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First, here is what the Social Security Administration has to say about survivor benefits:
The benefit amount is based on the earnings of the person who died. The more the worker paid into Social Security, the greater your benefits will be. Social Security uses the deceased worker’s basic benefit amount and calculates what percentage survivors are entitled to. The percentage depends on the survivors’ ages and relationship to the worker. If the person who died was receiving reduced benefits, your survivor’s benefit is based on that amount. Here are the most typical situations:
- A widow or widower, at full retirement age or older, generally receives 100 percent of the worker’s basic benefit amount;
- A widow or widower, age 60 or older, but under full retirement age, receives about 71-99 percent of the worker’s basic benefit amount; or
- A widow or widower, any age, with a child younger than age 16, receives 75 percent of the worker’s benefit amount.
- Children receive 75 percent of the worker’s benefit amount.
So, at age 60, you'll qualify for reduced (almost 30%) survivor benefits. Only if you begin survivor benefits at your full retirement age (66) will you reveive full benefits.
Now, you're second concern - would it make sense to complete a Microsoft Certification training program? With no other information than your age and a bit of your work background, I have to conclude that if you're in reasonbly good health, you'll live about 20 to 25 more years. Depending on your overall financial situation, you can expect to work at another 7 to 10 years. The MS Certification may be worthwhile in raising your future earnings and I would encourage you to resume your education, delay survivor SS benefits until at least age 66 if not later, and find a job you'll enjoy and will be able to keep doing as you grow older.
If you want to chat further, I encourage you to write a private message to me or email me at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. Best wishes. Bob Skladany
This is really good advice.