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Four Types of Social Security Benefits

The Social Security benefits is the largest federal program that provides monetary assistance to certain people with limited income, seniors, disabled workers, and some family members.

Retirement Benefits

To become eligible, people should have worked at least 10 years in the US and have contributed enough funds while they were still working.

The retirement age depends on the year a person was born. According to Social Security office, the retirement age for people born before 1942 is 65; 66 for those who were born between 1943 and 1959; and 67 for individuals born 1960 onwards.

However, workers may start receiving their benefits as early as 62 or as late as 70.

For those who will choose early retirement, they will receive smaller monthly benefits. Meanwhile, those who will retire late can collect larger monthly claims to compensate for the years they do not receive benefits.

However, early and late retirement claims will give people the same total amount of benefits—the only difference is the duration of payments.

Disability Benefits

People who are suffering from severe or complete disability that prevents them from working and doing basic tasks may file for Social Security benefits. As a general rule however, the agency does not provide assistance for those who have partial disability.

To become eligible, people should meet these requirements:

  • They should have worked long enough and contributed sufficient Social Security funds before they became disabled.
  • They have a medical condition that prevents them from working.
  • They have certain impairments such as blindness or medical conditions that affect certain body organs.

Survivors Benefits

Some family members of Social Security taxpayers are qualified to receive separate benefits. According to the agency, the following family members are eligible to receive claims:

  • Spouses who have reached their full retirement age; however, they can receive claims as early as 60 years old but in reduced monthly pays. Meanwhile, divorced spouses may also be eligible as long as they will remain unmarried.
  • Disabled spouses can receive claims as early as 50 years old.
  • Spouses, regardless of their age, who are taking care of the deceased’s child aged 16 years and younger or disabled.
  • Children, regardless of their age, who were disabled before reaching the age of 22.
  • Unmarried children aged 18 years and younger can receive benefits. Stepchildren, grandchildren, and adopted children are also eligible for claims.
  • Dependent parents aged 62 years and older.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

SSI, which is funded by federal tax revenues, provides benefits to help disabled people and seniors who have limited resources.

Compared to other federally-sponsored benefits, people who did not contribute Social Security taxes while they were still working are still eligible to receive SSI claims.

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