Social Security Benefits for People Who Take Care of Loved Ones

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The Social Security Administration offers benefits for some who need to take care of their children based on their spouse's tax payment history. The main two programs that pay these benefits are the Social Security Disability program and the Survivor Benefits program. Spouses are also eligible to receive these benefits for themselves after they reach retirement age.

Social Security Disability

  • The Social Security Disability program is one of the programs run by the Social Security Administration that pays benefits to people who are disabled. You may also qualify to receive these benefits if you are taking care of your child who is younger than 16 years of age or disabled. However, not every spouse in this situation qualifies to receive these benefits. Your eligibility depends on whether your spouse paid Social Security tax while he was working. If you do qualify to receive disability benefits because you are taking care of your child, the amount you receive depends on your spouse's income while he paid taxes.

Survivor Benefits

  • Survivor Benefits is a Social Security program that pays benefits to surviving family members of American workers who have died. As with the Social Security Disability program, the Survivor Benefits program only pays benefits if your deceased spouse paid Social Security tax for at least 10 years. If your spouse died at young age, he needs fewer years of work. Generally, these benefits are paid to survivor spouses at retirement age. However, if you are a widow taking care of your child who is disabled or younger than 16 years of age, you qualify to receive these benefits at any age.

Retirement Benefits

  • If you are receiving Social Security retirement benefits based on your work, your spouse and dependents may also qualify for benefits. As with the other Social Security programs, this program pays benefits to people who have paid Social Security tax or whose spouse has done so. Your spouse who takes care of your child who is younger than age 16 or disabled can receive retirement benefits at any age, even if you are also receiving retirement benefits.

Benefits Amount

  • If you are receiving any type of Social Security benefits because you are taking care of your child who is disabled or younger than age 16, the amount of benefits you receive depends on your spouse's income, but it also depends on whether or not he is also receiving benefits. If he is receiving Social Security benefits, you only qualify to receive up to half of your spouse's total amount of benefits. If you also qualify to receive benefits based on your own work, the Social Security office pays you your own benefits first and if the amount of benefits as a spouse is higher than your personal benefits due to your work, you receive a combination of both, equaling the highest amount you are eligible to get.

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