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. Kelina Matthews

    Hi , I just recently lost my spouse . I am wondering how do I apply for surviver benefits for our daughter .

    Reply
    • Vonda

      We are very sorry for your loss, Kelina. Your daughter may be eligible for survivor benefits if the child’s deceased parent earned enough Social Security credits through their work. Unmarried children who are under 18 (up to age 19 if attending elementary or secondary school full time) can be eligible to receive Social Security benefits when a parent dies. To inquire about potential benefits, 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. Terrence Pickron

    If I receive ssdi and have a foreign child out of wedlock can that child receive payments of my disability.

    Reply
    • Vonda

      Hi Terrence, thanks for using our blog. When a parent gets Social Security retirement benefits or disability benefits, his or her child also may get benefits. Children also can get benefits when a parent dies. The child can be a biological child, adopted child or stepchild. A dependent grandchild also may qualify.

      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.

      See our factsheet on Benefits for Children for more information.

      To ask about potential benefits, 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.

      Reply
  3. Lorena

    Hi, My child receives SSI for disability however I need to stop the benefits how I can do it ? Or What is the process? I appreciated your response

    Reply
    • Sue

      Hi, Lorena, and thanks for using our blog. Please discuss stopping your child’s SSI payment with a Social Security representative. You’ll find the telephone number for your local Social Security office here. We hope this helps.

      Reply

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