Social Security planning for couples
Unfortunately, far too many people think of Social Security as only an individual benefit – what you, yourself, can collect – without a lot of thought for what the surviving partner will receive when one of you passes. While considering when to start your Social Security benefits, thinking about what happens when one of you passes is, simply stated, the right thing to do. If they have reached their full retirement age, a surviving spouse will get 100% of the deceased spouse’s benefit (if that is higher than their own benefit), but the smaller benefit will go away. In a nutshell, whenever one partner dies, that couple’s total Social Security income is going to be cut by a significant amount, so survivor-planning before deciding when to claim benefits should be a part of every couple’s regime. This Kiplinger article by Rachel L. Sheedy explains.