My wife dies at 63. I'm 62. Neither applied for SS retirement benefits. I hope to wait till I'm 70 to apply. I earn a third more than my wife did.
f you apply for benefits before your Full Retirement Age (66 - 67), you would have the choice of taking a Survivor Benefit or your own SS Benefit, whichever is greater,
When you attain your Full Retirement Age (66 - 67) you have the option to begin taking a Survivor Benefit from your wife's Social Security, deferring yours until later. You could then switch to your SS Benefits at Age 70 when they have maxed out.
Mr. Tucker is incorrect. If you apply prior to your Full Retirement Age, the Social Security Administration will award you the higher of the two benefits to which you are entitled. You do not have a choice. If you apply at or after your FRA, you get to make the choice. Further, if you apply prior to your FRA, you are limited in the amount you can earn before your benefit will be reduced. That amount for 2015 is $15,700. For every two dollars over $15,700 that you earn, your benefit is reduced by one dollar.
Survivor benefits are available after age 60, however they will be reduced by 4.75% for each year you file before age 66. See here: http://1.usa.gov/1EaAEkW
Considering your income, I agree with Mr. Mullen that the earnings test is another factor for consideration. While the benefits will not be permanently lost, they will be reduced until you reach your full retirement age.
You may apply for full survivor benefits at your Full Retirement Age to receive additional income until you take your benefits at age 70.