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Case Study: Cheri’s Journey to Survivor Benefits Thumbnail

Case Study: Cheri’s Journey to Survivor Benefits

By Beau Henderson, RICP®, CLTC®, Certified Financial Fiduciary®

Losing a spouse is one of the most tragic events a person can experience. Between grieving your loss and making sense of your new reality, the last thing you want to do is deal with complicated financial decisions. Unfortunately, finances in the aftermath of loss are often anything but simple, especially when it comes to navigating Social Security Survivor Benefits. 

At RichLife Advisors, we specialize in helping clients understand their Survivor Benefits and receive the funds they are entitled to. Here is an example of a recent client we worked with and the huge difference it made for her finances.

The Client

Cheri (1) came to us in 2019 after losing her husband at age 55. She had initially gone to the local Social Security Administration to apply for spousal benefits, but she left empty-handed believing she wasn’t eligible. 

The Journey

After attending our Social Security workshop, Cheri came to us for more information about how she could reapply for Survivor Benefits and why she was denied the first time around.

At the time Cheri initially spoke with the SSA, it was technically true that she wasn’t eligible for Survivor Benefits at age 55. But she left that conversation with the impression that she would never be eligible for a spousal benefit. What she didn’t know was that she would be eligible for benefits when she turned 60.

Cheri had spent the last three years working tirelessly for only $15,000 a year. She had moved in with her sister and was constantly stressed about making ends meet, feeling like she would never be able to relax and actually retire. 

We walked Cheri through the Survivor Benefit rules and regulations, and gave her the information she needed to reapply.

The Outcome

Armed with this information, Cheri made another appointment with her local SSA office. After providing the necessary paperwork, she discovered she was eligible for spousal benefits under her husband’s work record. 

Her benefits totaled $2,250 per month, or $27,000. In just one follow-up conversation with the SSA, she was able to nearly triple her income based on the information we gave her. 

Cheri returned to our office with tears streaming down her face. She had no idea what she was missing out on until she worked with us, and she was so grateful that we had helped her receive the benefits she was rightly entitled to. 

Cheri now makes more than she did working at her full-time job, and she had the choice to slow down and finally relax. She chose to transition to part-time work, then full retirement in the next couple years. Cheri credits RichLife Advisors for helping her feel more confident in her long-term financial future.

Do You Have Questions About Survivor Benefits?

Are you a surviving spouse with questions about your Survivor Benefits? Do you resonate with Cheri’s journey? If so, RichLife Advisors is here to help. Don’t miss out on important, life-changing benefits just because of bad timing or lack of information. Click here for a free Social Security Optimization Analysis and take the first step toward financial confidence. To get started, call (770) 249-7424, email Info@RichLifeAdvisors.com, or schedule an appointment today.

About Beau

Beau Henderson is founder and visionary of RichLife Advisors, a locally owned and operated firm of retirement planning experts that focus on helping those approaching retirement create a comprehensive strategy to “live their definition of a RichLife.” Beau uses a holistic approach to financial planning, with the goal of improving his clients’ relationship with money while they live their unique definition of a fulfilled, meaningful retirement with purpose. He creates strategies his clients can understand, which provide financial comfort and confidence. Ongoing education and training is a top priority, and Beau strives to educate clients and make an impact as their trusted partner.

Beau has a psychology degree from the University of Georgia as well as the designations of Retirement Income Certified Professional (RICP®), Certification for Long-Term Care (CLTC®), National Social Security Advisor Certificate Holder, Certified Financial Fiduciary® , Certified Professional Retirement Coach (CPRC), Certified Bucket Plan Advisor, Master Certified Success Coach, and Certified Master Behavioral Analyst. He is also an active member of Ed Slott’s Elite IRA Advisor Group℠ (an organization dedicated to the ongoing education and mastery of the latest retirement tax laws) and a best-selling author. In his free time, Beau enjoys podcasting, traveling, boating, fishing, and spending time with his daughter, Gwendolyn. To learn more about Beau, connect with him on LinkedIn.


(1) Name changed for confidentiality