Many people make the mistake of dismissing survivor benefits, especially if the spouse died a long time ago and never earned much money. It’s worth noting that the benefit amounts will have continued to grow after death because of cost-of-living adjustments made to keep up with inflation. If you are a low earner, your survivor benefits could exceed your retirement benefits. You’d receive survivor benefits instead of your retirement benefits.

Your reduced survivor benefits of 71.5 percent of your deceased spouse’s full retirement benefits at age sixty could exceed your retirement benefits, which means that you could begin collecting Social Security at age sixty instead of at age sixty-two or later.