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Liz Weston: Widow nearing retirement age should request survivor benefit comparison

Dear Liz: I used to be widowed at 44, when my kids had been 10 and 12. I acquired Social Security advantages for myself and for them for a time. I then went again to work. I began taking Social Security at 65 although I continued working till 70. I hear rather a lot about widows’ advantages and ponder whether I’d be eligible. I would like the funds.

Answer: Call Social Security at (800) 772-1213 and ask whether or not your survivor benefit, primarily based in your husband’s work report, is bigger than the benefit you’re receiving. If it’s, you’ll get the bigger of the 2 advantages, fairly than each of them. If it’s not, you’ll proceed to get your individual benefit.

You first certified for survivor advantages since you had been caring for a deceased employee’s minor kids. Your benefit most likely ended when the youthful baby turned 16, though the kids might proceed receiving checks till they turned 18 or graduated from highschool, whichever occurred later.

Otherwise, survivor advantages are usually obtainable at age 60, though the quantity obtainable is decreased in case you begin advantages earlier than your individual full retirement age (which was 65 however is at the moment between 66 and 67). Also, advantages began earlier than full retirement age are topic to the earnings check, which withholds $1 for each $2 earned over a specific amount ($21,240 in 2023).

When you utilized for Social Security at 65, the company might have in contrast the benefit you earned by yourself report with the survivor benefit you had been eligible for primarily based in your late husband’s report, and given you the bigger of the 2. If not, ask them to make the comparison now and see in case you’d be higher off.

Liz Weston, Certified Financial Planner, is a private finance columnist for NerdWallet. Questions could also be despatched to her at 3940 Laurel Canyon, No. 238, Studio City, CA 91604, or by utilizing the “Contact” kind at asklizweston.com.