Senior Living



Social Security and You: Let's Play 20 Questions

Tom Margenau on

I'm going to assume you've all heard of the kids' game "20 Questions." Well, I'm going to do my own version of that today. I'm going to try to squeeze 20 questions into this column. To do that, my answers must be short and sweet.

Q: I just inherited some property that is worth $40,000. If I sell that property, will I lose my Social Security widows benefits?

A: No. Social Security is not welfare. You could sell a million dollars' worth of property, and you will continue to get your widows benefits.

Q: My husband had $175,000 in gambling winnings last year, and now our Social Security check went down. Why?

A: Your Social Security benefits were not cut. But your Medicare Part B premium (that is deducted from your check) went up. To learn more, go to, and do a search for the pamphlet, "Medicare Premiums for Higher Income Beneficiaries."

Q: Can I take my husband's benefits at 62 and then at 66, switch to my own Social Security?


A: No. You must file for your own benefits first.

Q: My husband died. Can I take widows benefits at 62 and save my own until age 66?

A: Yes, you can. The difference between your case and the one discussed in the prior question is that your husband is deceased. Widows have the option of filing for reduced benefits on one record and later switching to higher benefits on another record.

Q: If I take my own Social Security at 62, will that reduce the amount of widows benefits I will get when my husband dies?


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