Vanise Terry was just 27 years old when her husband died. A stay-at-home mom with a two-year-old daughter, she had depended on her husband’s income. Fortunately, mother and daughter received Social Security benefits for the next 14 years until Terry remarried last year. Her daughter Olivia will collect benefits until her 18th birthday.

The benefits were crucial to the family’s solvency. Yet many planners are unfamiliar with Social Security’s robust dependent benefits, since they are more typically seen as merely a source of retirement money for workers. Indeed, children, grandchildren, spouses caring for children, and parents of deceased workers may qualify for Social Security aid. Advisors should take time to study the various ways that families can benefit from this federal assistance.

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