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!

Did you find this Information helpful?

Thanks for your feedback!


See Comments

About the Author

Darlynda Bogle, Assistant Deputy Commissioner

Darlynda Bogle, Assistant Deputy Commissioner


  1. Giz

    Can I give time to my spouse? To be eligible to qualified?

    • Vonda V.

      Hi there. Thank you for your question. You earn Social Security credits when you work in a job and pay Social Security taxes. If your spouse doesn’t have enough work credits for retirement or disability benefits, maybe your spouse would qualify on your record for spouse’s benefits.

  2. Martha S.

    How long will SS permit the massive theft of taxpayer dollars by fraud??!! Most SS claims were Not well investigated from 2009 -2016! The fund has been robbed of $Billions$!!!

  3. JON C.

    i need to ask for a “reconsideration” to keep from paying a useless “late enrollment penalty”. you offer all this wonderful helpful and cherrfull things and then charge me “late enrollment penalty”

    • Norval

      I agree with you. Good question!! It is the Govt.
      way of doing things to help us tax paying citizens.

  4. Rod G.

    I do not understand why my wife is not eligible to collect spousal benefits, at the time of my death, because she is a teacher in the State of Ohio. Will someone please explain this to me?

    • Vonda V.

      Hi Rod, thanks for the question. Your wife absolutely can file for benefits on your record. However, if she is receiving a pension from a government job in which she did not pay Social Security taxes, some or all of her Social Security spouse’s or widow’s benefit may be offset due to receipt of that pension. This offset is referred to as the Government Pension Offset, or GPO. For additional details, check out our Government Pension Offset webpage.

  5. Althea C.

    How can I forward this to my son who is 63 and disabled?

    • Vonda V.

      Hi Althea, thank you for using our blog to ask your question. Your son can view all of our blog posts at

      For details regarding Social Security disability benefits, a great place to start is at the Disability Planner.

  6. Earnestine T.

    I have a question to ask. If two senior citizen get married and they are both on Disability, how will this affect their income, will it b e lowered or cut off?

    • Vonda V.

      Hello Earnestine, if they both receive Social Security disability or retirement benefits and they marry, their benefits will stay the same. See “If I get married, will it affect my benefits” for more information. Thanks!

  7. s o.

    Are most offices open on president’s day (Monday) please in PA?

    • Ann C.

      Hi. Social Security offices will be closed tomorrow in observance of Presidents’ Day. You can still do business with us online. We hope this helps.

  8. Robert W.

    I say this is a good thing. I also would like to hear more about grandchildren. Because I am in custody of a grandchild I would like to know more about what I can do to help him. I think you are doing a wonderful job in keeping the social security running like it does will you let me know or send me. More information about the grandchildren and so security thank you .

    • Vonda V.

      Thank you, Robert! Your thoughts are important to us and we’re pleased when feedback is positive. We try hard to provide the best possible service to our customers and your satisfaction is our reward.

      Under current law, Social Security can only pay benefits to grandchildren if certain conditions are met. In addition to providing for more than 50% of their support, the biological parents of the children must be deceased or disabled, or you must have legally adopted them. See “Benefits For Grandchildren” for more information.

  9. Edward K.

    Does retirees have Dental Coverage?

    • Prc


    • Vonda V.

      Hi Edward. If you’re asking about Medicare, visit the Medicare site for details on dental services.

  10. Joseph W.

    Thanks for the information; very valuable for my spouse and family.

Comments are closed.