General, SSI

Social Security’s Benefits for Children

May 26, 2016 • By

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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



    The major cpa firms that have had to chase after
    a senator that took military homes has not even
    been prosecuted and our employers won’t give us ourown credit cards and they give to persons of their
    community who are taking our cash and the
    money of out working colleagues and the companies
    are not paying their liabilties and the SSA is not
    paying professional people and continue to use the
    poor to hurt professional people-left ambulance driver
    on the street and refused to fund another one.

  2. Sherina J.

    I dont think its fair for a father who getting ssi dont have to pay for his kids… Theres mothers out here doin what they have to do just to get by No child support or nothing they should make them pay something for there kids this government is really fucked up

  3. denise r.

    When the child turns 18 and no longer gets benefits, does the amount the child was receiving go back to the disabled parent?

    • Ray F.

      Thank you for your question Denise. No, the disabled beneficary’s benefit amount does not change. Workers receive Social Security retirement and disability benefits based on their covered earnings. We first establish the worker’s benefit amount and then pay benefits to certain members of the worker’s family.

  4. Nicole

    Father gets ssi and ssdi, but they said the kids can’t get dependent check? Why?

    • Ray F.

      Hi Nicole, benefits issued through our Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program, are based on the needs of the individual and are only paid to the qualifying person. There are no spouse’s, children’s or survivors benefits payable. In the other hand, benefits issued through our Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program, in certain circumstances- are also payable to other family members, including children. Visit our “Disability Planner: Benefits for your children” page for more information. For further assistance call our toll free number at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778). Representatives are available Monday through Friday, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Thanks.

      • lanae

        Father gets a check so the child support place say but my child cant get a check and they cant makw him pay child support amd shes foir and je has never done nothing for her …im gwtting Tanf and I have been filed for child support but the father is just now getting a check and they told me they couldnt help me anymore … what can I do so my child can get a check … I was once getting ssi and they cut it off wjwn I graduated and I appealed it and had a lawyer but she gave up on me so what do I do next

        • Raytha C.

          I’m in familiar situation, my ex is 18000 in the negative in support payments, he’s just started getting a disability check and they are withholding support payment and a
          payment towards the pastdue ,leaving him 230.00 a month, I feel its unfair to expect him to live on that a month besides ss determined,him disabled as of 2013 ,how was that past due determined if he’s been disabled and no longer working?

  5. Betty M.

    To whom it may concern.
    My question is if a child living with grand parents and collecting social security from grand father, because the parents a banded child and grand father passed away. The grand mother Adolph child and raised child on her own. Will child lose social security when she turns 18? or if she continu to collect, if she stays in collage to get her education can she stay on social security?
    Thank you Betty

    • Ray F.

      Thank you for your question Betty. Normally, benefits stop when children reach age 18 unless they are disabled. However, if the child is still a full-time student at a secondary (or elementary) school at age 18, benefits will continue until the child graduates or until two months after the child becomes age 19, whichever is first. At one time, SSA did pay benefits to college students, but the law changed in 1981. We now pay benefits only to students taking courses at grade 12 or below. We hope this information helps.

  6. Harry

    I was denied on my disability…last year. I am currently receiving my pension that I have worked for over 40 years.
    I have met countless veterans that have been denied on their disability. Yet!!! The immigrants that just stepped in the used to be good old USA are receiving and enjoying my contribution and millions of veterans. I say this is absolutely BS!

    • bill

      So disgusting!!! thin the heard!!!

  7. AJ

    Mr. Jim Borland: The rude, vulgar, nasty, demeaning & offensive post put on by “tony seput on May 26, 2016 at 5:39 pm” (second comment above) should be removed please.

  8. Derek P.

    I’ve struggled with an injury since 2004, and I am currently going to a Hearing for pensions with the SSA. I loved to hear that my daughter could get help as well. Only because its hard for a single parent with a disability. And it would make her feel more reluctant and approachable to my situation.

  9. cw

    Social Security is not a retirement plan. It is however a great safety net for persons no longer able to work. It has been the sole source of income for millions of elderly Americans who have worked all their lives, many of whom served their country in one manner or another. The USA is one of the richest countries in the world and can afford to take care of its citizens in need. The bulk of complaints about the program are from people who are single minded, arrogant, and greedy.

    • karen

      Social Security is a retirement plan and is different than Social Security Disability . I collect a check every month because I am 68 and have paid into the program for over 50 years. My granddaughter gets a check since her fathers accident 15 years ago which left him mentally around 6 years old. She gets only 25.00 since the bulk goes to take care of him. So if you think the kids shouldn’t get anything shame on you. The checks stop when she turns 18.

  10. Dennis

    It makes sense to me that if I, an income earning and tax paying member of society, become disabled, that SS has a program that would provide assistance to me if I become disabled. It seems strange, however, that SS provides disability payments in the name of children, who presumably earn no income nor pay any taxes. It would seem to me that any payments to the household in the name of the unfortunate child should be provide through insurance, and that most preferably, that insurance would be optional, private, and paid for by the parent. I see no interest here in the state providing payments to households in the name of disabled children.

    • Lisa

      The payments to disabled children (SSI) are minimal and there are strict guidelines in receiving them. These same benefits are an alternative to self employed persons who never paid in to social security or those whose disability benefit time limit has run out. You may have worked all your life but if you wait over 5 years from the time you stop working to apply for benefits you’re out of luck and will only get SSI. Likewise if you are a working parent of a child who becomes disabled you may not be able to work any longer, may not be entitled to insurance payments on a disability, may have out of pocket medical expenses that are so high you have to choose between housing and food or taking care of your child. Please don’t judge others until you’ve walked in their shoes.

      • Dennis

        I repeat: I see no interest here in the state providing payments to households in the name of disabled children.

        Insure your children yourself, like me, or don’t have any.

        • Penny L.

          Private Insurance from work or otherwise doesn’t cover all that is needed for diabled children, and all your income ends up on what is needed for this child, nothing left for home or rent, griceries ect. The amout given is determined by the parents income, believe me not all get money but they do get help with medical needs and supplies. Do you think your income could cover wheel chairs, beds, physical therapy, on and on and still provide for the other children you have. What if your child had cancer,MS, CP, Cysticphibrosis, on and on many many terrible things. Could you cover child care for this disabled child so both parents can work. Not all make enough as it is. So, YES, money or any other type of help, these children are entitled.

        • Mark C.

          Aren’t we a bit too angry, here? Particularly, over something’s for which their’s are these things sorts. And as though it’s something’s so much and as being significant as points is their’s as a matter. Think about how it should even elicit a responsiveness of reactionary disconcertingly consternations? For this but it’s worthy, to even having their’s for holding onto such things. As for a usefulness so necessary, to beginning with, anyways?

          Actually, this is an ‘insurance’ program! One for which their’s is are we all paying into. And our employers contributing, to the fullest and it’s equally as their’s to matching our own contributions. And, moreover, ones very own individual and Social Security Retirement benefits payments are their’s and being made into this system.

          The Social Security Administration chose wisely, thanks to both the U.S. Congress, and former President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s his own wisdom, for instituting such a compassionate insightfulness. For, Social Security provides services to families with invaluable benefits, whenever the severe storms of life’s unexpectedness comes upon us, or our fellow citizens. And from outside of those things and life’s usualness are norms and knowns. And but rather becomes, instead, is for certainty the unknowns. And always, the seemingly arriving from right out of the blue and upon us!

          I’m personally very thankful, both as a retired Medical Practitioner and Pulmonologist Intensivist, equally to be a their’s of the well, for these very disability benefits I am presently receiving, myself. For, I too became one of ‘those’ as well! Oneself, the whomever, just likened are their’s and so many of us are otherwise as being the having had, to becoming reliant upon SSDI (or, SSD), just like myself!

          • Heather

            I am a 42 year old widow with 3 children to continue to raise and support sine the passing of my husband 6 months ago. My children qualify for SS and will collect from their fathers SS account until they graduate from high school. My husband worked for 30 years and paid into SS. Unfortunately he is never going to reap the benefit of retiring and collecting his SS himself as he is deceased. But SS has allowed me to be home for my children now. I am able to be available for my children 24/7 because of their SS income from their father. We paid into SS for a long time. We both worked our butts off and paid into SS. So those of you who think children should not receive it, think of the individuals who HAVE paid into the SS system and have families that need this when something as devastating as losing a husband and father occurs. 30 years of paying into the system ENTITLES my children the benefit of their mother to be here for them when they need me to be. Shame on those of you that suggest we pay into insurance out of pocket to support our children under devastating circumstances. I know even If I worked I could not afford to take care of my children as they need to be. SS is set up for such life changing events. Think about that.

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