Types of Social Security Benefits

The United States federal program generally identified as Social Security was established in 1935 and is officially called the Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance program (OASDI). A social insurance plan, it provides monetary assistance to retired workers, disabled workers and their dependents who meet certain criteria, as well as survivors of deceased workers who paid Social Security taxes before death.

Retirement Benefits

Workers who earned sufficient income during their employment history may receive full benefits at retirement, or if they retire early, reduced benefits based on the actual retirement age and average overall earnings.

Spousal Benefits

Starting at age 62, current and former spouses of the opposite gender and legally married to a Social Security beneficiary for at least ten years can receive reduced benefits.

Survivor's Benefits

Widows and widowers of Social Security beneficiaries may be eligible to receive reduced benefits beginning at age 50 if they are disabled or age 60 otherwise.

Children's Benefits

Children of Social Security beneficiaries can receive benefits if they are unmarried and younger than 18, still in high school at age 19 or disabled before turning 22.

Disability Benefits

Disabled workers might receive benefits if their employment was recent and long enough and if the disability is either long-term or eventually fatal.

About the Author

Nathania Maddox began editing and writing professionally in 2001. She has contributed articles to several online publications, covering topics ranging from health to law. Maddox holds a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts in linguistics.