Why is Timing of Social Security Important?

Social Security for surviving spouse
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The timing of Social Security claims has a significant impact on finances.

With the rise of inflation and cost of living, each penny counts.

This is true whether you are single and starting your career or married with children.

Those entering retirement may feel the financial stress acutely as income will not be generated by a paycheck from an employer.

According to a recent Kiplinger article titled “When You Claim Social Security Can Have Huge Implications for Your Spouse,” retirees should be intentional about when they claim social security.

Social Security for the surviving spouse can be impacted by the first spouse to die.
Married couples need to discuss their Social Security needs before claiming benefits.

Those who are married have more to consider than those who are single.

If you are married, you will need to consider your spouse as well.

Surviving spouse benefits are important in allowing a widow or widower to pay the bills after the death of the primary income earner.

Consider this example.

A married couple, with each spouse receiving Social Security.

One receives $3,000 monthly at age 66 and the other receives $1,900 monthly at age 62.

Although this allows for a total monthly income of $4,900 while both are alive, the income will be reduced to the only the larger monthly income after the death of one spouse.

If the older individual had taken benefits prior to full retirement age, the monthly benefit would be smaller.

For example, taking the the benefit starting at age 62 would reduce the monthly benefit to $2,625 rather than $3,000.

This will also impact the benefit of the surviving spouse.

How can you ensure your widow or widower will receive the maximum benefit available?

You can wait as long a possible to take Social Security.

Each year a person waits until reaching age 70 increases the benefit by 8 percent.

Not everyone will be able to wait to take Social Security benefits.

Many people need these to make ends meet.

If it is possible to delay, it will help the surviving spouse.

In cases where there is a significant age gap or difference in health between spouses, waiting can make a significant difference for the widow or widower.

If you delay benefits, you will be giving up several thousands dollars each month income prior to turning 70.

Although the benefit will be more later, it may be impossible to do this.

One would need a plan to account for this difference during the wait.

There is no single solution.


Instead, people must make plans according to their own circumstances and needs.

Reference: Kiplinger (April 20, 2022) “When You Claim Social Security Can Have Huge Implications for Your Spouse”

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