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Who Does Social Security Provide Benefits To

The History Of Social Security

What is my Social Security?

The Social Security system in the U.S. came into existence on Aug. 14, 1935, when President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act into law. The first monthly benefits checks became payable on Jan. 1, 1940, and the first person to collect one was Ida M. Fuller, a retired legal secretary in Vermont. Her check was for $22.54.

The system and its rules have evolved in the decades since. Today, Social Security is one of the largest government programs in the world, paying out hundreds of billions of dollars each year.

Who Can Get Child Benefits

Philip Herzberg, a lead financial adviser with Team Hewins, says that to get benefits, a child must have either

  • A parent who is retired or has a disability and is entitled to Social Security benefits.

  • A parent who died after having worked long enough in a job that they paid Social Security taxes.

For a child to be paid, the retired or disabled parent must actually be collecting benefits, Czarnowski says.

Under the old file and suspend strategy, if a parent has reached full retirement age, he/she could ask to have his/her retirement benefits suspended, and the Social Security Administration could still pay others who might be eligible on the record, i.e. a spouse or children.

“However, this strategy was eliminated with the passage of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015. And while a parent at full retirement age still has the option of requesting voluntary payment suspension, an eligible child can only be paid if the parent is collecting.

One exception, Czarnowski says, is if the parent’s benefits have been suspended because he or she is incarcerated.

In these cases, monthly benefits can still be paid to eligible family members, he says. Mandatory suspension of benefits due to incarceration is completely different from voluntary payment suspension.

According to Herzberg, parents should consider the following five factors when applying for a childs Social Security benefits:

What The Arc Is Doing

Because Social Security and SSI along with related Medicare and Medicaid benefits are so important to people with disabilities, strengthening the Social Security system and ensuring its long-term availability is a high priority for The Arc and the disability community.

Our Public Policy GoalsThe Arcs Public Policy Goals include many recommendations for strengthening Social Security and SSI and ensuring that these vital systems will be there for future generations.

Our Coalition WorkThe CCD Social Security Task Force focuses on disability policy issues in the Title II disability programs and the Title XVI Supplemental Security Income program. The SSI and Title II cash benefits, along with the related Medicaid and Medicare benefits, are the means of survival for millions of individuals with significant disabilities.

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Social Security Entitlement Requirements

Many people who are eligible for Supplemental Security Income may also be entitled to receive Social Security benefits. In fact, the application for SSI benefits is also an application for Social Security benefits. We often need to obtain additional information from the person before we can award Social Security benefits.

The following sections provide information on who may be entitled to Social Security benefits.


    Age 62 or older, or disabled or blind and

    “Insured” by having enough work credits.

For applications filed December 1, 1996, or later, you must either be a U.S. citizen or lawfully present alien in order to receive monthly Social Security benefits.


We measure work in “work credits”. You can earn up to four work credits per year based on your annual earnings. The amount of earnings required for a work credit increases each year as general wage levels rise.

To be eligible for most types of benefits , you must have earned an average of one work credit for each calendar year between age 21 and the year in which you reach age 62 or become disabled or blind, up to a maximum of 40 credits. A minimum of six work credits is required, regardless of age.

The rules are as follows:

Born After 1929


If you are receiving retirement or disability benefits, your spouse may qualify if he or she is:


Create A My Social Security Account

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To see all of your Social Security benefits online, you’ll first need to create a My Social Security account. Here’s what to do.

1. Go to ssa.gov on your browser and click Learn about my account next to my Social Security account.

2. Next, click Create an Account.

3. You’ll be prompted to sign in with your ID.me account or login.gov account unless you created an account before Sept. 18, 2021. Note that you’ll need to create one of those accounts if you don’t have one.

4. Once you have an account, you’ll need to agree to the terms of service to continue.

5. Next, you’ll need to verify your identity. The Social Security Administration will send a one-time security code to your email that you’ll need to enter within 10 minutes to continue to your account.

You should now have access to all of your Social Security statements and other details online.

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A Caregiver Or Family Member Can Help Someone Apply For Benefits

A caregiver, friend or family member can help a person apply for Social Security benefits. A person who is sick or unable to complete basic tasks may be unable to apply without assistance from a loved one.

If you’re helping someone complete an application for SSI or SSDI, be sure to fill out the application completely and provide the necessary documentation. The Social Security Administration requires thorough information about a person’s medical condition and finances. Required information can include:

  • Medical records
  • Tax information
  • Financial statements

A disability checklist is available from the SSA to help applicants understand what information is required to complete their applications.

The applicant and their caregiver may wish to speak with the applicant’s doctor before applying for Social Security benefits. Doing so can aid all parties in fully understanding the details of the medical condition and whether current medical records will be sufficient to obtain benefits.

Although a caregiver can help collect documentation and fill out an application, in most cases, the person who will receive benefits must sign the application and authorize its submission.

Personalizing The Fight To Protect Supplemental Security Income

SSI provides a basic standard of living for millions of people with disabilities and their families across the United States. Monthly SSI benefits help people with intellectual and developmental disabilities put food on the table and a roof over their heads and in most states, SSI ensures access to Medicaid. SSI also plays a vital role in helping families raise children with significant disabilities in the family home.

Let your members of Congress know why SSI is vital to you.

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What Are The Limits On Social Security

A caveat is that the total amount paid on a workers record is capped at the family maximum, which falls somewhere between 150% and 180% of the parents full retirement benefit based on his or her earnings, Herzberg says. If the total amount payable to all family members exceeds this limit, the Social Security Administration reduces each persons benefit proportionally until the total equals the maximum allowable amount, he says. The workers own benefit, however, will not be impacted.

Which Types Of Income Reduce Your Social Security Benefits

Social Security Benefits Increase in 2023

If you’re younger than full retirement age, certain types of income that contribute to your yearly earnings limit can reduce your benefit amount. Such income includes wages paid to you for working and net earnings from self-employment. Income that does not reduce benefits includes interest, annuities, capital gains, investment earnings, pensions, and other government benefits.

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How Much Can I Get In Survivor Benefits

Approximately 5.85 million people were collecting survivor benefits as of September 2022. The average monthly benefit was $1,330.77 . Survivor benefits break down into five categories. Average payments were:

  • Children of deceased workers: $980.37 monthly
  • Widowed mothers and fathers: $1,137.16 monthly
  • Nondisabled widows: $1,565.41 monthly
  • Disabled widows: $820.46 monthly
  • Parents of deceased workers: $1,406.98 monthly

Social Security Dependents Benefits

If you’re the spouse of a retired or disabled worker who qualifies for Social Security retirement or disability benefits, you may be entitled to benefits based on the worker’s earnings record. This is true whether or not you actually depend on your spouse for your support.

Spousal benefits are available for those who reach age 62 or are taking care of the worker’s child age 16 or under. Read about spousal dependents benefits here.

Minor children, and older children who became disabled before age 22, can also collect dependent benefits based on the worker’s earnings record. Read about child dependents benefits here.

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Earn Ssa Work Credits In Some Countries

You may not have enough credits from your work in the United States to qualify for retirement benefits. But, you may be able to count your work credits from another country. The SSA has agreements with 24 countries. If you earned credits in one of those countries, they can help you qualify for U.S. benefits.

Fact #: Social Security Is More Than Just A Retirement Program It Also Provides Important Life Insurance And Disability Insurance Protection

Social Security Benefits for Spouses and Children

Over 65 million people, or more than 1 in every 6 U.S. residents, collected Social Security benefits in January 2022. While older adults make up about 4 in 5 beneficiaries, another one-fifth of beneficiaries received Social Security Disability Insurance or were young survivors of deceased workers.

In addition to Social Securitys retirement benefits, workers earn life insurance and SSDI protection by making Social Security payroll tax contributions:

  • About 96 percent of people aged 20-49 who worked in jobs covered by Social Security in 2020 have earned life insurance protection through Social Security.
  • For a young worker with average earnings, a spouse, and two children, thats equivalent to a life insurance policy with a face value of nearly $800,000 in 2020, according to Social Securitys actuaries.
  • About 89 percent of people aged 21-64 who worked in covered employment in 2020 are insured through Social Security in case of severe disability.

The risk of disability or premature death is greater than many people realize. Some 7 percent of recent entrants to the labor force will die before reaching the full retirement age, and many more will become disabled.

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Education And Workforce Development Programs

Education and workforce development is a broad category. It includes a wide range of programs from those that support early childhood education, which can also function as child-care programs for children younger than three years old, to student loan programs for college and graduate students, to workforce development programs for workers in midcareer.

Early Childhood Care and Education

ECE is a term used to describe center-based care and other nonparental forms of supervised child care. ECE can refer to preschool or pre-kindergarten programs that support childrens early social and academic development as well as day care. Programs that support access to child care for eligible families include Early Head Start, Head Start, the Child Care Development Fund , and the Preschool Development Grant . As of 2019 there were 5.4 million children in a federal or state ECE program. In 2017, $34 billion was spent on ECE services by governments in the United States, with states and local governments spending $12 billion and the federal government spending $22 billion . As seen in figure 7, of children aged three and four who participate in a preschool program, 63 percent participate in a public program, including Head Start. Nonetheless, there is not sufficient capacity for all eligible families to be served by the public programs. As a result, many lower-income families do not have the resources to enroll their children in a preschool program. .

Head Start and Early Head Start

Fact #: Social Security Benefits Are Modest

Social Security benefits are much more modest than many people realize the average Social Security retirement benefit in January 2022 was about $1,614 per month, or about $19,370 per year. For someone who worked all of their adult life at average earnings and retires at age 65 in 2022, Social Security benefits replace about 37 percent of past earnings. Social Securitys replacement rate fell as the programs full retirement age gradually rose from 65 in 2000 to 67 in 2022.

Most retirees enroll in Medicares Supplementary Medical Insurance and have Part B premiums deducted from their Social Security checks. As health care costs continue to outpace general inflation, those premiums will take a bigger bite out of their checks.

Social Security benefits are also modest by international standards. The U.S. ranks just outside the bottom third of developed countries in the percentage of an average workers earnings replaced by the public pension system.

Social Security is important for children and their families as well as for older adults. Over 6.5 million children under age 18 lived in families who received income from Social Security in 2019. That number included nearly 2.8 million children who received their benefits as dependents of retired, disabled, or deceased workers, as well as others who lived with parents or relatives who received Social Security benefits.

Social Security lifted 1.1 million children above the poverty line in 2020, as the chart shows.

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Lost Or Stolen Federal Payments

Report your lost, missing, or stolen federal check to the agency that issued the payment. It’s usually one of these paying agencies. If your documentation indicates it’s a different agency, and you need its contact information, look in the A-Z Index of U.S. Government Departments and Agencies.

To get an update on your claim, contact the Treasury Department Philadelphia Financial Center at 1-855-868-0151, option 1.

Whom Does Social Insurance Benefit

Clark’s Take on Delaying Your Social Security Benefit


Eligibility varies widely for programs depending on a programs goals, target population, and administration. The target population might be people with work records, current workers, children, families with children, people with disabilities, people who are age 65 and older, people with low incomes, pregnant or nursing women, or some combination of these groups.

Applicants to programs such as Social Security, Medicare, and UI need work records of varying lengths to qualify. These programs do not have an income eligibility limit and are often referred to as universal, though they do require a specified number of quarters or years of paid employment. A few programs require a beneficiary to have earned income the EITC is a leading example. Other programs require incurring a particular type of expense, such as child-care costs.

Various programs also set other eligibility conditions or restrictions. UI requires beneficiaries to search for jobs. For TANF participants and some SNAP and housing assistance participants, time limits are imposed on participation unless they are meeting a work requirement. For SNAP, states can secure waivers from this time limit for areas with elevated unemployment and can provide individual exemptions. Several other programs allow states to restrict eligibility further, to exclude people such as ex-felons or people found to be using banned substances.

Eligibility among Immigrants

Participation and Take Up


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What Are Social Security Benefits

Social Security benefits are payments made to qualified retired adults and people with disabilities, and to their spouses, children, and survivors. Social Securityofficially the Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance program in the U.S.is a comprehensive federal benefits program designed to provide partial replacement income for retired adults and their spouses, those whose spouse or qualifying ex-spouse has died, and people with disabilities. Under specified conditions, it also supports the children of beneficiaries.

What Is A Social Security Card

Your Social Security card is an important piece of identification. You’ll need one to get a job, collect Social Security, or receive other government benefits.

When you apply for a Social Security number , the Social Security Administration will assign you a nine-digit number. This is the same number that is printed on the Social Security card that SSA will issue you. If you change your name, you will need to get a corrected card.

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Key Takeaways On Social Security Benefits

Social Security has been helping millions of Americans stay financially stable through monthly benefit payments for decades. What started as a progressive program to help Americans recover after the Great Depression, became one of Americas most cherished social programs. Below are some important key takeaways on Social Security benefits:

  • There are three types of Social Security benefits, including retirement, disability, and survivor benefits. These benefits provide partial supplemental income to qualifying individuals, such as eligible retirees, disabled people, and their spouses, children, and survivors.
  • To qualify for full benefits on an individuals own record, an individual must pay Social Security taxes while they work and earn 40 credits.
  • The amount a recipient receives depends on a few factors, such as how much they earn, the year they were born, and the age they begin claiming their Social Security benefits.
  • You can begin collecting Social Security benefits at age 62. However, collecting before you reach full retirement age will reduce the monthly amount of your benefits.

How Is Social Insurance Provided By The Government

3 Examples of How Social Security Robs Americans of Greater Income ...

How government delivers social insurance depends first on what level of government provides the funding for a program, delivers the benefits, and sets the rules for who qualifies and how much they receive. Another key dimension is whether a program is delivered on an entitlement basis, under which all eligible individuals or households who apply must receive the benefit, or whether the program provides benefits only to as many people as its appropriated funding for the year allows, with other people who apply being put on waiting lists or turned away despite meeting the eligibility criteria.

The determination of whether a program operates as an entitlement also has implications for a third key issuethe degree to which programs expand automatically in recessions. While policymakers have regularly stepped in to expand the social insurance system in certain ways during economic downturns, certain programs expand and contract automaticallyto serve more or fewer peopleas need increases or subsides. By expanding during recessions to provide relief to people whose incomes have declined, the automatic stabilizer feature of these programs helps to support households purchasing power when the economy falters.

The Roles of Different Levels of Government

Differences between Entitlements and Discretionary Programs

Responding to Recessions

Program Size and Growth

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