Social Security’s Gift to Children is Security

December 21, 2017 • By

Reading Time: 2 Minutes

Last Updated: December 15, 2020

man holding little boy During the holiday season, most of us, regardless of religion or beliefs, focus on the children we love. Caring for children is one of the best ways to safeguard the future. And we at Social Security know a thing or two about helping children.

The application for a Social Security number and card is sometimes overlooked in the paperwork that parents fill out in preparation for a child’s birth. Typically, the hospital will ask new mothers if they want to apply for a Social Security number for their newborn as part of the birth registration process. This is the easiest and fastest way to apply. The Social Security card typically arrives about a week to ten days after that little bundle of joy! You can learn about Social Security numbers for children by reading our publication, Social Security Numbers for Children.

A child needs a Social Security number if he or she is going to have a bank account, if a relative is buying savings bonds for the child, if the child will have medical coverage, or if the child will receive government services. You’ll also need a Social Security number for a child to claim him or her on your tax returns.

If you wait to apply, you will have to visit a Social Security office and you’ll need to:

  • Complete an Application for a Social Security Card (Form SS-5);
  • Show us original documents proving your child’s U.S. citizenship, age, and identity; and
  • Show us documents proving your identity.

A child age 12 or older requesting an original Social Security number must appear in person for the interview, even though a parent or guardian will sign the application on the child’s behalf.

Children with disabilities are among our most vulnerable citizens. Social Security is dedicated to helping those with qualifying disabilities and their families through the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program. To qualify for SSI:

  • The child must have a physical or mental condition, or a combination of conditions, resulting in “marked and severe functional limitations.” This means that the condition(s) must severely limit your child’s activities;
  • The child’s condition(s) must be severe, last for at least 12 months, or be expected to result in death; and
  • The child must not be working and earning more than the Substantial Gainful Activity limit ($1,180 a month in 2018).

If your child’s condition(s) does not result in “marked and severe limitations,” or does not result in those limitations lasting for at least 12 months, your child will not qualify for SSI.

Family resources are also considered. If the parents of the child or children have more resources than are allowed, then the child or children will not qualify for SSI. You can read more about children’s benefits here.

Visit our Parents and Guardians page to learn more about all we do to care for children. Social Security is with you and your children through your life’s journey, securing today and tomorrow.

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About the Author

Jim Borland, Acting Deputy Commissioner for Communications

Jim Borland, Acting Deputy Commissioner for Communications


  1. Ruth F.

    I have been on SSI and SSA for years and I receive 755$ a month, I have 9 grand baby’s, so I got kinda excited when I read your ad, I thought maybe we got a little extra to buy our grand baby’s Christmas, but your gift is a social security number??, OK!! Merry Christmas

    • Ruth F.

      I posted before I realized my accusations were much out of line, , and I still haven’t put my reading glasses on…. It won’t let me delete my post… Very unfair…

      • Martha S.

        Medicare cost increased about the same as SS cost, so about zero extra altogether!

  2. Donaldamicy

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  3. Stanley G.

    My nephew is a recent orphan. His mother was getting a check on his behalf. With her death his older brother was appointed his guardian. The appointment was deemed invalid as it was not in the home county in Ok. The home county requires a lawyer involvement for $4000. He turns 18 in March 2018. His payout from now to Feb is about $4000. Once he turns 18 can he draw the back pay? Or does he need to get a guardian now?

  4. Charles K.

    the gift to children “security” is noble , I have that security, and I am 75. It’s all I have to live on, but without that, what would I have ? Thank you social security .

  5. Gennady

    Happy new Year for every body be happy and halts

  6. akita r.

    hi, I wanted to get an verification form of my income with social security disability. my name is akita r., my dob- 04-27, my address is Richmond, Virginia 23220

    • Ray F.

      Hi Akita, if you need proof you get Social Security benefits, Supplemental Security (SSI) Income or Medicare, you can request a benefit verification letter online by using your my Social Security account.
      Just a reminder – We do not have access to personal information. Please be cautious about posting personal information on social media channels. Thanks!

  7. muhindo K.

    yes, thank you, we asking support ,assistance, here we are suffring a lot , here people suffring by pouverty , yours , coordinator MUHINDO KIKHA GEDEON.

    • Martha S.


      • Martha S.

        Request from another country apparently!

  8. tony

    The children can collect benefits now, but they won’t have any retirement because Social Security will be broke when they hit retirement age.

    • Martha S.

      Long Before!! Already Far in Red!!!

  9. MrTakaphan T.

    Please issued my retirement benefit pay to my address Thailand 201,9village, banphan,phonnakaie district, sakonnakon,Thailand 47230, by international service ssa! order on 12/22/2017 my 63+10 ages

    • Ray F.

      Just a reminder – We do not have access to personal information in this blog. Please be cautious about posting personal information on any social media channels.
      When living abroad please contact your local U.S. embassy or consulate for any assistance related to your Social Security benefits. Thanks!

  10. tony

    Children don’t have to be disabled to collect Social Security disability insurance benefits. If the Parent is disabled, then their children could collect up to 50% without having any disability. Disability Insurance should pay only the workers, not their children. The worker only paid 12.6% FICA taxes like everyone else. They didn’t pay any additional taxes to cover their children.

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