Most people know that once they approach retirement age, their reward for years of work comes from Social Security payments they put money towards during their employment. Deciding when to file for your Social Security payments is likely what you may focus on, but there are some other Social Security benefits you may be missing out on that are worth investigating.
1. Survivor Benefits
Tens of thousands of people receive their Social Security benefits each year but fail to claim eligible survivor benefits. Widow and widower benefits may be claimed anywhere from the age of 60 up until the claimant hits full retirement age.1
2. Disability Benefits
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a benefit you may receive if you have yet to retire but cannot work due to certain disabilities or medical conditions. To qualify, you need five or 10 years of work history, depending on your age, when you file your claim. You also need a diagnosis of a mental or physical issue that prevents you from working for at least a year and falls under the SSA's disability guidelines.2
3. Dependent Benefits
If your spouse retired or became disabled and cannot work and qualifies for Social Security, you could receive benefits based on their earnings. You may be entitled to them even if you do not depend on spousal support. If eligible, they may be claimed once you are 62, as long as you support your spouse's children who are 16 years old or younger. Disabled children may also be entitled to benefits based on their parent's earnings.1
4. Same-Sex Benefits
With recent legislation allowing the marriage of same-sex couples in all states, same-sex married spouses are now entitled to the same Social Security benefits once reserved for opposite-sex married couples. In some cases, survivor benefits may be available to same-sex partners who could not marry legally due to discriminatory state laws.2
Medicare is the health insurance you get when you get to your retirement age. You might be able to elect your Medicare enrollment before retiring. These benefits provide you with low-cost insurance that you may be able to use for the rest of your life, no matter your medical needs or conditions. Following the correct signup dates and requirements is crucial to avoid penalties and any lapse in coverage.1
As you get closer to retirement age, it is critical to determine the appropriate retirement age and consider all of the benefits available under Social Security that you may be missing.