General, SSI

Social Security’s Benefits for Children

May 26, 2016 • By

Reading Time: 2 Minutes

Last Updated: March 17, 2021

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


  1. WANDA I.

    To whom it may concern,
    I have tried to register multiple times and the system never recognize the information I’m providing. The information is correct.
    I need assistance on this matter.

    • Ray F.

      Hello Wanda. If you are having difficulties with your personal my Social Security account, please call 1-800-772-1213 for assistance. After you hear “Briefly tell me why you are calling,” say “Help Desk” for help with a my Social Security account. Sometimes, it might be best to visit your local Social Security office for further assistance.

  2. Marti

    The Government can not cure all that ails us. But, I am glad that the safety net of Social Security is there for those who might need it.

    We need to think properly about benefits and entitlements.

    It is upon the Citizen to try to work and provide for our families during our lifetime. It is the Citizen’s work history that creates the level of benefits to which you are entitled. Calculations and formulas go into the charts that determine your benefits. Many believe that something is better than nothing. Fact is, most of the supplemental food programs are based on $1.40 per meal per person and families will run out of grocery dollars by week 3 of each month.

    Our Nation’s children are our future, they deserve our protection, and basic needs to grow into the adult Citizens of our future. It matters not their origins. What matters is our sense of empathy, understanding and actions solving their needs. Not all Parents do a great job. Not all Parents are given the time to complete their job raising these Children. I want to help, to feed, to house, to clothe, to educate, to help them become our future leaders.

    I do not feel like you are taking something away from me when you help a child.

    This is not the place for ranting selfishly. If you are distressed, then do go to your local State HHS, Community Based Services or the nearest Social Security Office to see what is available to you personally. Then get off your arm chair and start going to local City and County, counsels and commissions, attend political meetings and become a force for the future directions of this Country.

    Please use this SSA blog to learn what is available to everyone. Spread the word among family and friends to help them through hard times.

    Again, I am glad Social Security is there to help all people during unexpected hard times.

    • Ty

      Great comment! Social Security doesn’t have to exist. Financial security is each of our own responsibility. The “safety net” that Social Security offers is a great benefit and so much better than nothing…

    • Al

      Yet parents dont pay, worse in most cases govt does not force or enforce them to. Yet how many people go on advocating that more kids be born into this mess. They have the cart before the horse.

  3. william y.

    When will social security decide to cover children living with their grandparents when the grandparents have legal guardianship given by the state?

    Right now the parents have to be dead or the grandparents have to adopt the children. For grandparents on a fixed income and raising the grandchildren it’s hard. The parents are nevery getting back together nor can they get the kids back without a court fight.

    This is a very common issue today but another way the government refuses to keep up with the times and we have carry the burden.

    • Jim

      Take the parents to court for child support. Its there responsibility not the Govt

      • Al

        Yet parents dont pay, worse in most cases govt does not force or enforce them to. Yet how many people go on advocating that more kids be born into this mess. They have the cart before the horse.

    • Bob

      William, get with your state health and welfare. A legal guardian is not responsible for financial support in my state, my legal ward qualifies for medicaid, food stamps, day care, and cash assistance. We only need medicaid but it really helps and in an emergency the other options are there. I know this is an old post but it might help others.

      • Erica

        Do you mind me asking what state you are in? I am in Louisiana, I have only seen where low income qualifies for our program “CCAP” Child Care Assistance Program. I am currently seeking to get guardianship of a child and I am planning on being able to keep his current Medicaid but child care would be great too!

        • Tiffany C.

          hi erica, if you have guardianship over any child not yours in louisiana you qualify for cash assistance called kinship. it dont matter if your low income or not. childcare medicaid and foodstamps too. go to louisiana cafe. ggogle it for the actual website address. you have to apply ne now. not in office. also medicaid is seperate from rest but can still apply from that web site. they do a phone interview with you so you dont have any office appointments to do. its worth looking into. ggood luck

      • Kathy M.

        I have a question when a child reaches age 18 and is not in school they lose their benefit but if there are 2 children tdvieving these benefits does the one het both amounts?

    • Cathleen G.

      This is a reply to those comments above who are bitching and moaning and have no idea how well they have it. First, if you have some way to type on a computer, you can’t be hurting that bad. Unfortunately, you are not educated, therefore, you are poor. And since you are not educated you have no idea what you are talking about. There is not one creature on this planet that cannot figure out a way to become educated and succeed. There are just too many in this world who have come from extreme poverty and have become so successful. They used their time to figure out how to get ahead rather than look at those who had already succeeded and bitched because these people were not just giving them money. Why? The idea in life is to become the person anyone can become if they only look for reasons how rather than bitching about why they cant succeed. What is the point of giving money so that this problem continues for generations. I must admit, I had a pretty rough childhood but my husband and I worked hard so our children would have more. Horrible idea. We made it too easy for them and now as adult children, none are successful. We failed our kids. If I had it to do over again….I wouldn’t have been so generous. We finally had to stop bailing them out once we saw what we were doing. We are 68 and 70 years old. I have been very sick bed ridden for 4 yrs and would give anything to be able to work hard again for even one day. My husband works 7 days a week, 12 hr days still because we have gotten in a bad position due to giving and loaning so much money we will never get back. He has so many health problems himself. We never go out. Barely did when raising kids. always lived frugally and should be enjoying and relaxing because when I worked once my children were in school. I worked long hours too. Some from home/some at work-avg 50hrs week or more and taking care of all needs at home. We did all this so our kids would be happy and successful. Because we just gave to them and bailed them out, they are all struggling now and will be at least our age by the time they recover from extra debt they incurred…or they will end up homeless. Keep in mind, my husband the last 20 yrs has averaged $220,000 income each year. So, money can be given away and it adds up very quickly.
      so, don’t for one minute think that people with a lot of money can’t first have something happen themselves that halts their income or all kinds of unexpected things can come up. If you do the math, if all higher education, medicaire for all, free lunches, more food stamps and free programs…it would work for everyone’s taxes to go up, however, the US would end up bankrupt like every other country who has tried socialism. Even those in countries which are motivated, educated and they all like each other…so aren’t all trying to take from each other but rather give to each other are having problems. Socialism always leads to communism in other countries. BTW….can you imagine if everything everything you have, do, say, believe etc. is dictated by the government….we loose our democracy. We go bankrupt. There is so much hate now in this country because so many feel “fuckin” entiteled.
      that is such bullshit. We were all given life and a choice to have eternal happiness and you are complaining.
      I laugh each night as I eat my pb sandwich on gluten free bread because I am too sick to take care of myself and can’t afford to pay anyone. My kids are too busy trying to pay their own debts…certainly not paying back loans to us. Any of you who complained need to be educated. Education has so much power. I know now. I’ve had to educate myself the hard way. Maybe think of one thing to be thankful for.

  4. hombre

    when are we going to get a descent raise it’s reaching a point when you go to the store to buy food the prices are up and getting higher my check doesn’t stretch far entungh into the month to make it especally the months with 5 weeks in them

  5. Wilkinson

    These are kids that did not ask to be brought into this world. Say what you want about bad parenting. The kids are the victims of that. Rich or poor !!

    Kids deserve an education, food and shelter, I cannot begrudge them that.

  6. Carole m.

    The person above is very angry. Still this us the best country to live in. I have a son living in central América trying to get bavk here and that government and the American easy do nothing to make it easy.
    In my opinion you need to go to college at night and maybe need learn English better and how to write articles or get your message to the right people. You need first to control your anger. There are more ways to skin a cat…

  7. sodoli

    je croirais a cette action une foie que je verais les oeuvre ce realoser

  8. Tammy S.

    I’m on disability and I got 4 kids that doesn’t get any of my benefits but I got two kids that get disability on the own how do I go about getting them benefits to

    • Donna C.

      Go to your local Social security in apply for them. They may even be owed back payments. They should have been getting benefits when you started getting them. Good Luck

    • Moesha

      Girl you sleeping on some big money for your other two kids u better apply for them free check every month that part

      • Meriale

        These benefits aren’t free. They are paid for by Taxpayers money. My husband worked 40 years and paid in a great deal before he died… our daughter was disabled as am I and therefore we qualified to recieve his benefits. This is what we are entitled to because my husband worked hard his entire life and paid a great deal of taxes. Social Security is not a free money handout. You can’t just go in and get a free check because you have kids…If a child is severely disabled they would qualify, like my daughter. But if not, they won’t get money for being children of a disabled parent. It just doesn’t work that way. She may be able to get state aid, SNAP, Help with Rent and utilities, but unless all her kids are disabled she can’t hope for that so called free money you speak of.

  9. tony s.

    Supreme Courts Mandates
    Plus our Legislators
    That should leave these six words home before; attending any Government Office: Shouldah, Wouldah, Couldah, If, Maybe and But
    Please no excuses People of this country deserve better!
    According to a news media; Judge’s are saying that in some states school are not fully funded and has caused some schools to short fall of the State constitution’s guarantee of thorough and efficient Education. Interesting scenario: from these Judges? May I ask these from Legislators and Supreme Court Judges; have they “EVER” found in their interpretation of Constitution that?
    “Where are the Guarantees”:
    That people: should be able to put food on their table.
    And will not need to pay tax on their home if they can’t afford it. So what our Government saying we will sale your home and use your money to gave education to Bastard kids that are with out known fathers and perhaps mothers too while; she screwing every dog around town. Thank you’ you should be rewarded for that. Note: at no time that I would approach any kid point the finger at or and name them to be Bastard. However I would accuse Mather as having Bastard kid and being Whoor. You don’t like truth though shit Morons’.
    Did you say that this is lie perhaps you guys should look at TV court shows and some other once a while, there are actually three other shows that actually deal with that an unwed Females. You people need to learn what actually is going on through out of our Country, but you are either too stupid or blind to face actual facts or you don’t care as long you get your “Vote”

    (You can only give education to people that are willing to learn and that you should have that privilege once in life time!!!)

    That people: should be able to live in them houses, for which are have being working, sacrificing and paying for, all of their lives.
    That people: should not have to choose between the food and medication. Because you are forcing taxes and taking my SSI to feed some one others bastards kids’ and their whoore Mothers “you disgraceful Morons”.
    That people: should be guaranteed to have medical coverage. We have giving other Countries in Trillions, that in some countries children are Medically insured, the day that are born. How come our arrogant Judges don’t see that we are insured, I can see one conclusion that our Supreme Court are Terrorist Group, that do not care for General public but their own Ideology’ because they are; well cover by our corrupted system?
    That people: should have guarantee if I can afford to pay taxes on house that I will not be thrown out on the street. Hello talk to me
    Ladies and Gentlemen you can also intrepid that my “Farts” are smelly instead of stinky, but at the end of day both came from same asshole. You call yourself Judges, where is equal justice, where is your equal Guarantee to all people, where is my education, that my country did not provide to me.
    Yes it is nice to have education but country does not need every one to be Professor? We also need of janitors, broom pusher, ditch digger farm worker Etc. and note that 90% of farm work is done by immigrant. Perhaps these Judges and scumbags Legislators should be forfeiting they salaries and donate it to Education system, instead mandating the “laws” which do not exist in our constitution, but are presented to us as to “be”. According to Supreme court notes they are forbidding making any laws or rules, only Legislators are law makers, but Supreme courts intrepid the laws to their Ideology making manure, that some one else have to pay for their “Bustards” kids (nothing personal). We have Supreme Courts in state and National level generating “lots of manure” too bad that we can mandated for them to bathe in it. I am foreign born with no Education to speak of 6 grade of Elementary; in Europe but I managed to put two kids through schools without State or Federal help, and my adapted country forcing me to pay for education of some one else’s kids, needless to say that lots of them are “Bastards’, Yes according to Webster Dictionary kid without known father is designate as Bastard”. Be side that must of them don’t even want to learn or get educated. You don’t need to be smart, or be a lawyer to see what is going on. In our country: New comers not only that I am force to support they education but they want they own country language instead of English, on top of all I am force to give them “bilingual teachers”. We also have schools spending thousands of dollars on computers, for kids of Families that supposedly; can afford and pay for it on their own, but they can afford to buy a toys and booze, they also get grants from our Government, supposedly to be for Education instead they purchase IPods and goes on Vacations, cell phones cars, Etc. but we have to supply computers for they kids to use at school what a crack of bull shit. Needless to say wasted money on play grounds like foot ball, and base ball fields Etc. Our country Supreme Courts and they “Idiotic ways! Are making more and more people sick and homeless in this country by their mandated causes! Few that make through education and become professionals’ are paid in Millions, “how much” of this people are paying back to community which forked financial means for them to become professional’s players.

    Thank you Ladies and Gents for making mandates and taking in consideration of all classes of our people. In addition you have forgot that the no courts can make any laws but you are making illegal rules according to your own interpretation of Constitution USA, that only Legislators are able to do that, and that is according to Supreme Courts notes. Thanks hypocrites’ for your Ethical consideration, that all people are equal, and this rules are “Violated” daily by you; yes you the Supreme Justices’!

    Another fiasco that just came to my attention compiled by some.
    So you might think that I am not speaking truth, how about this one: Prostitution female get cut selling her self; it is Jail time for her. “But undetermined” amount of females that gave birth to “half dozen” kids, or one every six months multiplied like “Rats”, with out known fathers, you have rewarded them by give them Welfare, SSI or and Disability and in some cases all three. You stupid arrogant scum bags: isn’t that discrimination. “Whoor’s” gets rewarded for having sex out of wedlock and having babes every six months, But “Prostitute” gets punished which may not collect Welfare or having half dozen kids out of Wedlock as the Whoor’s! Sorry you perhaps don’t know definition of Whoor, well it is female that goes around town and having sex with every loose Dog that could be fund around the corner.

    Thanks to our Mentally deficient educated leaders for demising family unions by making morally legal marriage between couples of same sex, then why we are prosecuting people that have sex with “Enamels” Isn’t that same in my opinion it is!!!
    Is that surprise to you it should not be!!!
    ***”Legislators and Supreme Court Explain”***

    • Steph

      This is why I have NEVER voted and will NEVER vote due to one person say’s this and does another . . . I have worked all my life and to see my tax dollar go to waste, but boy if I ever have to apply for anything or have anything that I have worked hard for I am sure that I would be denied due to “Well you have this and that and it is worth some $$” . . waste of time for everyone and but yep please go break your back so that we the people can give all your hard tax dollar’s to people that get high and sit on their asses 12 months a year . . . But BOY don’t give 25 years in service to or country and can’t offer health care to them service people, end of story.

    • Lisa

      In your tirade it seems you forgot what this post was about… disabled children!!! Maybe you don’t know that fact that 50% of marriages do not survive the aftermath of having a disabled child. This often leaves single parents to raise their disabled children alone when they can’t even leave the home to work due to the high cost of child care for a special needs child. Even if the marriage survives usually one parent must stay home to care for that child.
      The other part of this topic was on parents who died or became disabled and the SSA giving benefits to those children to supplement the income they lost from the deceased or disabled parent.

      I am appalled by your ignorant hate speech. As this is America you are entitled to you public and crude opinion but you may want to ensure your subject matter reflects the topic discussed otherwise you will most likely be dismissed as an ignorant lunatic.

  10. Patti

    I’ll believe it when I see some real action done by Congress to sure up SS in order that it will be there for everyone.

    • Meriale

      It can’t possibly be there for everyone… Only those who pay into the fund. It’s a retirement plan first and a Disability plan second. In order to receive a check for retirement, you must pay in 40 credits and retire at 62 to get full benefits. If a taxpayer becomes disabled before retirement than SSA does an assessment of what the individual paid into to the fund. Some people get more, others less based on FICA Taxes Paid. People who haven’t paid in at all are not entitled to get a monthly check if no taxes or not enough taxes aren’t paid in. This is why SSI was established. The money paid to unqualified disabled children and adults will receive a small monthly check to help pay expenses. They then would have to apply for State aid such as Medicaid, SNAP, and help with rent and utilities. (Gas or Electric)… maybe even a small one-time cash payout. Congress is never going to just hand those who haven’t paid their share to just collect a check just because they’re citizens. That’s where people make their mistake… during the Obama Administration, newly documented residents thought they were entitled to Social Security Disability for themselves or their children. They lined up at the Social Security Offices waiting for the free handout they thought they were entitled to, only to be told that they didn’t qualify. SSA doesn’t just give away taxpayers money like people may think.

    • Rene

      Hello, I have a general question. My granddaughter receives survivor benefits, she is 17 years old and has applied for a grant for a small college/trade school in our area, but can’t get in until August. She doesn’t want to lose her benefits but is considering a part time job. Is it possible for her to work until she starts school in August and still receive her benefits? And if so, what are the guidelines on how much she can earn and still receive them?

      • Ann C.

        Hi, Rene. Thanks for your question. For individuals under their full retirement age, the earnings limit in 2019 is $17,640. For more information, check out our publication, How Work Affects Benefits. We hope this helps.

      • Cathy W.

        She in high school she freshment. I just need help with her my rent is high my son get ssi and we psy rent together and bills and her daddy not around i having seen him

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