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Am I Getting All the Social Security Benefits I Can?

Am I Getting All the Social Security Benefits I Can?
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Money Talks News’ recent article entitled “7 Social Security Benefits You May Be Overlooking” says that the Social Security Administration provides payments to spouses, children and those with disabilities, among others. Let’s look at this in detail. Spousal benefits via a husband or wife. Spouses can get up to half of their husband’s or wife’s…

Money Talks News’ recent article entitled “7 Social Security Benefits You May Be Overlooking” says that the Social Security Administration provides payments to spouses, children, and those with disabilities, among others. Let’s look at this in detail.

  1. Spousal benefits via a husband or wife. Spouses can get up to half of their husband’s or wife’s monthly benefit. Even stay-at-home spouses without a work history can claim benefits with this method. You can start claiming spousal benefits as early as age 62. However, benefits are reduced if payments begin before your full retirement age. If you are entitled to your and spousal benefits, you will get an amount equal to whichever benefit level is greater.
  2. Spousal benefits via an ex-spouse. Even if you are divorced, you may be entitled to get spousal benefits. However, all of the following must apply to your situation:
  • Your ex-spouse is entitled to receive Social Security benefits;
  • You were married at least ten years to your ex-spouse;
  • You are currently unmarried; and
  • You are at least 62 years old.

The benefit you are entitled to get based on your work is less than your benefit based on your ex-spouse’s work. Claiming spousal benefits as a divorced person does not impact your ex’s benefit amount. It also does not affect any benefits their current spouse can receive if they have remarried.

  1. Survivors’ benefits for widows and widowers. If your spouse dies, you may still be able to receive up to 100% of their Social Security retirement benefits. Divorced spouses may also get survivor’s benefits if they were married for at least ten years and are now unmarried. Most widows and widowers can begin claiming survivor’s benefits as early as age 60. Those who have a disability and became disabled before or within seven years of their spouse’s death can start benefits as early as 50. In addition, widows and widowers of any age can get survivor’s benefits if they care for a deceased worker’s child who’s younger than age 16 or disabled.
  2. Survivors’ benefits for children. Children can get payments from a deceased parent’s record as well. Survivors’ benefits are available to children aged 18 (or 19 if full-time elementary or secondary school). These benefits may extend beyond that if a child becomes disabled and remains disabled before age 22. Grandchildren and stepchildren may also be eligible for these benefits depending on the circumstances. Parent’s benefits. Parents who rely on their children for financial support may be eligible to get benefits from Social Security if that child dies. To be eligible, you have to meet several criteria, including the following:
  • The deceased worker must have sufficient work credits to qualify for Social Security benefits;
  • You must be at least age 62 and, in most cases, cannot be married after the worker’s death;
  • You must have received at least half of your support from the deceased worker at specific points in time;
  • You were the natural parent or became the legal adoptive parent or stepparent before the worker turned 16 years old; and
  • You are not eligible for a retirement benefit from Social Security that exceeds the parent’s benefit.
  1. Disability benefits. To get monthly benefits through the Social Security Disability Insurance program, you must have a work history that makes you eligible for Social Security and be unable to work now because of a medical condition is expected to last at least a year or end in death.
  2. Supplemental Security Income. These benefits do not come from Social Security taxes, but rather the program uses general tax dollars to provide benefits to adults and children with disabilities, blindness, or limited income and resources. The SSI program is designed to provide cash assistance for basic needs, such as food, clothing, and housing. Because it is funded by general tax revenue, there is no work history requirement to receive these benefits.

Reference: Money Talks News (Feb. 8, 2022)” “7 Social Security Benefits You May Be Overlooking””