5 Facts You Might Not Know About Social Security

July 19, 2018 • By

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Last Updated: July 19, 2018

little girl getting a piggy back ride on older womanMost people know at least something about Social Security. For decades, Social Security has been providing valuable information and tools to help you build financial security. Here’s your opportunity to find out a little more, with some lesser-known facts about Social Security.

1. Social Security pays benefits to children.

Social Security pays benefits to unmarried children whose parents are deceased, disabled, or retired. See Benefits for Children for the specific requirements.

2. Social Security can pay benefits to parents.

Most people know that when a worker dies, we can pay benefits to surviving spouses and children. What you may not know is that under certain circumstances, we can pay benefits to a surviving parent. Read our Fact Sheet Parent’s Benefits, for the details.

3. Widows’ and widowers’ payments can continue if remarriage occurs after age 60.

Remarriage ends survivor’s benefits when it occurs before age 60, but benefits can continue for marriages after age 60.

4. If a spouse draws reduced retirement benefits before starting spouse’s benefits (his or her spouse is younger), the spouse will not receive 50 percent of the worker’s benefit amount.

Your full spouse’s benefit could be up to 50 percent of your spouse’s full retirement age amount if you are full retirement age when you take it. If you qualify for your own retirement benefit and a spouse’s benefit, we always pay your own benefit first. (For example, you are eligible for $400 from your own retirement and $150 as a spouse for a total of $550.) The reduction rates for retirement and spouses benefits are different. If your spouse is younger, you cannot receive benefits unless he or she is receiving benefits (except for divorced spouses). If you took your reduced retirement first while waiting for your spouse to reach retirement age, when you add spouse’s benefits later, your own retirement portion remains reduced which causes the total retirement and spouses benefit together to total less than 50 percent of the worker’s amount. You can find out more on our website.

5. If your spouse’s retirement benefit is higher than your retirement benefit, and he or she chooses to take reduced benefits and dies first, your survivor benefit will be reduced, but may be higher than what your spouse received.

If the deceased worker started receiving reduced retirement benefits before their full retirement age, a special rule called the retirement insurance benefit limit may apply to the surviving spouse. The retirement insurance benefit limit is the maximum survivor benefit you may receive. Generally, the limit is the higher of:

  • The reduced monthly retirement benefit to which the deceased spouse would have been entitled if they had lived, or
  • 82.5 percent of the unreduced deceased spouse’s monthly benefit if they had started receiving benefits at their full retirement age (rather than choosing to receive a reduced retirement benefit early).

Social Security helps secure your financial future by providing the facts you need to make life’s important decisions.

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About the Author

Jim Borland, Acting Deputy Commissioner for Communications

Jim Borland, Acting Deputy Commissioner for Communications


  1. Luis a.

    thanks for all that information.

  2. Jane M.

    I have heard that if you take your social security early ie: 66 years and then turn 73 that you can re-apply and received a higher amount. Is this true?


    Does anyone know if a spouse dies, under what circumstances does SS rejects the wife’s claim?

  4. Robert Z.

    We are thinking of getting married. Both currently divorced/single. I am 62 and she is about 10 years younger. Do we qualify for the over 60 re-marriage rule? Or should we wait 🙂

    • Ann C.

      Hi, Robert. Thanks for your question. If you receive retirement or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, your marriage will not affect your benefit. If you are receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI), widow or widower’s benefits, your marriage may affect your benefit. To learn more about how marriage affects benefits, visit our Frequently Asked Questions. We hope this helps.

  5. Charles R.

    When I begin receiving SS, and I owe money to the IRS {13,000., how will this affect my SS checks?

    • Vonda V.

      Hi Charles, Check out our Frequently Asked Question regarding the laws allowing garnishment of Social Security benefits.

  6. Olga B.

    My husband seek on divorce and i see no reasons which i knew its for those bitches out there for almost 4 years and i tried all i could to have him back cos i really loved this man so much but i made a vow ain’t gon lose him to any bitch. Sadly all my effort didn’t work out.. We met at our early age in college and we both have feelings for each other and we got married happily for 5 years with no kid and he woke up one morning and told me he’s going on a divorce, i thought it was a joke and when he came back from work he tender to me a divorce letter and he packed all his belonging from my house and left. i was devastated and i tried all i could to have him back but all did not work. i was lonely for almost 4 years, So i contacted a man who says he is a spell caster and i told the spell caster what happened he said he will help me and he asked for his full name and his picture. i gave him that. At first i was skeptical but i gave it a try cos i have tried so many spell casters and there is no solution, so when he finished with the readings, he got back to me that he’s with a woman and that woman is the reason why he left me, The spell caster said he will help me with a spell that will surely bring him back, but i never believe all this he told me i will see a positive result within 3 days. 3 days later, he called me himself and came to me apologizing and he told me he will come back home. i can’t believe this, it was like a dream cos i never believe this will work out after trying many spell casters and there is no solution. The spell caster is so powerful and after that he helped me with a pregnancy spell and i got pregnant a month later, we are now happy been together again and with lovely kid. This spell caster has really changed my life i will forever thankful to you, Doc Muna helped many of my friends too with similar problem and they are happy and thankful too. This man is indeed the most powerful spell caster i have ever experienced in life. Am Posting this to the Forum in case there is anyone who has similar problem and still looking for a way out. you can reach him EMAiL: marvelspelltemple@gmail. com

  7. Barbara R.

    For those close to death, how to protect SS? Does my unmarried grandchild in college qualify for my benefits after I am deceased? How to insure that?

  8. Mauricio

    Ina racially charged case that attracted national
    attention, Holtzclaw was accused of committing sex crimes against 13 different African American women while patrolling a low income neighborhood.

  9. Melanie S.

    How long must you be married to recieve the widow benefits?

    • Vonda V.

      Hi Melanie, thank you for the question. According to current policy, a spouse must meet a 1 year duration-of-marriage requirement just before filing for the spousal benefit. Generally, a surviving spouse or widow meets the duration of marriage requirement if the marriage took place no later than 9 months immediately preceding the day on which the worker died. To learn more , visit our Survivors Planner: Survivors Benefits For Your Widow Or Widower.

  10. Nancy J.

    I am sixty six years old. I have been collecting my deceased husband’s social security since I was 62. How can I change to my social security number now ?

    • Ann C.

      Hi, Nancy. Since you are currently receiving benefits, you will need to contact your local Social Security office to set up an appointment to file for benefits on your own record. Thanks!

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