General

Social Security’s Benefits for Children

May 26, 2016 • By

Social Security is with you through life’s journey — from birth, to death, and even beyond, by helping to care for surviving dependents. Every year, about 4.4 million children receive monthly benefits because one or both of their parents are disabled, retired, or deceased. When a parent becomes disabled or dies, Social Security benefits help to stabilize the family’s financial situation in an otherwise turbulent time.

Earlier this year, National Birth Defects Prevention Month in January and National Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month in March both raised awareness about medical conditions in children. Many families with children who have birth defects or developmental disabilities need medical and financial help. This is where Social Security’s commitment to helping children and families is most evident.

Social Security pays benefits through our disability insurance and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) programs. Our disability program provides vital income for disabled children, including people disabled since childhood. To qualify for children’s benefits under our disability program, the applicant must be the child of a parent entitled to benefits and meet Social Security’s strict definition of disability. A person is disabled under the Social Security Act if he or she can’t work due to a severe medical condition that has lasted, or is expected to last, at least one year or result in death.

The SSI program provides payments to blind or disabled children who live in households with low income and limited resources if they meet our strict definition of disability. You can find more information on eligibility requirements by visiting our website.

Our publication, Benefits for Children explains all we do to care for children. Our website is also an excellent source of information. If you think a child you know is eligible for benefits, don’t wait. Share this information and help improve the child’s quality of life today.


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About the Author

Jim Borland, Assistant Deputy Commissioner, Communications

Jim Borland, Assistant Deputy Commissioner, Communications

Jim Borland, Assistant Deputy Commissioner, Communications

Comments

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  1. Stephanie Spuria

    If a child gets an auxiliary benefit based on a parent’s disability, should the award date be retroactive to the parent’s original disability award date?

    Reply
    • Vonda

      For your security, Stephanie, we do not have access to private information in this venue. We ask that members in our Blog community work with our offices with specific questions. You can call us at 1-800-772-1213 for assistance or you can contact your local Social Security office. Please look for the general inquiry telephone number at the Social Security Office Locator. The number may appear under Show Additional Office Information. Please be aware that our call wait times are longer than normal. We hope this information helps.

      Reply
    • cherica s thrower

      my children already receive benefits i just need to change payee

      Reply
      • Vonda

        Hi Cherica, thanks for using our blog. To change representative payees, you can call your local Social Security office. Please look for the general inquiry telephone number at the Social Security Office Locator. The number may appear under Show Additional Office Information. Please be aware that our call wait times are longer than normal. We hope this information helps.

        Reply
  2. Konte Hira

    Reply
  3. Learn N Faircloth

    Leann faircloth 09/27/85 XXXXXXXXX
    478 331 2691 need to get replacement ss cards for my son and daughter

    Reply
    • Vonda

      Thank you for using our blog, Learn. Check out our Frequently Asked Questions web page for information on how to replace a Social Security card for a child. To learn more on the process and what documents you and your child will need to get a card, please visit our Learn what documents you will need to get a Social Security Card web page. If you do not want to mail in documents, which will be returned, you may need to wait for the offices to reopen. Use our Social Security Office Locator to find your local office address. We hope this helps.

      Just a reminder – We do not have access to personal information in this venue. Please be cautious about posting personal information on social media channels. Thanks.

      Reply
  4. Brenda Novak

    How do you apply to get benefits for your child when you have just gotten disability!? Is there a way on line?
    Thank you
    Brenda

    Reply
    • Sue

      Happy new year, Brenda, and thank you for your question. When you receive Social Security retirement or disability benefits, your child also may receive benefits as your dependent. The child can be a biological child, adopted child, or stepchild. To get benefits, the child must be unmarried and:
      • Younger than age 18;
      • A full-time student (no higher than grade 12) 18 to 19 years old; or
      • Have a disability that started before age 22 and is 18 years or older.

      For more information, read our Benefits for Children fact sheet. You cannot file for dependent child benefits online, so please call your local office to schedule an appointment. You’ll find the phone number using our Office Locator. Our call volume and wait times are longer than normal, so please be patient. We hope this information helps.

      Reply
  5. Elaine

    If a disabled parent goes back to work, will the amount of benefits a minor child get thru the parent change?

    Reply
    • Vonda

      Hi Elaine, thanks for using our blog. Each year we review the records for all Social Security recipients who work. If your latest year of earnings turns out to be one of your highest years, we refigure your benefit and pay you any increase due. This is an automatic process, and benefits are paid in December of the following year. For example, in December 2021, you should get an increase for your 2020 earnings if those earnings raised your benefit. The increase would be retroactive to January 2021. If the parent’s benefit amount increases, so would the child’s benefit.

      Reply
  6. Deena Nelms

    How can I get a new SS card for my child?

    Reply

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