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Here’s the question of the day.
Question: My client is receiving Social Security survivor benefits based on the work record of her late husband. Can she get retirement benefits based on her own work record if they are higher?
Answer: Generally, yes.
Here’s an excerpt from the Social Security website that confirms that a person receiving survivor benefits can switch to the person’s own Social Security retirement benefits later on:
If you receive benefits as a widow or widower or as a surviving divorced spouse, you can switch to your own retirement benefit as early as age 62. This assumes you are eligible for retirement benefits and your retirement rate is higher than your rate as a widow, widower or surviving divorced spouse.
In many cases, a widow or widower can begin receiving one benefit at a reduced rate and then, at full retirement age, switch to the other benefit at an unreduced rate.
Reminder: Full retirement age for retirement benefits may not match full retirement age for survivors benefits.
The client should check with Social Security directly to confirm the facts of her situation.
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