After the death of a loved one, it can be difficult to deal with bills, insurance, and Social Security.  Of the 5.7 million people awarded Social Security benefits in 2019, 886K were survivors of deceased workers.  In total there were 3.9 million widows and widowers receiving benefits in 2019.  You should report to the Monterey County Social Security office when a spouse dies.  Their number is 1-800-772-1213.  Unfortunately, you cannot report a death or apply for survivors benefits online.  The calculation is that if your deceased spouse was taking Social Security, your benefit will be the greater of your benefit or your spouse’s benefit.  If you are not yet collecting Social Security and you’re at least 60, the best way to maximize your benefits are to collect the survivors benefit at your current age and then switch to retirement benefits starting at age 70.

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