When it comes to claims of Social Security benefits, the rules are changing constantly. However, if you are a person whose spouse has just died, you can still get the benefits of their social security. There are a few rules in place that will help you rake in some extra-generous social security payouts for social security death of a spouse if you are able to make a few key decisions at the proper time. However, it is important for you to know exactly how much you are eligible to receive, and how you can maximize on that.
Calculating what benefits you are eligible for
At any given point of time, you are eligible for one kind of social security benefit:
- Opt for the benefits depending on what your history of work
- Get the survivors benefits
You are not allowed both benefits at the same time. You can opt for one benefit at the moment (whichever one you would like to choose) and receive the payouts accordingly. At the same time, the other would grow over time. After a certain point of time, you can make a switch if you find the second set of benefits is more than the current payout that you are receiving.
Depending factors of survivor benefits
The payouts for the survivor benefits depend on two major factors. The first is the payouts that your spouse would have received if they were alive at the moment, while the second depending factor is your current age when you opt for the benefit. If your spouse was already a recipient of the social security benefits at the time of their death, you would receive the same amount as was being paid to them prior to their death. So, if your spouse had waited longer to start their benefits, the amount would have grown over time and their payouts would have been larger, and so will they be for you as well in terms of survivor benefits.
In case your spouse did not reach their age of retirement before they died and had not initiated their social security benefits, the payout of the benefits is calculated on the basis of what they would have received when they finally reached their retirement age.
How does your age determine the payouts of survivor social security benefits?
The time of the claim and your age at the moment is also a detrimental factor for the amount of the survivor benefits. The full amount of deceased spouse’s social security benefits will only be paid to you only if you make a claim for it after you have reached the full retirement age. Currently, the full retirement age for full benefits stands at 66 years. If you are older than that, you can claim the survivor benefits in full. You also have the option to claim the payouts after you are 60 years of age, but that will cause a reduction in the amount depending on the number of months left until the full retirement age of 66.
How can you maximize your Social Security Benefits?
If you qualify for your own social security benefits, you have the option to manage the timing of this benefit. If you find that your own benefits are lower than your survivor benefits, you can opt for the latter and allow your own benefits to grow. After a few years, reassess the amounts of the two payouts and switch to whichever one is more.
If your own benefits are larger, you can opt for it until you reach 62 years of age. It allows the survivor benefits to grow until your full retirement age. After your full retirement age, the survivor benefits stops to grow. At that point, you can once again compare the payouts of both benefits and opt for the higher.
Hence, if you make your calculations properly, and take the right decisions at the proper time, you can ensure the best of your benefits from social security death of a spouse as well as your own social security benefits.