According the Social Security Administration, “their mission is to deliver Social Security services that meet the changing needs of the public.”
The SSA further claims, “it’s not unusual for a benefit recipient’s circumstances to change after they apply or became eligible for benefits. If you, or a family member, receive Social Security or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), certain life changes may affect eligibility for an increase in your federal benefits. For example, if your spouse or ex-spouse dies, you may become eligible for a higher Social Security benefit.”
The SSA states, “to find out if you, or a family member, might be eligible for a benefit based on another person’s work, or a higher benefit based on your own work, see the information about benefits on the Social Security website. You can also use the Benefit Eligibility Screening Tool (BEST) to find out if you could get benefits that Social Security administers. Based on your answers to questions, this tool will list benefits for which you might be eligible and tell you more information about how to qualify and apply.”
The SSA provides the following “questions and answers below are about a few of the life changes that could increase your benefits.”
Has your spouse or ex-spouse died?
If your spouse or ex-spouse has died, you may be eligible for a higher survivor benefit based on his or her work. The death of an ex-spouse may allow you to be eligible for a higher survivor benefit even if you are already receiving a survivor benefit on another spouse.
Are you receiving Medicare benefits based on your work that includes at least 10 years of earnings from which you paid Social Security taxes?
If you are at least age 65, you may be eligible for cash benefits on your own record. If you are full retirement age or older, you can work and receive your Social Security benefits, no matter how much you earn. Please review this publication for more information.
Is your adult child who was helping to support you deceased?
If your child had enough work credits and was providing at least half of your support, you may be eligible for a higher parent’s benefit based on his or her work.
Are you receiving Social Security benefits based on your spouse’s work?
If you have worked, you may be eligible for a higher retirement benefit based on your own work.
Are you receiving Social Security benefits based on your parent’s work?
If you have worked, you may be eligible for a higher disability benefit based on your own work.
Are you currently unmarried but were married for 10 years or more?
If you are at least 62 years old and unmarried, you may be eligible for a benefit based on a former spouse’s work if that marriage lasted 10 years or more.
Is your child entitled to Social Security child’s benefits based on your spouse’s work?
You may be eligible for spouse’s benefits if you have in your care a child is under age 16 or disabled prior to age 22.
Are you currently entitled to retirement or disability benefits and have a child in your care is under age 18 or disabled?
Your child may be eligible for benefits based on your work.
Are you receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security benefits and have past military service?
If you served in the U.S. military, you may be eligible for benefits through the Veterans Administration. Visit this link for more information: http://www.va.gov/
Are you receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and have a parent who is deceased or receiving Social Security benefits?
If you are unmarried and under age 18 or were disabled prior to age 22, and your parent is deceased or receiving Social Security benefits, you may be eligible for child benefits based on your parent’s work.
Has your income declined or have you experienced a loss of financial resources?
You may get additional income through the Supplemental Security Income program, which helps seniors and the disabled who have limited income and financial resources.
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