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

Comments

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  1. Sally S.

    My sister passed away in April 2021. Her and her husband have a 12 year old son. Her son is autistic and gets ssdi and survivors benefits. Her husband also gets survivors benefits. Her husband was just told he has less than a year to live. Will their son also get survivors benefits when his father passes from his father?

    Reply
    • Vonda

      Hi Sally, thanks for using our blog. We are sorry to hear about your loss. The minor child may be eligible for survivor benefits if the child’s father earned enough Social Security credits through his work. The minor child is eligible for survivor benefits on the higher of the two records, not on both. See our factsheet on Benefits for Children for more information.

       

      Reply
  2. Lana K.

    I’m 70 and retired, my husband is 68 and still working, why is extra meeting being deducted from my social security benefit?

    Reply
    • Lana K.

      I meant money

      Reply
    • Vonda

      Hi Lana, thanks for using our blog. If you’re enrolled in Medicare, the standard Medicare Part B premium for medical insurance in 2021 is $148.50 and is automatically deducted from your monthly benefits.

      If you’re not enrolled in Medicare and would like to speak to a representative about the deduction, 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.  Please be aware that our call wait times are longer than normal. We hope this information helps.

       

      Reply
  3. Susan

    Today, November 1, 2021, I received an additional SS payment as a direct deposit to my checking account. My husband also received an additional payment. We have not had any information as to why we received additional funds.
    Thank you for any additional information.

    Reply
    • Vonda

      Hi Susan, thanks for using our blog. 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 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.

      Reply
  4. Evonne W.

    Hello. I would like to know if Im entitled to survivor benifits from my first husband who have passed. I have since remarried and presently divorce. Would i be able to apply for any benefit concerning my first husband?

    Reply
    • Vonda

      Hi Evonne, thank you for your question. If you are not married, you may be eligible for survivor benefits on your first spouse’s record. Typically a widow(er) at their full (survivors) retirement age or older generally receives 100% of the deceased worker’s amount or reduced benefits as early as age 60. For more information about survivor benefits, visit our If You Are the Survivor web page.

      Reply
  5. Marie S.

    My husband is planning on retiring from his job at 62 and will begin to collect social security. We have 2 children both age 2. Will he be able to collect for our dependents as well, and if so, what is the percentage? So much information out there is very confusing. I tried to download the detailed calculator from SSA, but doesn’t work with my Mac computer.

    thank you

    Reply
    • Vonda

      Hi Bill, thanks for using our blog. When a parent gets Social Security retirement or disability benefits, their child/children also may get benefits. Children also can get benefits when a parent dies. The child can be a biological child, adopted child or stepchild. A dependent grandchild also may qualify.

      To get benefits, the child/children must be unmarried and:

      • Younger than age 18;
      • A full-time student (no higher than grade 12) 18 to 19 years old; or
      • Have a disability that started before age 22 and is 18 years or older.

      Within a family, a child can receive up to half of the parent’s full retirement or disability benefits. If a child receives survivors benefits, they can get up to 75% of the deceased parent’s basic Social Security benefit. There is a limit, however, to the amount of money we can pay to a family. The family maximum payment is determined as part of every Social Security benefit computation. It can be from 150% to 180% of the parent’s full benefit amount. If the total amount payable to all family members exceeds this limit, we reduce each person’s benefit proportionately (except the parent’s) until the total equals the maximum allowable amount.

       

      See our factsheet on Benefits for Children for more information.

      Reply
      • Marie S.

        Could you please explain what you mean by “up to” half of the parent’s full retirement. what determines the amount?

        Reply
        • Vonda

          Hi Marie, thanks for your question. If the parent is receiving Social Security retirement benefits, the maximum benefit a child can receive is half of their full benefit. However, there is a limit to the amount that we can pay a family so there are times when the benefit is less than half because of the family maximum. 

          Check out our factsheet on Benefits for Children for more information.

          Reply
  6. 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?

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
  7. 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?
    Thanks

    Reply
    • 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! 

      Reply
  8. 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

    Reply
    • Ann C.

      Hi, Adriana. For information in Spanish, please visit us at  http://www.segurosocial.gov, http://www.facebook.com/segurosocial, or http://www.twitter/segurosocial.  For Social Security information in other languages, please visit us at http://www.socialsecurity.gov/multilanguage. Thanks!

      Reply
    • Billo A.

      Learn to speak English. I’m sure it’s not your situation but a lot of border jumpers learn english to draw the benefits and give honest people like you a bad reputation.

      Reply
      • Debi T.

        Second languages are hard, especially if you’re dealing with technical issues.

        Reply
        • Barbara J.

          And especially if you’re trying to learn English! English is my first language but I know, it’s one of the hardest languages to learn.

          Reply
      • Katherine S.

        How unfortunate that you think it is your place to give this person advice regarding their choice of how to communicate here. As a person who is fluent in Spanish, I will tell you that it was extremely difficult to learn a second language as an adult, and I would still not feel comfortable asking questions about financial affairs in Spanish, even though I am fluent enough and have the credentials to teach AP Spanish. I doubt you have even a bit of ability to speak a second language. If you did, you would not be so quick to attack. Your use of epithets like “border jumpers” tells a sad story about your ugly prejudices.

        Reply
        • Lori

          I agree. How horrible to sit there and judge a stranger. My neighbors are a Mexican family, and are here fully legally. They are the nicest, hardest working and kind neighbors I have ever had. Prejudice doesn’t belong.

          Reply
  9. Shirley H.

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

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
    • orvil b.

      thats great i got nothing

      Reply
      • Trish

        Me either. Family with children got lots of money, some workers were getting some extra money for something, and Im not saying they don’t deserve it, but what I’m saying is wth. We live in fixed income. Everything had gone up. And if one more person says about our big cola raise again I’m going to scream. They forget everything else is going up to. Premium’s deductible etc so basically back where we started. And still our lovely government gets to sit up there making all the money we pay them n deem who they think are worthy.
        Sorry, but this is wrong

        Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
    • Lu P.

      Hello,

      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?

      Reply
      • 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.

        Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
      • Doe

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

        Reply
      • Katherine S.

        Thank you, Jim. That explains a lot about why some people’s “surprise deposit” is quite a bit more than others’. What you’ve posted here makes sense.

        Reply
  10. Lisa

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

    Reply
    • 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. 

      Reply
      • 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.

        Reply

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