Can I collect my Social Security to make up the difference between my benefit and my survivor benefit?

Published: November 9, 2022

Full question: My husband is in hospice. When he passes, I will be able to collect his railroad pension, but no longer mine. Can I collect my Social Security to make up for the lost?

Hi there,

I am sorry about your husband.

Railroad retirement benefits and Social Security benefits are similar. There are a few rules that differ, however generally the rules are the same.

If your spouse passes and you are the surviving spouse, you may be eligible for a survivor benefit. The survivor benefit has many rules that complicate things sometimes, but other times it can be straight forward. Without knowing more information it would be hard to say what survivor benefit you are eligible for. However, in general, the survivor benefit is the higher of the two benefit holders.

For example, if you are collecting a retirement benefit of $1,000 but your spouse is collecting $1,500 then the $1,500 would be your survivor benefit. You would not receive your own benefit and the survivor benefit, but you would continue to receive your own $1,000 benefit and the extra $500 up to the $1,500 would be the survivor portion. Again, this will not be completely accurate without knowing more information that can change this such as when your spouse collected, your age, your date of birth, and other factors.

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Take care,

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