Disability, General, Retirement, SSI, Survivors

You and Your Family May Be Eligible for Increased Benefits

September 9, 2021 • By

Last Updated: September 9, 2021

mother and daughter using laptop onlineWe know your circumstances may change after you apply—or become eligible—for benefits. If you, or a family member, receive Social Security or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), certain life changes could entitle you to an increase in your benefit amount.

As part of our Potential Entitlement initiative, we want to help you identify where you might qualify for a higher benefit. For example, you may be entitled to higher benefits based on your own earnings record or someone else’s record. Some of the life changes that could possibly increase your benefits include the following scenarios:

  • If your spouse or ex-spouse dies, you may be eligible for a higher survivor benefit based on his or her earnings record. The death of an ex-spouse may entitle you to a higher survivor benefit even if you are already receiving a survivor benefit on another spouse. Our publication, Survivors Benefits, has additional information we encourage you to check out.
  • If you are receiving Social Security benefits based on your spouse’s work and you have worked, you may be eligible for a higher retirement benefit based on your own work.
  • If your deceased adult child provided at least half of your support, you may be eligible for a higher parent’s benefit based on your child’s work history. Our publication, Parent’s Benefits, includes more information you may want to consider.

We continue to focus our Potential Entitlement initiative on people who face barriers to service. This includes our elderly population, children with disabilities, veterans, SSI recipients, and people with limited English proficiency. We are proud to say that since we started the initiative in 2017, our efforts have resulted in approximately $553 million in retroactive and total monthly increased benefits paid.

We encourage you to check out our Explore the Benefits You May Be Due page for more information on any additional benefits available for you and your family. You can use your personal my Social Security account to check your benefit and payment information – along with your earnings record. If you don’t have a personal my Social Security account, you can create one today!

Please share this information with your friends and family—and post it on social media.

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Deputy Associate Commissioner, Office of Strategic and Digital Communications


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  1. Vicki C.

    i was diagnosed with cancer in 2013. i had always loved my job but the dx was devastating and unsure of the outcome. i retired within 30 days. the past 8 years has been follows ups and treatment. i only applied for social security as i didnt realize i might qualify for ssdi so am wondering if i can apply to change my status?

    • Vonda

      Hi Vicki, thanks for using our blog. It depends on how old you currently are. When a person has reached their full retirement age  and is receiving Social Security retirement, they are no longer eligible for disability benefits. If you are under your full retirement age, you absolutely can apply for disability benefits.

      If you have any questions or want to apply, call us at 1-800-772-1213 or contact your local Social Security office. Please look for the general inquiry telephone number at the Social Security Office Locator. The number may appear under Show Additional Office Information. We hope this information helps.

  2. Beth V.

    Hi, I’m presently on worker’s comp with Department of Labor, if my husband passes away while I’m still on worker’s comp, am I eligible to receive his monthly Social Security checks?

    • Vonda

      Hi Beth, thanks for using our blog. Workers’ compensation and other public disability benefits may reduce Social Security disability benefits. 

      You may be eligible for reduced widows benefits as early as age 60 (age 50 if disabled) and at any age if caring for the deceased’s child who is under age 16 or disabled and receiving benefits on the deceased’s record. Survivor benefit amounts are based on your husband’s earnings. The more he paid into Social Security, the higher the benefits would be. The benefits will not be established automatically, you will have to contact us.

      Check out our If You Are The Survivor web page for details. We hope this helps! 

  3. Adriana

    Hola! quisiera saber si programando una cita para atencion, mi familiar (de 86 años) recibira alguna ayuda para rellenar los formularios que necesita para tramitar la jubilacion como superviviente, de su esposo que acaba de fallecer. El gran problema es que ella esta sola en Miami, sin familia ni conocidos.
    Gracias y saludos

  4. Shirley H.

    I got 45.00 deposit in my checking account this month from SSA this extra is for what.

    • Ann C.

      Hi, Shirley. For your security, we do not have access to private information in this venue. We ask that members in our Blog community work with our offices with specific questions. You can call us at 1-800-772-1213, Monday through Friday, between 8:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m., for assistance. Generally, you will have a shorter wait if you call later in the day. You can also contact your local Social Security office. We hope this helps.

    • orvil b.

      thats great i got nothing

    • Michele

      Hi Shirley, so did I. I don’t know what this is for and it doesn’t say anything on “My social security” website.

    • Lu P.


      My mother received a deposit for $126 today. We checked “My Social Security” website and there’s no information regarding this deposit.
      Does anyone know why?

      • Vonda

        For your security, Lu, we do not have access to private information in this venue. We ask that members in our Blog community work with our offices with specific questions. You can call us at 1-800-772-1213 for assistance or you can contact your local Social Security office. Please look for the general inquiry telephone number at the Social Security Office Locator. The number may appear under Show Additional Office Information. We hope this information helps.

    • Jim R.

      I can provide a possible explanation. I got $36. Soc Sec benefits are determined by a calculation using your 35 best years of income subject to Soc Sec. Some of those years may have been 0. If you worked and earned income in 2020, that income may replace one of the zeroes and benefits are recalculated. The recalculated benefit amount isn’t started until Dec and they provide the additional amount for the 9-10 months in September. I’m trying to find out how many makeup months are in that $36 so I can know how much my monthly benefits increased. Then I can increase that new amount by 5.9% to see how much I will get in Jan.

      • Doe

        Thank you, what a blessing to have a person that is willing to explain something!!

  5. Jetblue b.


  6. Lisa

    Hello. When will local Social Security offices be reopening for service face to face?

    • Vonda

      Hi Lisa, thanks for using our blogWe are still able to provide critical services. Please note that all local Social Security offices are closed for walk-in service, though an in-person appointment may be possible. Our local office employees are answering calls to their office and our telephone representatives are answering calls to our National 800 Number. Our website offers many safe and secure self-help services and a wealth of information to help you. Please read our Coronavirus (COVID-19) information page to learn more, including how to get help from the Social Security Administration by phone and online. We hope this is helpful. 

      • Paul D.

        I have dealt with stroke and heart attack symptoms for the past eight years where I tried to return to work because of my conditions. As a homeless veteran everybody says I need to go to work in order to get assistance with housing. I have a pinched nerve and an artery that has blockage for so long that nobody is doing or can do anything about it and yet I’m supposed to work in these conditions nobody to watch my two daughters no home to put down as an address. It appears it’s not stressful not being homeless that you got to work at a job in an employer tell you you can’t be on the phone could you need to be working for me. And if you’re not on the phone looking for a house or getting phone calls to get you a place to stay these people must live in a different world than I do today think it’s okay to work and make phone calls to get housing and leave your children alone in a hotel. Who in the right mind does since think like me that would be extremely stressful if you put your children first.


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