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I am not sure why your benefits would be reduced although COLA was not given in 2016 (cost of living increase). It was given for 2017. Medicare part B costs could be the reason but your spouses death should have no effect on your benefit unless you want to apply for a survivor benefit AND her benefit is more than your own retirement benefit. The survivor benefit and your own SS retirement benefit do not stack. You can only receive the larger of the two benefits, so if her benefit is lower than your own, there would be no reason to apply for the survivor benefit. You have 2 years to apply for the one time $255 death benefit through SSA, so if you have not done so, you have until tomorrow to do it as it must be requested within 2 years. See link on how to apply (https://www.ssa.gov/planners/survivors/ifyou7.html). Life changes can increase your benefit but that is really a generic statement and does not apply to everyone.
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