I'm turning 66 in March and receiving widow's ss. Last year, I made over the work limit, and all 12 of my ss checks were withheld. Now that I'm eligible, with no income limit, and will receive checks again what happens to those payments that were with held? Do I get those back while collecting under my widows benefits, or do I have to wait until I actually start getting ss under my name, which I plan on switching when I'm 70 years old. Thank you
There are not enough details in your post to give you a complete answer.
But here are a few determinations -
1. You began drawing your widows benefit BEFORE your full retirement age and if you and your late spouse had NO dependents still depending upon you then the getting early widows benefit (before your full retirement age) will reduce it and no that will never return under the widows benefit. In fact, since you started drawing the widows benefit before your full retirement age, the (widows) benefit will continue to be reduced by this early claiming even when you reach your full retirement age.
2. Earnings will also reduce your widows benefit the same way as if it were your own benefit - since you were drawing this widows benefit BEFORE your full retirement age and were still working. The amount of the deduction is based on how much you made over the earnings limit. No you will not get those dollars back in the widows benefit but your own benefit gets larger because you are continuing to work and contribute to your Social Security benefit under your own record.
When you turn your Full Retirement Age, the earnings limit will go away AFTER turning your full retirement age so that will increase your widows benefit by the amount that was being deducted for this particular thing - the earnings limit.
3. There could have also been other reasons why the benefit itself could have been lower based on your late spouse's record. If he had some earning years in a civil servant capacity IF there was NO participation in the Social Security program during that period.
4. At 70 or after your full retirement age, you should most definitely have Social Security do an analysis of comparing the widows benefit you are getting at the time and what your own benefit calculates out to be - then you will get the larger of the two benefits.
Most likely your own benefit will be larger because of getting the delayed retirement credit (at 70). But I can't say positively because that will also depend on your work history - number of years which you worked and paid into the Social Security system, your average earnings during that working time, whether or not you ever worked as a civil employee for which the government entity did not pay into the Social Security system.
You can always make an appointment with a Social Security local office and speak to a knowledgeable representative. You should also register for a mySocialSecurity account as catOw suggested There should be a benefits letter or file there for you describing your current benefit or perhaps you can solicite one. Registering for a mySocialSecurity account will help you keep up with what is going on on your account regardless of what type of benefit you are receiving at the time.
It's Always Something . . . . Roseanna Roseannadanna