The National Directory of Certified Public Accountants

Ask A CPA - Social Security

Social Security - Widower Info

A widow can begin drawing the full amount of her late husband's Social Security when she is as young as 60. Then she can choose to leave her own Social Security alone, allowing it to grow in value until her full retirement age or age 70. A widow/widower can begin benefits based on his or her own earnings record and later switch to survivors benefits or begin with survivors benefits and later switch to benefits based on his or her own record. This is true even if the surviving spouse is filing before full retirement age. You can't do that with spousal benefits.

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