My spouse has no earnings history. In the event of my death, will their spousal benefit switch to a higher survivor benefit?

Published: September 28, 2023

Full question: If my spouse who has no earning history, applies (on my earnings) for reduced spousal benefits now and withdraws and if some thing happens to me before her FRA. The benefits be auto converted to survivor benefits, will benefit be ‘Recalculated’ at that time based on survivor benefits at higher level or will they remain at same reduced spousal benefit amounts as of previous level just with a benefit name change?


If your spouse is collecting spousal benefits and you pass away, she will be eligible for survivor benefits and will receive the higher amount of the two. Spousal benefits are only up to 50% of your full benefit, and even less if claimed early.

Therefore, the survivor benefit will most likely increase the amount she receives since it is the full amount you were eligible for at the time of your death. Survivor benefit rules are the most complicated and allow more flexibility so it would be wise to consult with an RSSA if this were to happen.

For personalized assistance now, schedule time with an RSSA here.

All the best,

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