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Social Security Survivors Benefits for a Working Widow

Q. My husband of 10 years passed away in 1996. I am now 61 years old and have not remarried. I am employed and plan to continue working as long as I can. When I turn 62, can I apply for a monthly Social Security benefit based on my husband’s earnings even though I am employed? How much might I get? Will my own work record affect the payment?

A. A widow who has not remarried can receive full benefits after reaching her full survivors retirement age, or reduced benefits as early as age 60. (For anyone born between 1945 and 1956, the full survivors retirement age is 66). If you elect to take benefits at age 62, you will get 81 percent of the monthly benefit.

If you continue to work while you collect survivors benefits and you’re younger than full retirement age, your Social Security payment likely will be reduced if your earnings exceed certain limits. At age 62, $1 in benefits will be deducted for each $2 you earn above the annual limit. For 2009, that limit is $14,160.

The Social Security website has more information on how survivors benefits are reduced and how work affects your benefits.

Source: Social Security Administration

 

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