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. Megan

    Are the kids also getting this payment from the government

  2. L. P.

    I have a child diagnosed with Autism stage 2, he has been home schooled, I am looking in to working, would my son apply for SSI benefits? he needs a little more attention, and am looking into moving him to a regular school environment starting next school term, as I am looking for employment I rather get a part time to still have time to focus on him, but I do need the income of a full time job.
    How can I know if he qualifies for benefits?

    • Vonda V.

      Hi there. Supplemental Security Income (SSI) gives cash assistance to people with limited income and resources who are age 65 or older, blind or disabled. Children with disabilities can get SSI, too. To find out who qualifies and how to apply, go to the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Benefits web page. We hope this is helpful.

  3. sylvia o.

    I have a question, this may sound a bit selfish, but my ex husband was paying child support, became ill and passed away. Am I able to collect the balance of what he owes me through his Social Security ? If so how would I go about doing this. At this time it would help so much.

    • Vonda V.

      Hi Sylvia, thanks for using our blog. The child may be eligible for survivor benefits if the child’s father earned enough Social Security credits through his 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, 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.

  4. Martha M.

    My Daughter turns 18 May 1st but she will not graduate until May 26th.I got a letter today stating her on April 1st she will no longer be able to receive her check.I have tried several times to call but there is a wait period for 2-4 hours and during this time with co-vid19 we can’t go to the office in Clarksville,tn!!! What do I do??? any suggestions would be greatly appreciated

  5. Deborah w.

    If my adult grandson was born with brain damage and he receives SSI will he get president Trump’s stimalis money

    • Cassandra

      I applied for my parents SSI benefits because they are disease and I was told that I had to be disabled before the age of 21 before I can collect their benefits and I was receiving disability benefits and I want to know if that is accurate information. Because I was told that it is not accurate information

    • Vonda V.

      Hi Deborah. We realize you have questions about possible economic stimulus payments, but this legislation has not yet become law. Please do not call us with related questions at this time. Subscribe and stay up to date with the latest Social Security information on Coronavirus (COVID-19).

  6. Richard S.

    What documentation is required to apply for benefits of a minor grandchild who has been adopted by maternal grandparents who are both on social security?

  7. Curtis J.

    How do I get proof of my daughter’s income who is under 18

  8. Gina A.

    My child draws a check from his dad’s as disability if his dad’s check stops before the child is 18 does his check stop as well

    • TINA

      Can you give me any info on how you applied? My sons father is a POS who collects disability for no good reason. He didnt add our children to his SSDI and this would truly help.

  9. Tiffany S.

    Hi I need help I. A single mom of 5 my oldest son is now 15 but he has depression, anxiety, and type 1 diabetes. Ever since kindergarten. I have had to literally pull my son into school almost daily up until 3 years ago. He grew bigger so I couldn’t pull him into school anymore. The resource officer wouldnt help, school wouldn’t help. So I had to put him in home school so he wouldn’t have to be sent off. His lack of wanting to go to school was because of his anxiety and depression. I haven’t been able to work because I have been helping him. I just need help. My son is a good boy but deals with depression and anxiety every minute. With his type 1 diabetes well it hasn’t been controlled since we found out. This has changed his life and mine. I m wondering if he would get SSI?

  10. SHELLY H.

    My daughter just turned 19, but she is more like 9. She has learning disabilities, has been diagnosed with ADHD, generalized anxiety, and major depressive order. She hasn’t been tested for dyslexia, but she shows signs of it. She talks about how it messes her up too. (Her dad has it.) Her doctor recommended an emotional support dog, so she has that now. She was tested at her school in the tenth grade, and tested low, a lot at about a third or fourth grade level. They so much as called her disabled in one of the questions, by asking if ‘this’ was the same if student was nondisabled. She has symptoms of Autism, so I had her tested for that. They claim she is not autistic, but many people have said they see it. I don’t know if Aspergers Syndrome is different, or if they tested her for that, it wasn’t mentioned in the report. They did report that her IQ is 88, and she scored low on every ‘adaptive functioning’ test.
    Would she qualify for SSI?

    • Ann C.

      Hi, Shelly. If you are referring to Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, we make a determination on each individual case. Only children who are disabled may be eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI). The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program is a needs based program that pays benefits to disabled adults and children who have limited income and resources. You can find more information on the SSI program and how to apply here. Hope this helps!

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