higher survivor benefit at my full retirement age.

I do have assets to supplement my income for the next 4 years without filing for any social security. Help, I don't know what to do.

Answer

You can most certainly file for your own benefit at 62 and switch to your widow benefit at your widow FRA (full retirement age), says Joe Elsasser, founder and president of Covisum.

“I mention widow FRA because it is likely four months different from your FRA for retirement benefits,” he says. The claiming pattern you are suggesting is most likely ideal for you because even if you delay your own retirement benefit to 70, it still won’t be greater than your widow benefit.”

Read Survivors Benefits.

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Email Robert.Powell@maven.io

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Question

My husband just passed away and I need help deciding when to collect Social Security. My husband waited to collect his Social Security until his full retirement age. His monthly payment was $2448. I just turned 62 and I have my own Social Security record. I would only receive $774 if I collect on my own record at 62.

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