If the wage earner of a family dies, the surviving spouse may be eligible for Widow’s benefits, otherwise known as Survivor’s benefits, through the Social Security Administration. These payments help by providing income for families of workers who die. There are two circumstances under which the widow/widower may be eligible for benefits:
1. If the widow/widower is disabled and over age fifty, and they have a disability that began within seven years of the death of the wage earner, then disability benefits may be paid to the widow/widower on the wage earner’s work record;
2. If the widow is not disabled, then he or she may collect widow’s benefits as early as turning age sixty. However, depending on the benefits available and whether the widow is working, a financial analysis may be necessary to maximize benefits.
If the widow/widower works, then Social Security imposes an earnings test (ET) which will potentially reduce their benefits. For 2018, Social Security would deduct one dollar from the widow’s benefits for every two dollars earned above $17,040.00.
A non-disabled widow/widower planning to take widow’s benefits at age sixty would be ineligible for benefits if he or she remarries before reaching the age of sixty. However, if he or she marries after turning age sixty, the widow benefits can be claimed.
Further strategies can be discussed to maximize benefits for the surviving spouse. If you or someone you know may qualify for these benefits, call 330.929.9700 today to speak with an attorney at our office
regarding your eligibility and options.