9 Social Security Secrets to Maximize Your Benefits in Retirement

You can be eligible to receive survivor benefits

Many people think they have to be 62 to receive survivor benefits, but this is not the case. To be eligible for such benefits, you must meet the following criteria:

  • Be a widow(er), age 60 or older (for disabled people, the eligible age is 50), and previously married to the deceased for a period of at least nine months
  • Widow(er) at any age who is caring for a deceased worker’s dependent child or children, younger than age 16 or disabled
  • Divorced spouse of the deceased
  • A minor or disabled child
  • Dependent parent of the deceased age 62 or older
  • Stepchild or grandchild of the deceased

You can collect up to 100% of their deceased spouse’s benefit, but to claim 100 percent, you have to be at least your full retirement age to claim 100%.

Widow(er)’s can still qualify for survivor benefits

Social Security benefits can be significantly affected by marital status. If you remarry before you turn 60, you will no longer receive survivor benefits. However, your eligibility for survivor benefits will not be affected in any way if you remarry at or after you reach age 60 (age 50 if disabled).

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