Retirement expert Laurence Kotlikoff advises readers on various Social Security subjects, including disability benefits for disabled children. Creative commons photo by Daniel Rivas Pacheco, via Wikimedia Commons.
Mary Ann Gillie: I am almost 59 and am receiving a widow’s pension and disability. Is there another way to get more benefits because I cannot work?
Larry Kotlikoff: I presume your widow’s pension is from your husband’s former employment. If your husband paid Social Security taxes at his work, you should be able to collect a reduced widow’s benefit from Social Security starting at age 62. You should think twice about doing this, however, since it will be permanently reduced by about 30 percent compared to the value it would have starting at your full retirement age, which is age 66. You may want to take your own reduced retirement benefits starting at 62 and then apply for your unreduced survivor benefit at 66. Or it may be better to take your survivor benefit starting at 66 and your highest possible retirement benefit starting at 70.
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