Social Security helped Maureen Sullivan continue her education after her father died

From Social Security: What’s at Stake for Children, Youth, and Grandfamilies

Maureen Sullivan’s father made education a high-priority for his family and held high expectations for Maureen and her older sister.

“My dad was an extremely intelligent and knowledgeable man,” Maureen said. “He was a lifelong learner and he instilled a strong sense on the value of education in my sister and me.”

Unfortunately, Maureen’s father didn’t get the chance to see his daughters graduate from college. He passed away when Maureen was 14. Thankfully, however, the Social Security survivor benefits that Maureen received helped to keep her family in their home and Maureen in the school she attended.

“I was a freshman in high school and my sister was a freshman in college at the time,” Maureen said. “Emotionally, my dad’s loss hit us really hard. We were hit hard financially as well. The majority of our income had come from my dad’s salary. Social Security survivor benefits really helped us to pay the bills and have food on the table. We were grateful for the support.”

“Things could have turned out much differently,” Maureen said. “Money was very tight after my dad passed away. Getting the support from Social Security was extremely important–it allowed us to stay in our house and keep me in the school I was attending. I’m not sure I would have made it to college if we had to move and go to a different school.”

Maureen graduated from her local high school, attended college, and is currently working on a graduate degree in school psychology from the University of Delaware. While the family faced financial struggles, she remains positive about her future.

“I’m sure my dad would have been very pleased that we both went to the schools we did and got our degrees,” she said. “Our parents made huge sacrifices to make sure their children had good educations. Now we will be able to make good on those sacrifices by working hard and helping others.”

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