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Question on Social Security survivor benefits
Old 06-21-2016, 12:47 PM   #1
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Question on Social Security survivor benefits

Hi all,

Little confused about social security benefits as they pertain to surviving spouses.

Background info.

I plan to file early at 62. My monthly payment would be $1900/month.
If I waited to FRA 66 1/2, my payment would be $2650/month.

In the event that I die, after age 62, I believe my wife's social security benefit survivor payment would be based on my reduced early retirement amount ($1900) ?

But if she waited until her full retirement age (67) to file, would her survivor benefit payment be based on my higher FRA benefit ($2650)?

I tried looking it up on the SS website, but they say that there are many scenarios and the calculation can be complicated and suggest talking to a representative.

Thanks for your input.
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Old 06-21-2016, 12:53 PM   #2
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I had to make an appointment at their office to collect on my deceased wife's account, couldn't be done online.

Yes, you should talk to someone and don't stay on hold either, use their "callback" feature, they hit their estimate within 5 minutes and you don't have to listen to the recording for an hour.
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Old 06-21-2016, 12:54 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Russman View Post

In the event that I die, after age 62, I believe my wife's social security benefit survivor payment would be based on my reduced early retirement amount ($1900) ?
Correct.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Russman View Post
But if she waited until her full retirement age (67) to file, would her survivor benefit payment be based on my higher FRA benefit ($2650)?
No. It will be fixed at the amount it was when you started SS at age 62, or $1900.
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Old 06-22-2016, 01:04 PM   #4
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Actually, I think it's all more complicated than that. It depends on how early you take social security and then on how old she is when she files for survivor's benefits.

I've been relying on this article to figure out the likely benefit:

Why Many Widows Lose Nothing from Taking Survivor Benefits Early | PBS NewsHour

As I understand it, if you filed for retirement benefits before your FRA, she'll maximize her survivor's benefit by filing for it at age 62 1/2, and it will equal .825 x your PIA.
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Old 06-22-2016, 05:21 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amomynous View Post
Actually, I think it's all more complicated than that. It depends on how early you take social security and then on how old she is when she files for survivor's benefits.

I've been relying on this article to figure out the likely benefit:

Why Many Widows Lose Nothing from Taking Survivor Benefits Early | PBS NewsHour

As I understand it, if you filed for retirement benefits before your FRA, she'll maximize her survivor's benefit by filing for it at age 62 1/2, and it will equal .825 x your PIA.
She will have to be very clever to be exactly 62.5 when OP dies (and not get caught).

That article also explains how the benefit will not rise past 62.5

" no incentive after age 62 1/2 to delay taking her survivor benefit. It will never be any larger! Note that if Tommy hadn’t taken retirement benefits early, Natalie would gain something each month through age 66 by waiting to collect her survivor benefit. But because he did take his benefits early, and, in this example, at age 62, Natalie will just lose money by waiting beyond age 62 1/2 to collect her survivor benefit. "


So if OP takes SS prior to full retirement age, and they both live to something like 64, then the Wife will be hosed over with a low survivor benefit.
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