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Periodic Contributor

Retirement credits

My spouse died at age 60, was not collecting Social Security and was a full time worker. My FRA is 66 and 2 months-- born 1955. Currently, I am a full time worker. If I apply for and collect survivor benefits at my FRA until I am age 70 and then apply to collect my own at age 70, will my own benefit amount increase because I waited until 70?

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Honored Social Butterfly

@MIKA456 

Your Question:  If I apply for and collect survivor benefits at my FRA until I am age 70 and then apply to collect my own at age 70, will my own benefit amount increase because I waited until 70?

 

You can do that but you will only get an increase in the benefit IF your own retirement benefits including any delayed retirement credits (to age 70) is greater than what you are getting as a Survivor at FRA.  If it is bigger, then you will receive an increase in your benefit amount up to the higher of the two benefits - a blending of the two benefits.  It does work the best if you can delay Survivor Benefits until your FRA.   If you can, of course.

Social Security.gov: Survivors (Widows) Benefits 

It's Always Something . . . . Roseanna Roseannadanna
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Periodic Contributor

Thank you for the information, the difference in my FRA monthly benefit from the survivor benefit will be approx 150.00, mine higher, $2,450 vs $2,300. My concerns is that if I apply on or after my FRA I will not have a choice of to which to take, and will be forced to take my own and nothing further after that, no 8% increase until age 70 or is there a choice as to what to take when I apply at FRA. Will I be allowed to apply for survivor benefits even though they are less so that my own can increase to age 70? I could not find anything in the SS web site to address this and I am thinking that once survivor benefits are applied for at FRA that is it.

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Honored Social Butterfly

@MIKA456 

 

Don't confuse SURVIVORS BENEFITS with SPOUSAL BENEFITS.

The SS Rule of Deemed Filing is what you are talking about above but that is only applicable with SPOUSAL Benefits NOT SURVIVORS Benefits.  Completely DIFFERENT Benefits with different rules, benefit structures and eligibility.

The SS link that I gave you in the previous answer says this:

Widows or widowers benefits based on age can start any time between age 60 and full retirement age as a survivor. If the benefits start at an earlier age, they are reduced a fraction of a percent for each month before full retirement age.

 

If a person receives widow's or widower's benefits, and will qualify for a retirement benefit that's more than their survivors benefit, they can switch to their own retirement benefit as early as age 62 or as late as age 70.

 

 

It's Always Something . . . . Roseanna Roseannadanna
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Periodic Contributor

Thank-you for the clarification.

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