Unclear on Social Security Benefits? These Are the 4 Types Seniors Should Know

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According to the Social Security Administration, more than 60 million people depend on Social Security benefits for either part, or all, of their income during retirement. Regardless of how much one receives, Social Security is a crucial part of retirement, and seniors depend on the monthly income for their basic expenses. Below are the different types of Social Security benefits you can receive, and what each one provides.

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Retirement Benefits

This is the most commonly used, and commonly thought of, Social Security benefit. Retirement benefits are available for citizens who have worked and paid into the system for at least ten year once they reach 62 years of age or older. Everyone’s benefit amount varies based on their contributions and pre-retirement salary, as well as the age at which they begin to collect. Retirement income from Social Security is not intended to be the main source of income for retirees, but rather a supplement to either other retirement accounts or investment accounts that give distributions. Although benefits are available at 62, if you wait until full retirement age — which is between 65 and 67 — you may be eligible for more benefits. The best thing to do is log on to the Social Security administration’s website and use their benefit calculator to see what amount you are likely to receive. These benefits might also be available for your spouse or divorced spouse.

Retire Comfortably

Related: Can You Collect Social Security Even If You Never Worked?

Disability Benefits

These types of Social Security benefits support those who cannot work because of serious disabilities. As with retirement benefits, you would have needed to work a certain number of years in order to be eligible. This will depend on your age, and the monthly benefit amount will depend on your salary before your disability. These types of benefits may also be available for your spouse or divorced spouse.

More: 7 Reasons You Might Not Receive Social Security Benefits

Survivors Benefits

If you’ve had a loved one pass away, and are almost of retirement age, you may be eligible for survivors benefits through Social Security. Eligible recipients usually include widows and widowers, divorced spouses or children. The amount of benefit depends on the worker’s age at death, their salary, the ages of their survivors and their relationship to the deceased. The deceased would also have had to work for a certain number of years in order to be eligible for these benefits.

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Retire Comfortably

Supplemental Security Income Benefits

SSI benefits are for those unable to earn sufficient wages on their own, including adults with disabilities, children with disabilities and people 65 or older. This means that in addition to disability or retirement benefits, qualifying individuals with enough work history may be eligible for this supplemental benefit. However, where the individual lives and their other sources of income will play a key factor in the amount they’ll receive from SSI.

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About the Author

Georgina Tzanetos is a former financial advisor who studied post-industrial capitalist structures at New York University. She has eight years of experience with concentrations in asset management, portfolio management, private client banking, and investment research. Georgina has written for Investopedia and WallStreetMojo. 

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