Different benefits for different family situations

National Family Month takes place each year from Mother’s Day in May to Father’s Day in June, and coincides with the end of the school year when families are able to spend even more time together.

It is the perfect time to spend more time focusing on each member of your family.

Social Security has the entire family in mind when it comes to coverage and benefits. Social Security is here to help everyone in the family, during every stage of life.

Most people think of retirement benefits when they think about Social Security, and that certainly is a big part of what the administration does. In fact, most of the benefits paid go to retirees and their families - about 41 million people. However, Social Security is more than retirement. Just read on.

People who work and pay Social Security taxes during their lifetimes can look forward to a strong foundation of income in retirement from Social Security. Of course, Social Security was never intended to be a person’s sole source of retirement income. People are expected to build with pensions, savings and other income upon a foundation.

Nevertheless, what if you become disabled before you retire and you are unable to continue working to support your family? Social Security has you covered with disability benefits. If you have a disability that is expected to last a year or longer, or result in death, you should apply for disability benefits.

Your work and taxes cover not only you, but your entire family, too.

Family benefits can include retirement, disability and, in the event of your death, survivors benefits.

This coverage includes everyone in your family who depends on you for support, such as your minor children who are under age 18, or age 19 if still in secondary school, as well as your spouse.

It also can include older children who have severe disabilities that began before age 22. In some cases, parents and grandchildren can qualify for family benefits if they depend on your income and you are their only means of support

If you want to learn more about how Social Security benefits the younger members of your family, visit www.socialsecurity.gov/youngpeople. This page has information for you even if you don’t have children and are a young worker yourself.

Therefore, whether through survivors, disability or retirement benefits, Social Security is here to help you and your entire family when the need arises.

And the best way to apply for benefits is online at www.socialsecurity.gov.

Perhaps another popular family member - the family pet - can best explain why applying online is the best option for you. Check out our creative videos on our YouTube channel for sound advice from the four-legged members of the family. Just visit www.socialsecurity.gov and select the YouTube button at the bottom of the page.

Want to learn more? Read or listen to the publication, Understanding the Benefits, at socialsecurity.gov/pubs.

Kirk Larson is a Social Security Washington public affairs specialist

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