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Should I start collecting widow benefits now that I'm 60?

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  Answers  |  1

July 31, 2018

As a widow, you may file for survivor benefit earlier than you can for your own benefit. That does not mean it is the best option, even though you can. Generally you should only file for Social Security early if you are in financial need or if you have a medical condition that would cause a shortened life expectancy.
You also want to consider whether your survivor benefit is greater than the benefit based on your own work record. You will get the greater of the two, but only the survivor benefit is available as early as age 60. The earliest you can file for your own benefit is at age 62.

The amount that an individual will receive depends on the age at which they file for benefits calculated as a percentage of their full retirement age (FRA).
If benefits are started before FRA, then they will be reduced. If they are started after FRA, then they will be increased. Once the benefit has started, the monthly amount will not be adjusted, except for cost of living adjustments.

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