My husband started collecting at his FRA (67) due to illness and I have to care for him so cannot work. Can I collect on my own benefit record at 62 and then switch to a survivor benefit when the time comes and will my survivor benefit be based on my collecting on my record at 62 or when I actually apply for survivor benefits?
Your survivor’s benefit will not be reduced if you file for your own benefit early. However, if you file for your survivor’s benefit early, it will be reduced.
Your own benefit and your survivor’s benefit are in two separate pots. This means that you can collect your own benefit now and switch to a survivor benefit later. The same would go in reverse as well.
When working with survivor’s benefits, there are generally two options.
–You could file for a survivor’s benefit at earliest eligibility and let your own benefit increase until age 70. This way, your own benefit will be at least 24% higher than your full retirement age benefit due to 36 months of delayed retirement credits.
–You can file for your own benefit now and switch to the survivor’s benefit at your full retirement age. At this point your benefit would be the amount your husband was receiving when he passed away.
Which of these options makes sense for you is entirely dependant on the individual benefit amounts and your personal situation.
For more information, I’d encourage you to read my article Social Security Survivor Benefits: The Complete Guide to Who Gets What and How to Calculate It
I hope this helps!
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