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Can I Collect My Deceased Spouse’s Social Security And My Own At The Same Time?

Can I Collect My Deceased Spouse's Social Security And My Own At The Same Time

Can I collect my deceased spouse’s social security and my own at the same time?

In this article, you’ll learn about:

  • your ability to collect a deceased spouse’s Social Security and your own at the same time
  • if you should collect your deceased spouse’s Social Security
  • what your deceased spouse’s Social Security benefits are
  • how to apply for your deceased spouse’s Social Security
  • when you can start receiving your deceased spouse’s Social Security benefits
  • how to know if you’re eligible to get your deceased spouse’s Social Security

Let’s dig in. 

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Can I Collect My Deceased Spouse's Social Security And My Own At The Same Time?

No, you cannot collect your deceased spouse’s Social Security and your own at the same time. 

You can choose the higher of the two benefits, either:

  • your own retirement benefit 
  • the survivor benefit based on your spouse’s record

To find the best option for your situation:

  • contact the Social Security Administration 
  • visit their website for guidance

Determining If You Should Collect Your Deceased Spouse’s Social Security

To determine whether collecting your own or your deceased spouse’s Social Security is better, consider the following factors:

  • Benefit Amounts: Compare your own retirement benefit to the survivor benefit based on your deceased spouse’s record. Choose the higher amount.
  • Your Age: If you claim survivor benefits before your full retirement age, the benefits may be reduced. However, if you wait until your full retirement age, you can receive 100% of your deceased spouse’s benefit.
  • Your Work History: If you have a shorter work history or lower earnings compared to your deceased spouse, the survivor benefit may be higher than your own retirement benefit.
  • Potential Benefit Increases: If you delay claiming your own retirement benefit past your full retirement age, you may be eligible for delayed retirement credits, which can increase your benefit.
  • Remarriage: If you remarry before age 60 (or 50 if disabled), you may not be eligible for survivor benefits based on your deceased spouse’s record. However, you might qualify for benefits based on your new spouse’s record.
  • Widows/Widowers With Children: If you’re caring for a child under 16 or disabled who is receiving benefits based on your deceased spouse’s record, you may qualify for a different benefit amount.

Read More: How Long Can You Keep An Estate Open After Death?

What Are Social Security Survivor Benefits?

Social Security survivor benefits provide financial support to family members of a deceased worker who paid into the Social Security system. 

Eligible recipients include:

  • surviving spouses
  • dependent children
  • sometimes dependent parents 

The benefit amount depends on:

  • the deceased worker’s earnings 
  • the recipient’s relationship to the deceased, age, and disability status

Surviving spouses can choose between:

  • their own retirement benefit 
  • the survivor benefit

Read More: How Much Does An Estate Have To Be Worth To Go To Probate?

What Are The Social Security Benefits For Surviving Spouses?

Surviving spouses may receive survivor benefits based on their deceased spouse’s:

  • work history 
  • earnings 

At full retirement age, they can receive 100% of the deceased spouse’s benefit. 

If claimed earlier, the benefit may be reduced. 

They can choose between their own retirement benefit or the survivor benefit.

And they can select the higher amount. 

Factors that impact eligibility and amounts are:

  •  age
  • work history
  • remarriage
  • dependent children

Contact the Social Security Administration for personalized guidance.

The reduction in survivor benefits is tied to the surviving spouse claiming benefits before their full retirement age.

(Not the deceased spouse’s age.) 

The deceased spouse’s benefit at their full retirement age is used as a reference. 

The reduction depends on the surviving spouse’s age when claiming benefits.

For example: Let’s say that the:

  • deceased spouse’s benefit at full retirement age was $1,000
  • the surviving spouse claims benefits at age 60

(We are assuming the surviving spouse’s full retirement age is 67.)

They would receive about 71.5% of the deceased spouse’s benefit (around $715 per month). 

Read More: How To Get Power Of Attorney For Someone Who Is Incapacitated

How To Apply For Survivor’s Benefits

To apply for survivor’s benefits, follow these steps:

  1. Gather Required Documents: Obtain your deceased spouse’s Social Security number, your marriage certificate, and the death certificate.
  2. Prepare Personal Information: Have your own Social Security number, birth certificate, and, if applicable, divorce papers ready.
  3. Contact the Social Security Administration (SSA): Call 1-800-772-1213 to schedule an appointment with an SSA representative.
  4. Attend The Appointment: Provide the necessary documentation and personal information during your appointment. The SSA representative will guide you through the application process.
  5. Monitor Your Application: Keep track of your application status and be prepared to provide additional information if requested by the SSA.

Read More: The Biggest Mistake Parents Make When Setting Up A Trust Fund

When Can You Receive Social Security Benefits When A Spouse Dies?

You can apply for Social Security survivor benefits when your spouse dies. 

If eligible, you may receive benefits as early as age 60, or age 50 if you are disabled. 

Benefits may be reduced if claimed before your full retirement age. 

If you have dependent children under 16, you may receive benefits at any age. 

Let’s say you have dependent children under 16.

You may receive Social Security survivor benefits as a “surviving parent” regardless of your age. 

Divorced spouses can also be eligible for survivor benefits under certain conditions. 

The benefit amount depends on factors like:

  • age
  • work history
  • the deceased spouse’s earnings 

Collecting A Deceased Spouse’s Social Security And Yours With Dependent Children

Social Security benefits for surviving parents with dependent children provide financial support for the children. 

These benefits don’t affect your retirement benefits. 

When the youngest child turns 16, surviving parent social security benefits stop.

But you can later claim your own retirement or survivor benefits based on your deceased spouse’s record when eligible.

Upon reaching eligibility for your retirement benefits, you can choose between:

  • your own benefit
  • the survivor’s benefit

You’d typically select the higher social security benefits available. 

Claiming your retirement benefits before the full retirement age may result in reduced benefits. 

Remember, you cannot collect both your retirement and survivor benefits at the same time.

Read More: Am I Entitled To My Husband’s Property If He Dies And My Name Isn’t On The Deed?

Who Is Eligible For Social Security Survivor Benefits?

Eligibility for Social Security survivor benefits includes:

  • Widows And Widowers: They can receive full benefits at their full retirement age, or reduced benefits as early as age 60, or age 50 if disabled.
  • Divorced Spouses: They may be eligible if the marriage lasted at least 10 years and they meet age and other requirements.
  • Surviving Spouses With Dependent Children: They can receive benefits at any age if caring for the deceased spouse’s child under 16 or disabled.
  • Children: Unmarried children under 18, or up to 19 if attending elementary or secondary school full-time, and disabled children whose disability began before age 22, can receive benefits.
  • Parents: Dependent parents aged 62 or older who relied on the deceased for at least half of their support can receive benefits.

FAQs About Can I Collect My Deceased Spouse's Social Security And My Own At The Same Time

Here are other questions our clients as us about collecting their deceased spouse’s social security and my own at the same time.

When Can A Widow Collect Her Husband's Social Security?

A widow can collect her husband’s Social Security as survivor benefits. 

She may be eligible as early as age 60 or age 50 if she is disabled.

Benefits may be reduced if claimed before her full retirement age. 

If she has dependent children under 16, she can receive benefits at any age. 

A widow can choose between her own retirement benefit or her husband’s survivor benefit.

 Factors like age, work history, remarriage, and dependent children can affect eligibility and benefit amounts. 

How Long Does A Spouse Get Survivors Benefits?

A spouse can receive Social Security survivor benefits:

  • until their own death
  • until they remarry 

If the surviving spouse claims benefits before their full retirement age, the benefits may be reduced. 

For surviving parents with dependent children under 16, the benefits continue until the youngest child turns 16. 

Can I Collect My Deceased Husbands Social Security And Still Work?

Yes, you can collect your deceased husband’s Social Security survivor benefits and still work. 

However, let’s say you are below your full retirement age and earn over the annual income limit.

Your benefits may be temporarily reduced. 

Once you reach your full retirement age, there is no limit on earnings.

And your benefits will no longer be reduced based on your income. 

Keep in mind that claiming survivor benefits early may result in permanently reduced benefits.

If My Husband Dies Do I Get His Social Security?

Let’s say your husband dies.

You may be eligible for Social Security survivor benefits based on his:

At full retirement age, you can receive 100% of his benefit. 

If you claim benefits before your full retirement age, they may be reduced. 

You can choose between your own retirement benefit or the survivor benefit.

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