Figures published by the government show that more than 60 million Americans depend either fully or partially on Social Security benefits for their livelihood during retirement.
Clearly, for most seniors, Social Security is a vital component of retirement income.
Here are four types of Social Security benefits you might be eligible to receive.
Ordinary retirement benefits
At the age of 62 or above, you will be eligible to receive retirement benefits if you have worked and contributed towards these benefits for a minimum of 10 years.
The amount of retirement benefits will be determined according to your pre-retirement wages, total contributions, and the age when you start collecting the benefits.
Remember that the goal of Social Security benefits is to supplement your retirement or investment accounts (which provide distributions) rather than serve as the sole income source after retirement.
While you can start collecting benefits from the age of 62, you could increase your benefits if you delay your Social Security Benefits until you full retirement age. Your spouse or ex-spouse (if divorced) may also be eligible to receive retirement benefits.
Spouse, parents and dependent children of eligible employees may receive survivors benefits as part of Social Security in the event of the employee’s death.
This Social Security benefit is especially useful for young survivors with children.
During your working years, as you pay into the system for Social Security, you would also be paying some of the taxes towards survivors benefits.
The amount of these benefits will be based on your income. For the family to be eligible, the deceased employee should have worked for a minimum number of years to become eligible for these benefits.
When you are no longer medically fit to work for at least 12 months because of a disability or your disability is expected to result in death, you may receive support in the form of disability benefits.
To qualify for this Social Security benefit, you should have worked for a certain minimum number of years, depending on your age when the disability occurred. Moreover, the disability must not be short-term or partial, and should meet the government’s legal definition of a disability.
The amount of disability benefit will be determined according to your last drawn wages before the disability.
The spouse or ex-spouse may also be eligible to receive disability benefits. According to research studies, a worker who is 20 years old today has a 25% chance of getting a disability before they reach their full retirement age.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits are available to individuals who may not be in a position to earn an adequate income on their own.
Eligible people for SSI benefits may include people in the age group of 65 or above and adults or minors with disabilities. Based on your work history, location, and income sources, you might qualify for this supplemental benefit in addition to your retirement or disability benefits.
SSI recipients in most states are also eligible to receive medical coverage (Medicaid) in order to pay for their doctor bills, hospital stays, prescription medications, and other medical expenses.
Some SSI recipients may also receive supplemental payments as well as may qualify for food assistance.