Good afternoon Carolyn,
I'm Doug, and I'm very sorry to hear of your situation. My goal is to provide you with excellent service today.
You are entitled to a social security survivor benefit as early as age 50 if you are legally disabled and at age 60 if you are not disabled. However, if you are under the full retirement age of 66 and you are still working, your work income may interfere with your survivor benefit. Let me explain.
If you are under full retirement age for the entire year, social security will deduct $1 from your benefit payments for every $2 you earn above the annual limit. For 2016, that limit is $15,720.
In the year you reach full retirement age, social security will deduct $1 in benefits for every $3 you earn above a different limit. In 2016, the limit on your earnings is $41,880 but they only count earnings before the month you reach your full retirement age.
Once you reach full retirement age, there is no more limitation on your work income and you can earn as much as you want. Because your social security benefit will reach its maximum level at age 70, there is no benefit to not applying for your retirement benefit past age 70.
Your taking of the survivor benefit will not interfere with your own retirement benefit continuing to grow, regardless of the age at which you first apply for it.
You may reply back to me using the Reply link and I will be happy to continue to assist you until I am able to address your concerns, to your satisfaction.
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I wish you and yours the best in 2016,