Almost all workers in the U.S. count on Social Security as a part of their retirement plans. If your parent worked for a minimum of 10 years, he or she is likely eligible to receive Social Security retirement benefits. If your elderly parents are married and both worked, they are both likely to be eligible for Social Security Benefits. The professionals at Elder Care Direction can help you and your parents understand what they might expect to receive when they reach the retirement age for eligibility.
Social Security benefits eligibility
Elderly people may be eligible to receive Social Security benefits in a few different ways. If your elderly parent worked for at least 10 years and is married, his or her spouse will also be eligible for benefits as a dependent once the spouse reaches age 62. If your parent once worked but became disabled before reaching his or her full retirement age, your parent may be eligible to receive disability benefits. Your parent’s spouse may then be eligible to receive dependent benefits based on your parent’s disability benefits when the spouse reaches age 65 or possibly earlier.
If both of your parents worked for at least 10 years, they may both be eligible for Social Security benefits beginning at age 62. A person who is eligible to receive more than one type of Social Security benefit will receive the one that is higher but not both. Finally, the spouse of someone who was eligible for benefits but died may receive survivors benefits beginning at age 60.
How much will your parent receive?
Your parents’ benefits will depend on how much they earned while they worked. The benefits amount is related to how much they earned. If they had some years in which they either didn’t work or didn’t earn very much money, their benefits may be less than what they might have otherwise received by working steadily. The amount will also be affected by the ages at which your parents retire. People who retire when they reach age 62 receive less than if they wait.
Family member benefits
Some family members may be eligible to receive benefits in addition to the elderly person, including the following people:
- Spouse who is age 62 or older
- Spouse under age 62 if the spouse is disabled or taking care of a child who is less than 16 years old
- Minors or children who are up to age 19 who are full-time students and still attending high school
- Disabled children
Spouses who haven’t worked may be eligible to receive as much as 50 percent of their retired spouses’ full benefits. If a spouse is eligible to receive both his or her own benefits as well as those of a spouse, the Social Security Administration will pay the person’s own benefits first. If the spousal benefits are higher, he or she will receive a combination that equals the higher benefit amount.
People may also choose to receive only their spousal benefits while they continue to delay their own retirement credits. They can then apply for their own benefits later so that they receive a higher monthly amount.
Widow and widower benefits
People who have lost their spouses may start receiving benefits from Social Security at age 60. If they are disabled, they can start receiving them at age 50. They are able to accept reduced benefits on one work record and put off switching to a full benefit until later.
If your parent is divorced, he or she may be able to receive spousal benefits based on his or her ex-spouse’s record if your parent’s marriage lasted for 10 years or more. To be eligible, your parent must be at least age 62 and unmarried.
The Social Security eligibility rules can be confusing. If you or your parents are working on retirement planning and have questions about Social Security, contact Elder Care Direction to schedule an appointment.