Ask Bob: Is a Husband Entitled to his Deceased Wife's Social Security Benefit?

Adviser Bob Rall answers this reader's question.
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Question

My mother just passed away. My parents were married for 65 years. Is my father entitled to her Social Security benefits now that she is dead? What would he have to do to collect those benefits?

Answer

“My condolences on your mother's passing,” says Bob Rall, CFP®, with Rall Capital Management. “How wonderful, though, to hear that your parents were married for 65 years!”

When a retired worker dies, explains Rall, the surviving spouse receives an amount equal to the deceased spouse's full retirement benefit. “If your father is collecting Social Security benefits and your mother’s benefit was higher, he will receive the increased benefit. If his benefit is higher, nothing will change.”

Read If You Are The Survivor. 

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