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When you start receiving Social Security benefits, certain members of your family may also qualify for benefits on your record. Benefits may be paid to:
- Your spouse — To qualify for benefits, your spouse must be age 62 or older or be taking care of your minor child. We may ask for proof of marriage, and dates of prior marriages, if applicable.
- Your children — To qualify for benefits, your eligible child can be your biological child, adopted child or stepchild. We’ll need their Social Security numbers and birth certificates.
- Your adult child disabled before age 22 — To qualify for children’s benefits under our disability program, your disabled adult child must meet Social Security’s strict definition of disabled. A person is disabled under the Social Security Act if he or she can’t work due to a severe medical condition that has lasted, or is expected to last, at least one year or result in death.
- Your divorced spouse — If you are divorced, even if you have remarried, your ex-spouse may qualify for benefits on your record. If you have a divorced spouse who qualifies for benefits, it will not affect the amount of benefits you or your family may receive.
When you work, some of the Social Security taxes you pay now go toward survivors benefits for your family. The benefit amount your family is eligible for depends on your average lifetime earnings. The more you earned, the more your family’s benefits will be. You can visit our Benefits Planner to help them better understand Social Security’s family benefits as they plan for their financial future.
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