Social Security Survivor Benefits offer one of the only remaining opportunities to use timing strategies when filing for Social Security benefits. You can still restrict an application for Survivor Benefits and delay filing for your own benefits until a later, more advantageous date.
Home » survivor benefit
If you’re a widow or widower and you are eligible for Social Security Survivor’s Benefits based on your late spouse’s record, you may have some timing decisions to make that could significantly affect your overall benefits. This is especially true if you are also eligible for Social Security benefits based on your own earnings record. Timing the receipt of benefits is, as with most all Social Security benefits, the primary factor that you can control. If you have worked over your lifetime and you have a significant benefit based on your own earnings, it becomes even more important. The decision process is dependent upon the relative size of your own Social Security benefit as compared to the Survivor Benefit based on your late spouse’s record. Own SS Benefit Greater than Survivor Benefit If your own benefit will be greater than the Survivor Benefit, it could be beneficial to you in […]
Included in the myriad of questions that I regularly receive from readers are questions about how a divorced person can collect benefits based upon his or her ex-spouse’s Social Security record. For a divorcee (as with many married couples) sometimes the ex’s benefits represent the lion’s share of the couple’s SS record. Because of this, many divorcees are very interested in knowing what benefits are available to them, and when. In addition, even when the divorced spouse in question is not the higher earner there are questions about benefits that can be quite difficult to find answers for.
I’ve written a lot about Social Security Spousal Benefits and Survivor Benefits on these pages, but oftentimes there is confusion about how they are applied. There are things about them that are common, but for the most part there are some real differences that you need to understand as you make decisions about applying for one or the other of these benefits. For one thing – Survivor Benefits and Spousal Benefits are benefits that you may be entitled to that are based on someone else’s record: your spouse (or ex-spouse) to be exact. No matter what your own Social Security benefit might be, you have access to the Spousal Benefit and Survivor Benefit, if, of course, you have or had a spouse with a Social Security retirement benefit available on his or her record. In addition, it is important to note that Spousal Benefits and Survivor Benefits are mutually exclusive. […]
There are a couple of strategies for Social Security filing that surviving spouses can use to maximize benefits throughout their lifetimes. The important factor to keep in mind for the surviving spouse is that filing for Survivor Benefits (based on your late spouse’s record) has no impact on filing for Social Security benefits based on your own record – other than the fact that you cannot file for both benefits at the same time. Coordinating these two benefits (Surviving Spouse benefits and your own benefits) can take a couple of different paths: you could file for the Surviving Spouse benefit first, allowing your own benefit to accrue Delay Credits up to as late as age 70; or you could file for your own benefit first, and then later file for the Surviving Spouse benefit. Sue’s husband Steve passed away when Sue was 61 years of age. Steve had just turned […]