Survivor Benefits Provide a Financial Lifeline

Posted on 9-23-2020

This week, Craig Siminski, of CMS Retirement Income Planning, shares an article discussing the potential impact of decisions made when claiming Social Security retirement benefits:

The decisions you make when claiming your Social Security retirement benefit could make a big difference to survivor benefits that might be available to your spouse.

That’s why it is important to consider these benefits long before they are needed.

Survivor benefits for a spouse are based on the retirement benefit that the deceased worker was collecting or entitled to collect at the time of death. If the worker claimed benefits at full retirement age, or died before claiming benefits and before reaching full retirement age, survivor benefits would be based on the full retirement benefit amount, called the Primary Insurance Amount or PIA.

If the worker claimed a reduced benefit before reaching full retirement age, survivor benefits for a spouse would be based on the amount the worker would be receiving if still alive, but not less than 82.5% of the worker’s PIA. On the other hand, if the worker delayed claiming benefits after full retirement age, survivor benefits would be based on a higher amount, including delayed retirement credits of 8% per year (up to age 70).

Spouse’s Benefit Amount

The benefit that a surviving spouse can receive is based on the age when he or she claims the survivor benefit. A spouse must have been married to the deceased for nine months or more, with some exceptions:

Full retirement age (65 to 67, depending on birth year) — 100% of the deceased worker’s benefit

Age 60 up to full retirement age — 71½% to 99% of the worker’s benefit
Disabled spouse, age 50–59 (disability starting before or within seven years of the deceased worker’s death) — 71½% of the worker’s benefit

Spouse of any age caring for…

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Craig Siminski is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional, with more than 22 years of experience. His goal is to provide families, business owners, and their employees with assistance in building their financial freedom.

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