Tens of millions of people rely on Social Security for valuable income in retirement or when they’re disabled. With total benefits amounting to nearly $1 trillion a year, Social Security is serious business, and it’s important to make the most of what the program pays you.
Yet despite its importance, Social Security has some quirks that can trip you up if you don’t know about them.
Check out the 10 Social Security Facts Everyone Should Know!
1. Staying in school pays for children getting benefits
Children are entitled to receive family benefits under certain circumstances if a parent is getting retirement or disability benefits.
The child must be unmarried and generally has to be younger than 18 to get payments. However, those who are still in high school get an extra couple of years to keep getting Social Security.
That exception applies only to 18- or 19-year-olds, though, so staying in school forever isn’t the right move.
2. Parents can sometimes get survivor benefits
Most people think of survivor benefits going to spouses or children of deceased workers. But for workers taking care of their own parents, survivor benefits are available if the worker was covering at least half of the parent’s financial support.
3. Just got married? You might still have to wait
If you get married hoping to score spousal or survivor Social Security benefits, you’ll find that the strategy doesn’t pay off immediately. Typically, a new spouse must wait a year before claiming spousal benefits.
Moreover, if your new spouse passes away before you’ve been married for nine months, then you won’t be able to claim survivor benefits unless you can establish that the death was due to an accident or in the line of duty for members of the Armed Forces.