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A Widow’s Right to File a Claim

suncoastSSAdvisors.com Featured Author shares – Tom Margenau is not only a current author of articles about Social Security, he worked for them – imagine his insight; recently, I came across an excerpt from his article in an online source Tuscon.com.(Aug 2021). In agreement for his permission to share this I promised to mention his book SOCIAL SECURITY: SIMPLE & SMART at www.creators.com.
“Almost every day, I hear from readers who have been misled by an SSA representative.
I know we are all human, and we all can make mistakes. And giving out bum advice is
one thing. But giving out misinformation that leads to someone losing out on benefits
that they’re due is an entirely different matter.”
As a consumer of SSA services . . what you can do is follow the mantra I’ve preached over and over again in: always insist on filing a claim for benefits – If you think you are due benefits, but if an SSA rep says no, you have every right to still file a claim. That way you
will get a formal and legal decision about your eligibility, and not just some SSA rep’s
opinion on the matter. Here are some examples of what I’m talking about.
Q: My 78-year-old husband recently died. He waited until 70 to file for
benefits. He was getting $3,555 per month. I took benefits at 66. I am
getting $2,810 per month. I called SSA to ask about widow’s benefits. The
agent told me I am only due his age 66 rate, which he said was $2,740. And
because my own retirement check is more, he said I was due no widow’s
benefits. I would like your take on this.
A: Well, this isn’t my “take.” This is the law. And the law says you are due his age 70
benefit rate in the form of widow’s benefits. In other words, you will keep getting your
$2,810 retirement benefit. And then you will get an additional $745 in widow’s
benefits to take you up to your husband’s $3,555 level.
The SSA rep you talked to might have been confused because the spousal rate payable
to a wife (whose husband is still alive) is based on his full retirement age rate. But the
rate payable to a widow is based on the deceased husband’s actual benefit, including
any “delayed retirement credits” earned for waiting until age 70 to file (as your
husband did).
So call SSA back immediately and insist on filing a claim for widow’s benefits.”
Suffice to say, Social Security Benefits claiming is confusing and clear communications are imperative. If you’re ready for your Benefits Analysis, Suncoast Social Security Advisors can show you various timing strategies for single, married, divorced or disabled. Don’t leave your options to chance!
Give us a call at 941-248-3638 & thanks for listening!

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