“Claiming Social Security Widow(er) Benefits: It’s Complicated” by Joe Elsasser |October 07, 2020 describes why widow(er)s should consult an expert (in addition to a Social Security representative) to ensure they get the full benefits they deserve. Saying “it’s complicated” is an understatement!
“the widow(er) benefit is calculated based on both when the deceased claimed Social Security and when the survivor claims.”
“The benefit is limited to the higher of 82.5% of the deceased’s full retirement age (FRA) benefit or the amount the deceased was actually receiving at the time of their death. If the deceased was born between 1943 and 1954 and claimed benefits at age 62, and the surviving spouse reached full retirement age by the time of the deceased’s death, the surviving spouse will actually receive more than the deceased was receiving (82.5% of the deceased’s FRA benefit rather than 75%).” Different birth years mean different outcomes.
Elasser goes on to explain the options in more detail and offer some examples, convincing this reader that making the decision for the survivor about when to claim SS benefits merits very careful consideration with an experienced advisor.
Source: Financial Planning for Women