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. lkowna

    Hello! am I entitled to spousal benefits if my husband was married twice before?

  2. Eileen B.

    It caught my attention when you talked about how spouses over 62 years of age may be eligible to receive their partner’s social security benefits. My husband needs to meet with a social security attorney so he can apply for disability due to his digestive disorder. I’m glad I read your article so we can discuss the info you shared here with the attorney we end up choosing!

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    How long must we be married , for my wife to receive my benefits upon my death

    • Luis A.

      Hi Richard. Generally, individuals must be married for one (1) year before they can get spouse’s benefits. An applicant for surviving spouse benefits must meet a 9 month duration-of-marriage requirement. For more information about spouses benefits, visit our Benefits Planner: Benefits For You As A Spouse. For additional information about benefits as a surviving spouse, visit here. We hope this helps.

  6. Kelly J.

    I am approved for disability by a law judge and I have a family of four and still don’t receive my benefits?? What do I do?

    • Luis A.

      Hi Kelly. Please note that for your security, we do not have access to personal information in this forum. To speak with a representative about your specific question(s) please call our toll-free number, 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778), from Monday through Friday, between 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. You may also contact the local Social Security office. We hope this helps.

  7. Elite P.

    Nice blog! I am looking forward to these blogs for last few days. Thanks for sharing it with us wellness checkup baby Paterson

  8. Callum P.

    My mom is almost to the age to get social security. I think it would be good to look into this as it’s all new to us. That and possibly seeking out professional advice would be good to know.

  9. marie

    how old do you have to be to receive widows benefits

  10. Matthew M.

    I am currently permanently disabled and collecting SSDI. I have also received a notice that my retirement age comes up in 2 months and I will be receiving some amount less than SSDI for retirement from the SSA. Will I be getting 2 checks now?

    • Ann C.

      Hi, Matthew. Thanks for your question. You will only receive one benefit. Once a person reaches their full retirement age, we automatically convert their disability benefits to retirement benefits, but the amount remains the same. An individual’s full retirement age is determined by their year of birth. If you have specific questions regarding your benefits, you can call our toll free number at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778). Representatives are available Monday through Friday between 7:00a.m. and 7:00p.m. Generally, you’ll have a shorter wait time if you call later in the day. We hope this helps!

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