Although most Social Security beneficiaries are retirees and their families, Social Security benefits can help others too. Social Security can benefit workers who have become disabled, as well as families in which a spouse or parents dies.
Employees work and pay taxes into Social Security and that tax money is used to pay benefits to those who have already retired; disabled; survivors of workers who have died; and dependents of beneficiaries.
Money paid in taxes is not held in a personal account for workers to use in the future. Your tax dollars are being used right now to pay people who are getting benefits. Unused money is put into the Social Security trust funds – not a personal account for the taxpayer.
You may be eligible for Social Security at any age, depending on circumstances.
You can start receiving benefits as early as age 62, but if you start benefits early, your benefits are reduced to one-half of one percent for each month you start your Social Security before your full retirement age.
You can continue to work and still receive Social Security benefits. Working beyond full retirement age increases your benefits, but benefits will be reduced if your earnings exceed certain limits for the month before you reach full retirement age.
If you are receiving widow’s or widower’s benefits, you can switch to your own retirement benefits as early as age 62 – assuming your retirement benefit is more than the amount you receive on your deceased spouse’s earnings.
What If You Can’t Work?
If you can’t work due to a physical or mental condition that’s expected to last at least a year or result in death, you may be eligible for Social Security disability benefits.
People with disabilities, including children, who have little income and few resources may also be eligible for disability payments through the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program.
Children Can Receive Disability
Benefits can also be paid to your unmarried children if they’re younger than 18; between 18 and 19 but in elementary or secondary school as full-time students; or age 18 and older and severely disabled. (Note: the disability must have started before age 22).
If you become a parent of a child, including a child who is adopted, after you start getting benefits, consult your local Social Security Office or contact our Social Security Disability Lawyers to see if your child is eligible for benefits.
Family members who can collect benefits include a widow or widower who is: 60 or older; 50 or older and disabled; or any age if he/she is caring for your child who is younger than 16 or disabled and entitled to Social Security benefits on your record. If you are in need of a Workers’ Compensation Attorney please click here to learn more.