Social Security Secures Today and Tomorrow for Workers and Their Families

February 7, 2020 • By

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Last Updated: February 7, 2020

Social Security has tools, information, and services to help secure today and tomorrow for you and your family.

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

Visit our website to learn how we’re with you throughout life’s journey.

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About the Author

Darlynda Bogle, Assistant Deputy Commissioner

Darlynda Bogle, Assistant Deputy Commissioner


  1. Andy H.

    After conducting a workshop on Social Security Disability benefits at the local library, I was approached by a woman who had been receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits for several years. She asked if she had understood the part about minor children receiving benefits under a parent who was entitled to Social Security Disability benefits. I told her that minors could receive benefits under their parent until age 18 or in certain cases until 19 if in school. She told me that her daughter was 16 and NOT receiving anything. This woman had filed for Social Security Disability prior to giving birth and never contacted Social Security about benefits for her daughter because she did not know that this was possible. I sent her to her local SSA office to file for her daughter. folks should always check Social Security’s website at: or call the 1 800 772-1213 for information about Social Security benefits

  2. Ken M.

    Do you think the WEP/GPO law will ever be changed?

  3. Craig W.

    My injuries get worse by the month because I’m not able to get proper surgeries done because of no insurance I’ve applied for Medicaid in may still haven’t gotten an answer because disability is holding it up mean time I’ve had a couple bad Falls after the fact the last one I got pleural effusion in 2 Broke ribs. I’m scared to leave the house cuz I may be hurt and have no medical means or money to do anything about it for going on over a year now can someone tell me why this is taking so long and it can’t be fast track thank you

    • Ann C.

      Hi, Craig. We are sorry to hear about your condition and situation. The length of time to receive a decision can vary depending on whether we need to verify documents or other personal information. If you would like to speak with someone regarding the status of an application, please call 1-800-772-1213, Monday-Friday between 7:00 a.m and 7:00 p.m. and ask a representative to assist you. You will generally have a shorter wait time if you call later in the day. You can also can contact your local office. We hope this helps.

  4. San V.

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  5. Carole R.

    Can my granddaughter who is an American citizen living in Israel, apply on-line for a social security card. She apparently can’t open a bank account in Israel without an Ss# and the process here is very time consuming and complicated.

    • Ann C.

      Hi, Carole. Since she is living outside of the U.S. she can contact her local Federal Benefits Unit for any assistance related to Social Security benefits. Also, our Office of International Operations home page provides more information to assist our customers living abroad. We hope this helps.

  6. Bhavna S.

    Is this benifis after my death for family members or while I am living? Pl. Explain… Thanks. Bhavna. S.

  7. BETTY G.


    “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.”

    darlynda, i’m very disappointed in your above comments that you have NOT MENTIONED THEY NEED TO BE MARRIED FOR 10 YEARS BEFORE they would be eligible as a spouse!

    please correct your article to make it accurate from everything i have read in the past; thank you 😉

  8. Walter A.

    Something to think about ….Why is that 100% disabled Veterans are taxed on very small amount of Social Security they receive while they also have to live on a low income existence.

  9. Olivia B.

    I have an adult son who is trying to get job but because of his prison record some people will not hire him. Now was shot and then the next year he.was again. Can he get some of my ss benefits?

    • Ann C.

      Hi, Olivia. We are sorry to hear about your son’s situation. Social Security pays disability benefits to people if they have a medical condition that has prevented them from working or is expected to prevent them from working for at least 12 months. He can apply online for disability benefits here. We hope this helps.

  10. Hoss

    It’s now too bad because it ends when everyone reaches the age of 18 and have left school.

    • BETTY

      for my brother’s 2 kids; 1 ended at age 18 and other one was 16 !!

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