Will my survivor benefit be impacted by my VA disability compensation?

Published: March 14, 2024

Full question: I am retired military receiving retired pay. I am also receiving 100% VA Disability compensation. My spouse was drawing SSDI at the time of her death (aged 53). I have not remarried and will turn 60 next year. Am I eligible to receive a Survivor Benefit? If so, is there a reduction due to my VA Disability Compensation?

Hi there,

Yes, you are eligible for survivor benefits based on her earnings record. There is no reduction due to your VA disability benefit, as this is “unearned” income.

You may file for the survivor benefit as early as age 60, though it will be reduced, based on your age when you file. The maximum survivor benefit will be available at age 67, your Full Retirement Age.

Depending on whether you are also eligible for your own Social Security retirement benefit and other considerations, you may want to consider an RSSA analysis. You are able to file for one, then switch to the other later. An analysis will help you determine if it is best to first collect the survivor benefit and then your own retirement benefit, or vice-versa.

Unlike the survivor benefit, your own retirement benefit will increase as you wait to collect it up to age 70. Earnings limits apply if collecting either benefit before age 67.

All the best,

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