Social Security Benefits: a Lifetime of Protections for Your Loved Ones

February 14, 2019 • By

Reading Time: 2 Minutes

Last Updated: August 19, 2021

" "At Social Security, we know how much your loved ones mean to you—that’s why our promise of lifetime protections extends to them. When you work and pay Social Security taxes, some of your immediate family may also qualify to receive benefits on your record.

We pay benefits to:

  1. Your spouseYour spouse may be able to receive benefits on your record if they’re over age 62, or if they’re younger and taking care of a child entitled on your record who is under the age of 16 or disabled.
  2. Your ChildYour minor children may be eligible for benefits while you’re receiving Social Security retirement or disability benefits. Grandchildren and stepchildren may qualify in certain situations. You can visit our website for parents and guardians or read our publication Benefits for Children for more information.
  3. Your surviving family members Our benefits help ease the financial burden on your loved ones after you die by providing monthly payments to eligible widows, widowers, children, and dependent parents. Our survivor benefits may carry even greater value than your individual life-insurance policy.
  4. Same-sex couplesYour spouse, divorced spouse, or surviving spouse of a same-sex marriage (or non-marital, legal, same-sex relationship) may also be entitled to benefits on your record. Visit our website for same-sex couples for more information.
  5. Your ex-spouse You may no longer be together, but if you’ve divorced, your former spouse who is age 60 or older (50-59 if disabled) may be eligible to receive benefits based on your record as long as other eligibility rules are met.

On our website, you can find detailed information on the lifetime protections we offer you and your loved ones. Help us spread the message by sharing this blog entry!

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About the Author

Darlynda Bogle, Assistant Deputy Commissioner

Darlynda Bogle, Assistant Deputy Commissioner


  1. Oje

    Your spouse may be able to receive benefits on your record if they’re over age 62, hmmm.


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  6. Rad K.

    When I pass away- I am 73- will my wife who has never worked outside the home continue to receive my SS benefits? She is 45. Thank you!

    • Ann C.

      Hi, Rad. Thanks for your question. The amount of her widow’s benefit is based on several factors, including: your earnings, when you started receiving your benefits, her age at the time of your death, and the amount of her own retirement benefit. We compare her own benefit with her potential survivor benefit. If her survivor benefit would be higher than her own retirement benefit, she would be eligible for survivor benefits. For more information, visit here. We hope this helps.

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