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Social Security: What are the types of benefits that are paid out?

There are four categories of Social Security payments: retirement, disability, dependents, and survivors benefits.

Social Security Administration

What are the differences, and which benefits are available to me?

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What are the different types of Social Security benefits?


The earliest you can start claiming retirement benefits is age 62. In order to be considered eligible, you must have worked at least 10 years at a non-governmental job.

Waiting until after you are 62, or each your full retirement age (FRA), will result in a larger benefit. There is potential for an even greater benefit, if you wait until the age of 70.


The Social Security Administration also provides a monthly benefit to financially support disabled Americans. In order to be eligible, you must have a qualifying disability as listed in the program’s guidelines.


The spouse of someone who is retired or disabled and their minor children may be able to receive benefits. The benefit will be based on their earning records and if they are financially dependent on their spouse or not.


The survivor benefit would go to the surviving spouse who qualified for at least one of the previously mentioned Social Security benefits. The amount of the benefit would depend on the earnings of the deceased spouse.

Same-Sex spouses

Ever since the Supreme Court deemed same-sex marriage constitutional in all states, Social Security benefits have been granted to married same-sex couples.

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