Social Security Benefits for Families

Social Security is for people who have either worked on their earning record for a long time, or are considered low-income. Low income people do not receive benefits unless they are supporting their family, in most cases. If you are disabled or unable to work, SSDI will pay out monthly benefits to help supplement your income.

Social Security protects families and helps secure their financial future. Putting money in Social Security comes with a lifetime protection for workers who invest in it.

How Families Work in Social Security

When it comes to Social Security, the term “family” is very literal. The term family is for people who are claiming to be dependent on another person’s earning record.

As an example, if a wife and the husband are both insured and receiving benefits, they are counted as two families. On the other hand, if the wife is not working and insured, her benefit will depend on her husband, and they are a single family. Families are different depending on the types of people who are claiming a benefit. Family benefits are affected by widows, disabled workers, or retired workers.

How Family Retirement Benefits Work

Once you retire, your Supplemental Security Income will be calculated based on your annual income. You will begin receiving monthly payments based on a percentage of your total contribution to Social Security.

If you are a widow or widower, the SSA can give you benefits based on your spouse’s earning record. If you are over 40 years old, this earning record could boost your monthly payments slightly.

If you have children receiving Social Security payments, you can receive part of their benefit until they are age 16. Whether they are disabled or owed payments through another parent’s earning record, you can claim a portion of their benefit. In retrospect, if you are retired and raising children, your grandchildren may be entitled to monthly benefits based on your earnings record.

At 62 years, a worker can begin to claim his or her benefits. In some households, it makes sense to begin collecting benefits early to allow other family members to immediately start receiving payments based on their earning record.

How Family Disability Benefits Work

Disability benefits are a safety net for people in case they become ill or unable to work due to disability. These benefits are usually paid out in two ways; SSDI and SSI.

The first method is SSDI. Social Security Administration has a guideline for determining if a person is disabled. Using the checklist that looks at age, income, and family, you will have to qualify for Disability in order to receive supplementary payments.

If a worker has contributed to their earning record for more than half of the time since they have turned 21, they will be entitled to additional benefits with their Social Security Disability. This usually happens when a worker was able to work, but then becomes disabled.

If your child qualifies for disability, or is blind, you may be entitled to Social Security benefits to help them live a healthy life. In addition, if you are taking care of a parent or guardian who is now disabled or retired, you may be able to claim part of their benefit as well. This is to help support their family as they are now unable to work.

Maximizing Social Security Benefits for Your Family

Maximizing Social Security benefits needs a lot of time and consideration. Regardless of whether you are wealthy or not, maximizing Social Security benefits may end up making a significant difference towards your retirement income. The first step in maximizing your retirement benefits, starts with waiting for the Full Retirement Age of 62. Collecting benefits before the FRA can lead to a significant cut in your benefits for you, and your family in the future.

Furthermore, if you wait until you are 70 years old, you are eligible to receive a boost to your monthly benefits based on your earnings record. This is only for people who receive one form of Social Security, whether is be SSI or SSDI.

If you are divorced or are thinking about divorce, understand that you aren’t entitled to Spousal benefits until you have been married for over 10 years. This will decide whether or not you are entitled to payments after the divorce.


Do Spousal Benefits Increase After Full Retirement Age?

Yes. If you and your spouse wait until you’re 62 years old, you will be entitled higher monthly payments from SSI.

How Do You Qualify For Spousal Benefits From Social Security?

Spousal benefits mainly occur if your spouse is already collecting payments from Social Security. If you are a widow or widower, you are entitled a portion of their payment benefits.

Can You Claim Spousal Benefits While Still Working?

Yes, because usually Spousal benefits aren’t based on your own earning record, but rather your spouses. You can continue to have income and receive payments from their Social Security.

How Are Family Benefits Calculated?

Family benefits are calculated based on income and number of children. If you are taking care of several people, and don’t have the income to provide for them all, family benefits were made for your situation.

Elliot Marks

Elliot Marks

Author & Social Security Advisor

Elliot Marks has spent over 10 years providing clear and concise information to help Americans navigate the complex nuances of social security and many other government services in the United States. Elliot has a passion for helping those in need of these services to be able to find timely access to news and information that is relevant and helpful to their daily lives.