The Age You Claim
Has a Dramatic Effect on Monthly Benefits
Social Security “Survivor Benefit”
Makes Claiming Later Especially Attractive For Married Men
Widows often suffer a decline in living standards, as their incomes often fall more than their expenses. But
- Widow(er)s can get their spouse’s monthly benefit in place of their own — Social Security’s “survivor benefit.”
- Survivor benefits almost always go to widows:
- Most survivors are women, as wives are generally younger than their husbands and women generally live longer than men.
- Most wives have lower monthly benefits, as they generally earn less and start to collect at younger ages than their husbands.
- So claiming later, and raising your wife’s monthly benefit as your survivor, can have a dramatic effect on your wife’s well-being as a widow.
Retiring & Claiming
They're 2 Different Things
- You can continue to work after you claim
- Before your Full Retirement Age, however, some of your benefits might be withheld, then restored when you reach your Full Retirement Age.
- You don’t have to claim when you retire
- If you have enough savings you could delay claiming, using a portion of your savings to live on. You would draw down your savings more quickly, but increase the inflation-proof Social Security benefit you and your survivor – if your benefit is higher – will get for the rest of your life. For more, see Figure Out How to Get Income from Retirement Savings.
For More Information
Download Our Social Security Claiming Guide
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