Can a widow (older than FRA) apply for retroactive widow benefits?

Published: July 27, 2020

Full question: Can a widow who is past FRA and still working apply for widows benefits retroactive to the day she reached FRA?


You may be entitled to monthly survivor benefits retroactively for up to 6 months. Retroactive benefits for months prior to attainment of FRA are not payable to a widow(er) if this results in a permanent reduction of the monthly benefit amount.

The fact that you are still working does not affect your Social Security benefit amount since you are FRA or older. The earnings test rule would apply if you were younger than your FRA.

You cannot apply online for survivor benefits. You should contact Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 to request an appointment. (July 2020 – Appointments may not be available in person due to the current COVID 19 pandemic but can be set up on the phone.)

All the best,

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