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Social Security: How Widows and Widowers Can Boost Their Benefits

Social Security offers benefits not only to retirees but also to their survivors after they pass away. But making the most of those survivors' benefits can be tricky.

In the following video from our Social Security Q&A series, Dan Caplinger, The Motley Fool's director of investment planning, answers a question from Fool reader Dave, who asks what impact claiming survivors' benefits will have on benefits based on one's own work history later. Dan notes that the key question is whether a person is taking benefits based on his or her own work history first, as that limits the amount of survivors' benefits you're entitled to receive. By contrast, if you haven't yet taken Social Security under your own work record, you can take survivors' benefits and still get the advantages of waiting to take your own Social Security, such as delayed retirement credits. Dan concludes that it's smart to consider all your Social Security options if you're in the unfortunate situation of having had your spouse pass away.

How to get even more income during retirement
Social Security plays a key role in your financial security, but it's not the only way to boost your retirement income. In our brand-new free report, our retirement experts give their insight on a simple strategy to take advantage of a little-known IRS rule that can help ensure a more comfortable retirement for you and your family. Click here to get your copy today.

Have general questions about Social Security? Email them to SocialSecurity@fool.com, and they might be the subject of a future video!


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Dan Caplinger
TMFGalagan

Dan Caplinger has been a contract writer for the Motley Fool since 2006. As the Fool's Director of Investment Planning, Dan oversees much of the personal-finance and investment-planning content published daily on Fool.com. With a background as an estate-planning attorney and independent financial consultant, Dan's articles are based on more than 20 years of experience from all angles of the financial world.

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