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Researchers found couples can receive thousands of dollars more per year after a spouse passes if they are strategic with their benefits.


How about this idea for a new reality TV show: "Survivor: Maximize your Social Security." Rather than getting voted off the island, contestants lose when they fail to get the most out of Social Security’s survivor benefit—one of the government program’s most important features for married couples.

Here is how our reality show works. When one spouse dies, the survivor (typically, but not always the woman) has the option to take the larger of two benefits: her own or 100 percent of her late spouse’s benefit. The game sounds simple, and for many couples, it is.


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