Does a widow’s survivor benefit get reduced if she is still working?

Published: March 28, 2022

Full question: I can’t find clarification on survivor benefits and earnings limits. If a husband passes away and the survivor wife is age 55 and is working and caring for kid(s) under 16, does her benefit get reduced because she is working?


Yes, like other Social Security benefits, survivor benefits also are subject to the earnings test if you start them before Full Retirement Age (FRA).

Survivor benefits are complicated. You must apply in an office or on the phone, not online. Especially if the wife is working and under full retirement age, she should get professional help and ask all the questions she has, so she doesn’t miss out on benefits that are rightfully theirs.

There will be a family maximum benefit so she should ask if a higher percentage of that total can be allocated to the children. This will alleviate the earnings test and possible taxation as well for the surviving parent.

Take care,

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