Definition of 'Social Security'
**Retirement benefits** are available to people who have worked for at least 40 quarters (10 years) and are age 62 or older. The amount of benefits you receive depends on your earnings history and the age at which you start receiving them.
**Disability benefits** are available to people who are unable to work because of a medical condition that is expected to last at least 12 months or result in death. The amount of benefits you receive depends on your earnings history and the number of dependents you have.
**Survivor benefits** are available to the surviving spouses and children of workers who have died. The amount of benefits you receive depends on the deceased worker's earnings history and the number of dependents you have.
Social Security is an important source of income for many Americans. In 2021, the average monthly Social Security benefit was $1,543. However, the amount of benefits you receive may not be enough to cover your living expenses. It is important to plan for your retirement and make sure you have other sources of income, such as savings, investments, and a pension plan.
**How to apply for Social Security**
To apply for Social Security benefits, you can visit your local Social Security office or apply online. You will need to provide your Social Security number, your birth date, and your work history. You will also need to provide proof of your identity and your citizenship or legal residency status.
**If you are approved for benefits, you will receive them in the form of a monthly check. You can also choose to receive your benefits as a lump sum payment.**
**Social Security is a valuable program that can help you to secure your retirement. It is important to understand how the program works and to plan for your retirement so that you can make the most of your benefits.**
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