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. alan a.

    is my son will be entitle to SSI benefit or not please and at the moment school is sending weekly support food and few extra staff to my son by post and we been advised not to take him to outside due to covid19 because he s is vulnerable person

    • Vonda V.

      Hi Alan, thanks for using our blog. 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.

  2. alan a.

    hi my son has Asthma and he is on blue inhaler he is 12 years old and sometimes school was sending him home due to his breathing difficulty and his asthma very bad without blue inhaler

  3. Ashley D.

    I was wondering if i can accept social security from my deceased fathers account?

    • Ann C.

      Hi, Ashley. Thanks for your question. Eligible family members may be able to receive monthly Survivor benefits. For more information on this, please read How Social Security Can Help You When a Family Member Dies here. Hope this helps!

  4. Chris

    My daughter is 17. She quit school and now is pregnant. Will her mom still get that $600 from my social security disability?

    • Vonda V.

      Hi Chris, thanks for using our blog to ask your question. Your unmarried child can get benefits if she’s:
      • Younger than age 18;
      • 18-19 years old and a full-time student (no
      higher than grade 12); or
      • 18 or older with a disability that began before age 22.

      Check out our Benefits for Children factsheet for additional details.

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  6. penelope g.

    We adopted our grand child when he was 5 years old he is now 17. Are we entitled to get benefits for him.

    • Vonda V.

      Hi Penelope, thank you for your question. Under current law, Social Security can only pay benefits to grandchildren if certain conditions are met. In addition to providing for more than 50% of their support as you are doing now, the biological parents of the children must be deceased or disabled, or you must have legally adopted them. See “Benefits For Grandchildren” for more information.

  7. TORRIE D.

    Can my children get back pay benefits from when I received Disability?

    • Vonda V.

      Hi Torrie, thank you for your question. 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.

      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.

  8. Ellen T.

    My ex-husband’s social security was being Garnished .
    He recently passed away. His still owed back payments. Will my payments continue or end ? Will his estate be frozen until I receive the balance? How does this work.

  9. Diego A.

    I do have my son SSI check but now Bank of America doesn’t want to cash out that because they’re asking me for a tittle letter need to add my son under my bank Account i need the letter I went to your offices but is close what else I can do I need to pay rent food and my baby stuffs

  10. Donna C.

    my son died in Aug of 2019 his son is receiving social Security his mother’s husband adopted him and had my son’s name removed from the birth certificate now that my sons name is not on the birth certificate will he still get benefits?

    • Gary W.

      Did his Social Security Number change? IF NOT, nothing changes. A trust fund needs established for the boy, so that no one can use the money but the boy when he reaches majority/adulthood. My nephew was adopted, but his well meaning step father (a former Executive with Braniff Airlines) did just that!

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