ss benefits

juliebush asked 7 months ago

If I retire at 59 with only 20 years of teaching credit. Can I take the lump sum and then be elible for my husband\\’s full ss benefits if he dies first?

1 Answers
Devin Carroll answered 6 months ago


Technically, you can take a lump sum from your pension plan (if your pension allows it) and make yourself eligible for a Social Security spousal/survivor benefit.

The big question is…does it make sense?

Not knowing which state you are in, I have no idea if you can take your pension at 59 with 20 years of service. If you can, how much would it be? The answer to that question is where you need to start in analying whether it makes sense to do the lump sum option.

For example, if your pension was going to pay you $3,000 per month, but the SS survivor benefit only pays $2,000 per month, you’d have to believe that you could make at least $1,000 per month from the lump sum amout for everything to be even.

Be cautious when making this move and consider getting someone else to look at your calculations. Once you make your move, it’d be hard to undo it.

For further research, I highly suggest the following resources.

You can start by reading my article Social Security and Lump Sum Pensions: What Public Servants Should Know

Then you can check out Video: Social Security for Educators (and other public servants). This gives a broad overview of the Windfall Elimination Provision and the Government Pension Offset.

After watching that, I’d move on to my two articles The Best Explanation of the Windfall Elimination Provision and What You Need To Know About The Government Pension Offset.

Hope this helps you out!