Social Security Widower Benefits

Course: Insurance Planning
Lesson 10: Social Security

Student Question:

When it comes to social security widower’s benefit’s, is the widow eligible to take his/her SS benefit early (age 62) and then switch over to the deceased spouse’s full benefit at 67? Or would the widow only be eligible for one of the two benefits?



Instructor Response:

Hi Cooper,

You are directionally correct. Note that a qualifying surviving spouse can generally receive widow or widower’s benefits beginning at age 60, age 50 if disabled, or before age 60 if caring for an eligible child of the deceased worker.

Specific to your question, here’s general guidance straight from Social Security:

  • If you [the surviving spouse] are also eligible for retirement benefits (but haven’t applied yet), you have an additional option. You can apply for retirement or survivors benefits now and switch to the other (higher) benefit later.

Caveat – like any general guidance, there are exceptions.

Onward and Upward,