Equity, General, Survivors

Social Security Pays Benefits to Children After the Death of a Parent

June 20, 2024 • By

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Last Updated: June 20, 2024

Father comforting teenage sonWhen many people think of Social Security, retirement springs to mind. But did you know that about 2.7 million children receive Social Security? More than half of these children get benefits after the death of a parent who worked and paid Social Security taxes.

In fact, 98 out of 100 children in this country could get Social Security if a working parent dies. In some cases, the child’s surviving parent is eligible for benefits as well.

The death of a parent can have negative financial, health, and educational effects on children, according to research by David Weaver of the University of South Carolina published in Population Review in 2019.  When tragedy happens, we can help.

Social Security benefits are very valuable for surviving children and their families. They come from all walks of life and all races and ethnicities, income levels, geographic locations, and more.

We estimate that Social Security Survivors Insurance is equivalent to a life insurance policy with a face value of $930,000 for a young worker with average earnings who leaves behind a spouse and two children.

A woman comforting her daughterWe base the monthly benefit amount on the earnings of the deceased parent. The average surviving child benefit is more than $1,000 per month. We pay benefits until the child turns 18 or 19, if the child is in high school, and is not married. A stepchild, grandchild, step-grandchild, or adopted child may be eligible for monthly benefits under certain circumstances.

Survivors benefits may be payable to an adult child of a deceased worker, if they have a disability that began before age 22, they are not able to work, and meet all eligibility requirements.

If a child in your life has lost a parent, it’s important for the child’s family to reach out to us as soon as possible. The date you contact us to file an application can affect when the child’s benefits begin.

You can call us at 1-800-772-1213 between 8:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. We can usually schedule an appointment in 30-60 days. We will let you know what information you need to apply. We provide free interpreter services by phone or in person in your local Social Security office.

To learn more, visit our Survivors Benefits and Parents and Guardians webpages.

Please share this information with your friends and family who may need it – and post it on social media.


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  1. JB

    If I die before age 60, will my disabled adult child receive my social security? Is ASD considered to be a qualifying disability?
    Thank you

  2. Robert S.

    I retired in Ecuador with my kids. But only got benefits for 2 of the 4 children. I cant get anyone at social security to help me get the money owed for my other 2 children. Help line is of no help. Social security needs specialists that the help line can refer our cases to.

  3. Mikayla

    My 10yo son lost his dad last month. It kills me that I have to go through this process. We have an upcoming appointment next month that I would like to be prepared for. I do not feel like I got much help on the phone. What would be the most important documents or information to bring with me? Also would it be better for me to open up an account with his name on it and bring that banking information with me? I’m only asking because I think it would be better to keep his statement separate from mine.

    • S.D.

      We are sorry for your loss, Mikayla. You can find out what information you’ll need to apply for surviving child’s benefits here. You cannot apply for survivors benefits online, but you may want to prepare for your interview by reviewing the online Application for Survivors Benefits. During your interview, you will also apply to become your son’s representative payee. Read our Guide for Representative Payees for information about bank account options. A common checking account for all family members living in the same household who receive benefits may show the parent as the owner of the account. A savings account must show your son as the account owner. To learn more about survivors benefits, visit our Frequently Asked Questions. We hope this helps.  

  4. Ollie t.

    You work like a slave to the tax system your entire life and then your kids and wife have to fight for scraps from the Jew bastard fucks that run this shitshow. Laugh so so you don’t cry, morherfuckers.

  5. Zachary S.

    I just turned 24 when I got disability and got back pay for when I was 23 do I still get half my father’s social security funds

    • S.D.

      Hi, Zachary. Thanks for reading our blog and for your question. For your security, we do not have access to private information in this venue. To speak with a representative about your benefits, you can call us at 1-800-772-1213, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Wait times are typically shorter Wednesdays through Fridays or later in the day. We hope this helps.


  6. Patricia T.

    My son began college right after high school.
    He lost his SS after graduation. My only income is Social Security…… my husband passed in 2020. Making ends meet is almost impossible. In my opinion, SS should continue when the student is enrolled in a 4-year ( or 2-year) college as a full time student in good academic standing.

  7. Angelina H.

    I appreciate all this information. And changes. But I never see comments or articles on parents that paid into the federal government version. My dad worked there for 17 years. And No info


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