What is maximum income a widow can make to receive her husband's Social Security?

1 answer | Last updated: Nov 27, 2016
Bjl asked...

What is maximum income a widow can make to receive her husband's Social Security?


Expert Answers

You can collect Social Security Survivors Benefits based on your husband's Social Security work record as early as age 60. But if you claim benefits before you reach your full benefits age, your survivors benefits will be reduced based on income you earn over the yearly limit.

What's your full benefits age? It's the same as your full retirement age for claiming your own Social Security retirement benefits – between 65 and 66, depending on the year you were born. Once you reach full retirement age, there is no limit on the income you can earn and still collect your full survivors benefits. If you are less than full retirement age, though, Social Security deducts $1 from your benefits for each $2 you earn above $13,560. That's the limit for 2008 – it goes up each year. This limit only applies to money you earn from current work. Any other income you get that's not from work you're doing now – such as pensions, savings, investments – does not count against this yearly limit and does not affect your survivors benefits.

There's a special rule if you reach full retirement age this year. In that case, Social Security deducts $1 from your survivors benefits for each $3 you earn above $36,120 up to the month you reach full retirement age.