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Author: jpink Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 734650  
Subject: Widows ability to collect Social Security Date: 10/21/2004 6:40 PM
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Hi all,

If there is a better board for this question, please advise, but here is my query:

My wife's father passed away when she was four. He would be 71 years old if he were still alive. The other day, his widow, my mother-in-law, who is now 63, was in the Social Security office taking care of some business for her mother. While in the office they told her she is eligible to receive her husband's social security benefit for the next year or so (until she is eligible to collect, I guess). I am wondering if anyone understands the situation and can explain this to me, so I can explain it to my mother-in-law. It seems that if she were able to start collecting her deceased husband's benefit now, why couldn't she have started when he would have been eligible (6 years ago)? Is it only coming up now that he would have been 71 (I guess that's 401k that you have to start collecting at 71.5, so maybe that age is not important). Could she collect on his benefit and put off collection on hers? Does that make any sense or is there any benefit? I might be confusing SS with 401k again. Any insight will be greatly appreciated.

John
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Author: Aranknitter Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 196138 of 734650
Subject: Re: Widows ability to collect Social Security Date: 10/21/2004 6:48 PM
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It seems that if she were able to start collecting her deceased husband's benefit now, why couldn't she have started when he would have been eligible (6 years ago)?

Because she is not eligible to collect on his record until she turns 62. She was eligible last year if she is 63 now... but was not eligible 6 years ago.

Collecting on your husband's pension doesn't mean you get to circumvent SS rules about the`earliest retirement age for SS payouts being 62, more's the pity. :)

If the husband died so long ago, though, would he have amassed enough SS contributions to make it more worthwhile for her to collect on his record instead of her own?

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Author: tmeri Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 196140 of 734650
Subject: Re: Widows ability to collect Social Security Date: 10/21/2004 6:52 PM
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Hi all,

If there is a better board for this question, please advise, but here is my query:

My wife's father passed away when she was four. He would be 71 years old if he were still alive. The other day, his widow, my mother-in-law, who is now 63, was in the Social Security office taking care of some business for her mother. While in the office they told her she is eligible to receive her husband's social security benefit for the next year or so (until she is eligible to collect, I guess). I am wondering if anyone understands the situation and can explain this to me, so I can explain it to my mother-in-law. It seems that if she were able to start collecting her deceased husband's benefit now, why couldn't she have started when he would have been eligible (6 years ago)? Is it only coming up now that he would have been 71 (I guess that's 401k that you have to start collecting at 71.5, so maybe that age is not important). Could she collect on his benefit and put off collection on hers? Does that make any sense or is there any benefit? I might be confusing SS with 401k again. Any insight will be greatly appreciated.

John



Her eligibility to collect SS is based on HER age, not her husband's age had he lived.

From memory, I believe she was eligible to start collecting on his social security when she turned 60 if she was married to him for at least 10 years and is not now married to someone else. If she is disabled, she would have been eligible at age 50. I do not know if she can collect benefits retro-actively but I doubt it.

In general, the spouse, ex-spouse, or widow(er) is eligible to collect on their own record or their spouse's record, whichever is greater. Therefore, if your mother-in-law is eligible to collect on her own record and it is more than what she'd get on her husband's record, she will only be able to collect on her record.


http://www.ssa.gov/survivorplan/onyourown2.htm


HTH.





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Author: ariechert Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 196143 of 734650
Subject: Re: Widows ability to collect Social Security Date: 10/21/2004 7:03 PM
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It seems that if she were able to start collecting her deceased husband's benefit now, why couldn't she have started when he would have been eligible (6 years ago)? jpink

I believe I read somewhere that the widow has to be 60 years old to collect on her deceased husbands Social Security. - Art

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Author: jpink Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 196145 of 734650
Subject: Re: Widows ability to collect Social Security Date: 10/21/2004 7:19 PM
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Thanks for the responses, especially the link to the online info. From there I grabbed this:

--
You can receive widows/widowers benefits based on your age at any time between age 60 and full retirement age. However, if you start at one of these early ages, your benefits are reduced a fraction of a percent for each month before your full retirement age. If you start widows/widowers benefits before age 62 and switch to retirement benefits when you reach your full retirement age* your retirement benefit may also be affected.
--

With respect to tmeri's point, yes, I am pretty sure she will do better to collect on her own merit, as she worked for many years after her husband's passing. But it seems she can start collecting now against her husband's benefit, and since she is over 62, not incur a penalty to her own benefit when she reaches her full retirement age.



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