The term "family" used here differs from the usual definition. We use the term family to mean people receiving benefits that depend on an insured worker's "primary insurance amount." For example, if a husband and wife are both retired and insured for benefits, they will be counted as 2 distinct families in our data. If, on the other hand, the wife is not insured, her benefit will depend on her husband's benefit (and will be about half her husband's benefit) and the couple will be considered as a single family.

The different types of families are shown below

  • Retired worker only — only the insured beneficiary, at least 62 years old, is in the family
  • Retired worker and aged spouse (both at least 62 years old)
  • Retired worker, aged spouse, and 1 or more children
  • Retired worker, young spouse (spouse with either a child under age 16, or a disabled child in his or her care), and 1 or more children
  • Retired worker, young spouse, and 2 or more children
  • Retired worker and 1 or more children
  • Any family with a retired worker
  • Disabled worker only — only the insured, disabled beneficiary is in the family
  • Disabled worker and aged spouse (spouse at least 62 years old)
  • Disabled worker, aged spouse, and 1 or more children
  • Disabled worker, young spouse (spouse with either a child under age 16, or a disabled child in his or her care), and 1 or more children
  • Disabled worker, young spouse, and 2 or more children
  • Disabled worker and 1 or more children
  • Any family with a disabled worker
  • One or more children of deceased worker (child must be under age 18 (a minor), a high-school student under age 19, or have become disabled before the age of 22), and surviving spouse (if any) is not receiving a benefit
  • Aged widow(er) (at least 60 years old)
  • Aged widow(er) with 1 or more children
  • Disabled widow(er) (disabled and at least 50 years old)
  • Disabled widow(er) with 1 or more children
  • Young widow(er) (must have a child under age 16 or a disabled child in his or her care) and 1 or more children
  • Young widow(er) and 2 or more children
  • Young widow(er) and 2 children
  • Any survivor family