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Q&A: Can I Draw My Deceased Spouse's Social Security Benefit at Age 62?

Social Security

Question and background:

Can I draw my deceased spouse's Social Security benefit at age 62? My husband passed away in 2012. He was 60. He was on Social Security disability. I will be turning 62 in August 2016 and am considering taking early retirement. Is it true that I can begin drawing his benefit at that time and draw my benefit at my normal retirement? We were married for 30 years.


My condolences in the passing of your husband.

Yes, you are correct…the recent Social Security changes didn’t touch survivor benefits. A surviving spouse can collect widow/widower benefits as early as age 60 if they’re unmarried (or remarried after reaching 60). Collecting early will result in a reduced survivor benefit, but it can still be helpful for folks like you who then plan to switch over to their own larger benefit at Full Retirement Age (66 for you).

If you decide to continue working, please be aware that the earnings limit for those under Full Retirement Age is $15,720 (for 2016). The SSA deducts $1 of benefits for every $2 earned above the limit. In the year of Full Retirement Age, it’s $1 for every $3 earned above $41,880 (2016 figures). But that’s actually deferred rather than lost, since the SSA will ratchet up future benefits.