Social Security Q&A: Benefits to Kids After Retirement
Question: I have two minor children at home and I plan to retire soon. Will my children be eligible for monthly Social Security benefits after I retire?
Answer: Monthly Social Security payments may be made to your children if:
■ They are unmarried and under age 18;
■ Age 18 or 19 and still in high school; or
■ Age 18 or older, became disabled before age 22, and continue to be disabled.
Children who may qualify include a biological child, adopted child or dependent stepchild. (In some cases, your grandchild also could be eligible for benefits on your record if you are supporting them.) For more information, see the online publication, Benefits For Children, at http://www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs
Q: Can I delay my retirement benefits and receive benefits as a spouse only? How does that affect me?
A: It depends on your age. If you are full retirement age and your spouse is receiving Social Security benefits, you can choose to file and receive benefits on just your spouse’s Social Security record and delay filing for benefits on your own record up until age 70. By filing for just benefits as a spouse, you may receive a higher retirement benefit on your own record later based on the effect of delayed retirement credits. You can earn delayed retirement credits up to age 70 as long as you do not collect your own benefits — and those credits can increase your benefit by as much as 8 percent for each year you delay. You can use the online Retirement Estimator to test out different scenarios. Go to http://www.socialsecurity.gov/estimator.
Q: I know that Social Security’s full retirement age is gradually rising to 67. But does this mean the “early” retirement age will also be going up by two years, from age 62 to 64?
A: No. While it is true that under current law the full retirement age is gradually rising from 65 to 67, the “early” retirement age remains at 62. Keep in mind, however, that taking early retirement reduces your benefit amount.
For more information about Social Security benefits, visit the website at http://www.socialsecurity.gov.
This column was prepared by the Social Security Administration. For fast answers to specific Social Security questions, contact Social Security toll-free at 800-772-1213 or visit http://www.socialsecurity.gov.