Three generations of an African American family smile at the camera.

Social Security celebrates Black History Month

By Vonda VanTil, Social Security Public Affairs Specialist

In February, we honor African Americans by celebrating Black History Month. Created in 1926, this event coincides with Abraham Lincoln’s and Frederick Douglass’s birthdays. African American communities have celebrated these birthdays together for over 90 years.

Honoring our shared history is one way we remember that we believe in freedom and democracy for all. Another shared belief is that we all deserve a comfortable retirement, free of economic hardship.

Social Security has the tools to help you plan for your retirement and to apply for benefits online. We also pay disability benefits to individuals with medical conditions that prevent them from working for more than 12 months or that result in death. If the disabled individual has dependent family members, they may also be eligible to receive payments.

We pay disability through two programs: the Social Security Disability Insurance program, for people who have worked and paid Social Security taxes long enough to be eligible, and the Supplemental Security Income program, which pays benefits based on financial need.

Widows, widowers, and their dependent children may be eligible for Social Security survivors benefits. Social Security helps by providing income for the families of workers who die. In fact, 98 of every 100 children could get benefits if a working parent dies. Social Security pays more benefits to children than any other federal program.

You can learn more about retirement, survivors, and disability benefits, at www.socialsecurity.gov/benefits. Social Security is with you throughout life’s journey, helping secure today and tomorrow for you and your family. Visit us today at www.socialsecurity.gov/people/africanamericans.

Vonda VanTil is the Public Affairs Specialist for West Michigan.  You can write her c/o Social Security Administration, 3045 Knapp NE, Grand Rapids MI 49525 or via email at vonda.vantil@ssa.gov.

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