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. M F.

    What are the qualifiers for a remaining spouse to receive Social Security payments in the event of one’s death,
    and deceased also having an x spouse ?

    • Ann C.

      Hi. A surviving spouse is eligible to apply for survivor benefits at age 60 (age 50 or over if disabled). You can find more information about survivors benefits by visiting our Benefits Planner: If You Are The Survivor. Thanks.

  2. gina r.

    they did not tell us what was going on .the people asked me if i was ready to go. i was like where am i going.

  3. Lynn W.

    I want to know more about spousal benefits. If I am eligible, and if so, how I apply for them.

    • Ann C.

      Hi, Lynn. To qualify for spouse’s benefits, your husband must be receiving retirement or disability benefits. Also, when you qualify for Social Security benefits on your own record, we pay that amount first. But if you also qualify for a higher amount as a spouse later on, you’ll get a combination of benefits that equals that higher amount. Visit our Retirement Planner: Benefits For You As A Spouse for more information. Thanks!

  4. Karen P.

    Your 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.<< I need to have clarified is that the part where it says about taking care of a child entitled on your record who is under the age of 16 or disabled now the disabled part would that be the child being disabled or the spouse is disabled

  5. sueann k.

    cannot sign in with current username and password do I have to create a new my social security account..Sueann k lawton
    trying to check for claim info of my deceased husband

    • Ann C.

      Hi, Sueann. If you are still unable to create an account or encounter a problem with your personal my Social Security account, you may:
      •Call us at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778), Monday through Friday from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. At the voice prompt, say “helpdesk”; or
      •Contact your local Social Security office. Your local office can also assist with pending claim information. We hope this helps.

  6. Teddy D.

    I am 60 years of age and receiving disability social security benefits. My question is, what will happen in the case of my death? will my wife continue to receive my check? Thank you for your anticipated response.

    • Ann C.

      Thank you for your question, Teddy. Your wife could be eligible for reduced widow’s benefits as early as age 60 (age 50 if disabled). For more information, please go to our Survivors Planner page and read our publication: How Social Security Can Help – When A Family Member Dies. We hope this helps.

  7. p J.

    I think it is a darn shame that no one mentions the WEP offset. This Offset takes 50% of my previously earned social security benefits from me each and every month without a real reason. Its excuse in the beginning was that we, who worked for our state governments received a pension. But our pensions were very small, it doesn’t mention that fact. I think its a shame the way social security puts advice out there but hides the fact that they are taking, or ‘stealing’ earned benefits from those of us who worked for the states that did not pay into social security. They need to begin admitting the fraudulent offset that was perpetrated on unsuspecting state employees beginning from 1983 to the presewnt. They owe many of well over $100,000 as of this date. Before they can guide others, maybe they better clean up their act first.

  8. Russell B.

    I am trying to get some information about a student loan i didn’t know i have/had ! I call and call and all i get is an answering machine that tells me the Social Security office is closed! Am i dialing the right numbers?
    1.800.772.1213 and 1.800.944.0795 ! Thank you

  9. CHERYL F.


    • Ann C.

      Hi, Cheryl. We are sorry to hear about your loss. Only eligible family members may be able to receive the one-time payment and monthly survivor benefits. For more information on this, please read our publication, How Social Security Can Help You When a Family Member Dies. We hope this helps.

  10. T

    Hello. What questions are asked to apply for Social Security benefits online? Will I need a bank account number? Will I need to have a copy of my social security card and birth certificate sent to ss office somehow? I have no printer/scanner. Thank you

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