Of the 5.7 million people awarded Social Security benefits in 2019, 886,000 were survivors of deceased workers. Those widows, widowers and dependents of eligible workers were awarded what are known as survivors benefits. In all, there were 3,878,012 widows and widowers receiving benefits in 2019.
But as with many things related to Social Security, there’s plenty of confusion about applying for survivors benefits and understanding how much you – as the surviving spouse, surviving divorced spouse or dependent – might receive.
Covisum Founder and President Joe Elsasser, CFP®, was recently quoted in this USA TODAY article where he outlined some potential Social Security claiming tactics for survivors.
"If you’re at least 60 and not collecting, you can take advantage of a tactic to maximize your benefit. Survivors benefits and retirement benefits on your own work record can be claimed sequentially. And that means a widow or widower can claim survivors benefits as early as 60 then switch to retirement benefits at 70. The reason that can be so valuable is that the retirement benefit will have grown approximately 77% between age 62 and 70."
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