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Social Security covers much more than just retirement

Published on May 29th, 2014

There are a number of misconceptions when it comes to Social Security benefits. While there is a tendency to only think about these benefits as what we will receive when we retire, there are a large number of other benefits as well.

There are around 38 million retirees that receive Social Security income. However, there are also approximately 59 million Americans including surviving spouses, children and disabled individuals who receive Social Security payments. Even divorced spouses may be eligible to receive these benefits.

Retirement benefits are determined in large part by lifetime earnings. This would be equal to about 50 percent of what was earned in most circumstances.

Someone who has been married for one year may also qualify for a spousal benefit. If one is divorced, benefits can be extended if the marriage lasted 10 years. The spouse can receive this even if they happen to be remarried.

Children can receive payments if a parent dies, and the amount received can in some cases be significant. Children can also receive if the parent retires. Though generally this is only applicable if the child is under the age of 19 (if they are still in high school), a disabled child may be eligible for payments as well if the disability occurred before the age of 22.

Social Security is a complicated area of law. This is especially true when it comes to Social Security Disability Insurance. Please ask an experienced attorney concerning any Social Security qualification questions. It may prove to be costly to not avail oneself of such services.

Source: AARP, “Understanding the Different Kinds of Social Security Benefits,” Stan Hinden, May 13, 2014

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