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lev-tax
lev-tax, Tax Advisor
Category: Social Security
Satisfied Customers: 29975
Experience:  Taxes, Immigration, Labor Relations
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My wife us 62 and collecting a reduced social security

Customer Question

My wife us 62 and collecting a reduced social security benefit. I am 67 and collecting a full much higher benefit. We have been married more than 10 years. If I die, how is her new benefit calculated ?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Social Security
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
We have no children
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
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Expert:  lev-tax replied 2 years ago.

I hope you will live long live and enjoy your social security benefits.
In general - if you die - your spouse will be eligible for survivor benefits based on YOUR earning record AND for her own social security benefits.
The SSA will not pay both benefits - and will award that woudl be more beneficial for her.
Either benefits will be reduced based on the fact that she started social security benefits before her full retirement age.

Following publication explains some details

http://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10084.pdf

Unfortunately benefit calculator provided by the SSA doesn't allow to estimate benefits based on someone else records - but we may estimate expected reduction based on your spouse full retirement age and when she stated her benefits.

http://www.ssa.gov/planners/survivors/survivorchartred.html
So based on your information - her full retirement age is 66 - and her survivor's benefits will be reduced by .396% for each month.
Thus if she started at age 62 - that woudl be 48 months - and her reduction would be

.396% * 48 = 19.008%
So - her spousal survivors benefit will be your benefits reduced by that percentage.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Does that 19.008% change if I die at age 72 for example, and she has been collecting an early retirement benefit since 62 and she is 67 when I die? Or is that 19.008% reduction is simply because she retired 48 months early? If she had retired 24 months early then the reduction would be half as much?
Expert:  lev-tax replied 2 years ago.

That reduction will not be based when you die - but is simply based on when she started her benefits.
Because she started benefits 48 months early than her full retirement age - there will be a reduction.
If she were started 24 months before her full retirement age - reduction will be twice less - 9.504%.
That reduction is calculated as .396% * <number of months benefits started before her full retirement age which is 66>