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Question for the Money Doctors

Question submitted on Sep 17, 2012.

Question

Folks,

My wife died this May. I will turn 65 in less than 2 weeks. I''m crunching numbers to see if I can retire (or at least leave a job that has become very unpleasant, with no raises in almost 5 years): I''m a toolmaker making only about $50K a year.
I went to Social Security in June. They told me I already made too much money this year to collect, and sent me home with a stack of papers. Highlighted were the following figures for 01/2013: $1849.40 Retirement MBA and $2238.20 Widow MBA.

My main question is: Why am I not receiving Widow Benefits NOW? Does my present income make me ineligible? It doesn''t seem fair, after my wife and I have both worked so hard all our lives.

THANK YOU for any guidance you can give!

Pete

Answer

Because Social Security is intended as supplemental income, even survivor benefits are subject to earnings limitations.  Having not yet reached the full retirement age of 66, your benefits are reduced $1 for every $2 earned above $14,640 (in 2012).  Based on your anticipated wages of $50,000 in 2012, the survivor benefit of $2238.20 would be depleted within the 6-7 months you were eligible to collect.


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