Social Security benefits for Children

There are three ways a child might be eligible for benefits.

Supplemental security benefits are paid to disabled children younger than eighteen whose income is limited or come from homes with low income and resources.

Social Security dependent’s benefits are paid to children under eighteen on the record of a parent who is deceased, collecting retirement benefits, or collecting disability benefits. The age of qualification for benefits extends to nineteen if the child is if he or she is a full time student in elementary or high school.

Social Security dependent’s benefits are also available for adults who have been disabled since childhood. To receive benefits, the adult child must be the son or daughter of someone who is getting Social Security retirement or disability benefits, or of someone who has died, and the child’s disability must have started before age twenty-two. For more information call the Administration at 1-800-772-1213.

Child’s benefits are simple if you and the child’s mother were married and always lived together. If not, qualifying for a child’s check can be complicated, and eligibility can be overlooked.

To qualify, the person must be 1) a child; 2) your child, and 3) dependant on you when you become disabled, retire, or die.

The person is “a child” if under 18, if under 19 and going full time to high school or something like it, or if disabled, no matter how old, if the disability began before the child was 22.

The person is “your child” if you are the actual parent, stepparent, or adoptive parent. Any adoption must take place before you become disabled, die, or retire, with two exceptions: If the child was your dependant grandchild before you became disabled, or in states which recognize it, if the child was equitably adopted by you before you became disabled. In those cases you may adopt after you become disabled or retire, or your spouse may adopt after you die, any the child can get benefits.

The person is dependant on you if you contributed a sufficient amount to his or her support before your disability. A father can contribute before birth by supporting the mother. If you are under a court order to pay support, or if you are married to the mother and living with her before you become disabled, retire, or die, you do not have to show actual dependancy.

A common issue is whether you are actutally the father. If you are alive, this can be proved by blood test. If you die, and you have enough living relatives, this can sometimes be proved by blood test.

If the custodial parent of your child has a low income, he or she might also get a small check until that child becomes 16.

To get a more specific idea of what your family’s checks might be, call the Administration at 1-800 772 1213 and ask them to send you an earnings a and benefits statement. You’ll get a report back in one to two months.

You probably will not need a lawyer to get benefits if you and his other parent are married and you are all living together. In any of the other situations set out above, it is common for the Administration to deny meritorious claims. In that case you will almost certainly need a lawyer. If you live in the Carolinas, please feel free to call us at 1-800-775-3985 or click here to e-mail us.