Thank you for your patience. My condolences on your loss.
Yes you can. You’ll be eligible for a survivor benefit based on his earnings whether or not he had started to receive Social Security checks when he passed. You’ll have the option to either claim survivor benefits or take benefits based on your own work history. You can’t, however, take both benefits at the same time.
If your husband passed after he had already claimed Social Security benefits, your maximum survivor benefit will be the amount he was receiving – whether he took reduced early benefits, full retirement benefits, or benefits after full retirement age. The longer he waited to take benefits, the larger the maximum survivor benefit would be.
The size of the survivor benefit is also based on the age you take those benefits. You will be eligible for the full amount he was receiving if you take the survivor benefit at your full retirement age. You can take survivor benefits as early as age 60, but the amount will be reduced based on the number of months remaining before your full retirement age.
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