Types of Social Security Benefits

Social Security isn’t just for the elderly or retired people.

The system also pays benefits to the disabled, widows and widowers, children, stepchildren, divorced spouses, and ex-service people and to name just a few.

Most people who claim Social Security Benefits will fall into three different categories:

  • Retired worker and auxiliary beneficiaries;
  • Survivor beneficiaries; and
  • Disabled worker and auxiliary beneficiaries.

Here is a look at each of these categories, including who qualifies and how you go about making a claim.

Retired Workers

To qualify for benefits, you must first meet the age requirements and have paid into Social Security. If you were born between 1943 and 1954, you can begin receiving full benefits at age 66. If your birthday is between 1955 and 1959, two months are added for each additional year until people who were born in 1960 or later receive full benefits at 67 years of age.

In addition to meeting the age requirement, you have to have earned 40 quarters of credits if you were born in 1929 or later. You can earn a maximum of four credits each year. Credits are based on earnings. The number may change each year but in 2014, $1,200 in earnings equals one credit. To get the maximum amount of credits, you had to make $4,800 in a single year. If you earn more than enough to be credited with 40 credits, and most people will, you won’t receive additional quarters of credits.

Children under the age of 18, high school students under 19 or adult disabled children (if they became disabled before age 22) may also receive benefits.  There are special rules regarding this.

Survivor Benefits

Spouses of deceased workers are entitled to benefits as early as age 60, but it’s important to note that they never receive two Social Security checks. Once widows or widowers reach retirement age, they will either receive a check based on their individual financial contributions to Social Security or the deceased’s.  Sometimes they can receive widow/widower benefits first, then switch to their own (higher) benefits when they reach full retirement age or beyond.

Children under the age of 18, high school students under 19 and adult disabled children (if they became disabled before age 22) may also receive benefits.

Stepchildren, grandchildren, step-grandchildren and adopted children may qualify as well.

Disabled Workers and Auxiliary Beneficiaries

Disabled worker benefits are paid from the Disability Insurance Trust Fund and are only available to those workers who have worked long enough to be insured and who were working prior to the development of a qualifying disability.

To receive auxiliary benefits you must not be entitled to a higher benefit amount based on your own earnings record and typically, auxiliary benefits are a reduced percentage of what would be paid to an insured worker.

Success Stories

Claimant Awarded More Than $59,000

Donald applied for Social Security and was denied. Our... Read More [+]

Social Security Benefits and Back Pay

Laura (name changed) was injured at work and contacted... Read More [+]

Social Security Benefit & Back Pay Totaling More Then $70,000

Chris helped Kayla (name is changed) get Social Security... Read More [+]


Hear From Our Clients

Liberty Hombe
Liberty Hombe
2022-01-20
I would give a 10 star if it was possible .Chris is very Professional, he responses within minutes and most importantly he is very good at what he does . l highly recommended him .Thank you CHRIS
Charles Olson
Charles Olson
2022-01-14
Very professional
Brad Mccomas
Brad Mccomas
2021-12-30
Very thorough with my case
Stacey Beil
Stacey Beil
2021-12-09
Ruth Harvey & her staff were very helpful & worked hard on getting my disability application approved. They were friendly, professional, responsive to my emails. I would recommend them to anyone needing assistance with getting approved for Social Security Disability.
Matthew Bernstein
Matthew Bernstein
2021-10-22
Chris Carpenter did a wonderful job helping me with a knee injury sustained during work. When surgery came into question the employer/worker's comp dropped all support. Chris was able to help with the settlement. I would highly recommend to anyone!
Jade Anderson
Jade Anderson
2021-10-21
Chris Carpenter was a joy to work with. This entire process was very overwhelming but he took is time to answer all my questions and really help me understand. He would always respond in a timely manner. Overall was a great experience.
laurie leiferman
laurie leiferman
2021-09-03
He is a very good attorney he keeps you updated and informed and gets the job done professionally I would totally recommend Chris Carpenter attorney at law
Tyler Kyte
Tyler Kyte
2021-08-15
Chris and his team really went to work on my case and they were able to get the results we needed.i would highly recommend.