When he passes, you CAN get 100% of his if it is greater than your own. Your prior decision to take "early" (i.e. take more months of payments, in your lifetime than you would had you waited until your actual full retirement age), can not be reversed. You can not change the past and collect more than you are due now, since you have already collected those extra 'early' months of payments, pocketing that money. Rarely do I find that a person is better off collecting retirement before she is actually old enough to be deemed fully retired, if she is not disabled or otherwise very wealthy, because this is the income that she will be relying on when older and possibly unable to work to supplement that income.
That said, if you are able and continue to work, or go back to work, particularly if you do NOT have 35 years of income, it will incrementally change your own primary insurance amount, and therefore effect the equation of 70% x PIA = your payment.
You CAN change to your spousal benefit if it is bigger than your own, if you are not already collecting it - but it will not be 50%, because, again, you opted to start collecting MORE months of retirement, at a reduced amount. (It will be about 35% of his benefit.) But do confirm that it is not higher to do so before you decide not to do it, just in case.
It frustrates me that SS workers do not do better job at educating applicants trying to collect their retirement earlier than at 66, or better yet, age 70 - as to the permanent reduction that they are choosing that never changes.
I hope that although likely not the reality of facts you'd hoped for, that this helps to set you straight on your situation. My goal is to provide you with excellent and accurate service – if you feel you have gotten anything less, please reply back, I am happy to address follow-up questions.
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