The National Directory of Certified Public Accountants

Ask A CPA - Social Security

Social Security - Spouse Deceased - Your Options

Once an ex-spouse passes away, you'll be treated just like a widow or widower. If you are at least 60, you'll be able to collect your late-spouse's benefit and allow your own benefit to grow unclaimed until you reach age 70, when you can switch if your own is higher, The longer your ex-spouse delays claiming Social Security, the better it is for you. You will get to claim half of his or her maximum Social Security. Or once you and your ex-spouse reach full retirement age (66-68) you can claim half your ex's benefit and let your own grow untouched until you're 70.

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