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Ask Christopher B, Esq. Your Own Question
Christopher B, Esq.
Christopher B, Esq., Attorney
Category: Social Security
Satisfied Customers: 2677
Experience:  associate attorney
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My husband died at age 58; I am 57. I just want to clarify a

Customer Question

My husband died at age 58; I am 57. I just want to clarify a few things about widow's social security benefits. Can I start receiving benefits when I reach 60? Will those widow benefits be reduced if I am working full time? Is there a % scale for the amount I will receive based on when I choose to start receiving benefits. I know that once I reach retirement age I will get social security based on whichever is higher but not both. I am trying to determine what I can get from widow's benefit social security before I reach full retirement age.
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Social Security
Expert:  Christopher B, Esq. replied 9 months ago.

My name is***** and I will be helping you with your question today. This is for informational purposes only and does not establish an attorney client relationship.

Yes, unless you are disabled or taking care of a qualified child 16 or under, you cannot elect to take survivor benefits until age 60. Those benefits will first be reduced by the early retirement penalty because you made an election before full retirement age and it will also be reduced by earnings you received from work. In 2016, if you earn more than $15,720, your benefit is reduced $1 for every $2 earned. Your benefit is permanently reduced after election (for the early retirement penalty not for the income penalty), so if you have significant income it might not make sense for you to make the election if you greatly reduces or eliminates your survivor benefit. At full retirement age (age 66 in 2016) this income penalty will be lifted and you can earn as much income as you please without reducing your benefit. So to answer your question, yes, your survivor benefit will be reduced if you have significant income at age 60 and it will also be reduced by the early retirement penalty.

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Expert:  Christopher B, Esq. replied 9 months ago.

Just checking back in, do you have any further questions?

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