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Welcome to Social Security

Social Security provides financial protection for our nation’s people, supporting Americans throughout all of life’s journeys.

We administer retirement, disability, survivor, and family benefits, and enroll individuals in Medicare. We also provide Social Security Numbers, which are unique identifiers needed to work, handle financial transactions, and determine eligibility for certain government services.

Explore our mission and structure

Looking towards retirement

Social Security provides retirement income for almost every American worker. We also administer Supplemental Security Income (SSI) to some individuals 65 and older who have limited income and resources.

When health affects your ability to work or a child’s daily activities

When you have a medical condition that affects your ability to work for twelve months or longer, or if your medical condition is expected to end in death, Social Security may be able to provide support. For children, we may be able to provide support if they have a condition that significantly affects their daily activities.

We administer two disability-related programs. Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). While SSDI and SSI have different work and financial rules in order to qualify, at the core, both benefits are intended to provide financial support to individuals who are disabled.

Surviving a family loss

The death of a loved one can bring financial uncertainty and challenges for surviving spouses and children. Social Security administers Survivor benefits to widows, widowers, minor children, and some disabled adult children who have experienced the death of a spouse or parent. In addition to monthly payments, individuals may also be eligible for a one-time payment of $255, called the Lump Sum Death Payment, immediately following the loss of a spouse or parent.

Navigating marriage and divorce

Both marriage and divorce can have significant effects on short- and long-term life plans, choices, and financial goals. Social Security provides assistance in changing your name and provides Spousal, Survivor, and Family benefits to certain spouses, widows, and divorced spouses and widows based on factors such as age, length of the marriage, and the presence of a disability.