Some children qualify to receive part of their parents’ Social Security benefits. Here, the attorneys at Disability Associates break down the process and qualifications necessary for Social Security Benefits for Children.

The commonly accepted process of Social Security benefits proceeds as such: pay money in, retire, get money out. While this is true for many recipients of Social Security, there is a special portion of the population that receives benefits without personally paying taxes into the system.

These are the children of parents who have worked, paid taxes and have either become disabled, retired, or passed away. These payments help to cover a child’s day-to-day expenses, and to ease the financial strain placed on the child’s guardians.

Are all Children Eligible?

All children (legally defined as under age 18), whose parent or parents are either disabled, retired, or deceased are considered eligible. If the parent or parents are retired or deceased, they are required to have worked long enough to pay Social Security taxes. If they are disabled, the Social Security Administration (SSA) must have them documented as legally disabled through medical evidence so that they may collect Social Security benefits. Children must also be unmarried.

There are instances for which those over the age of 18 can collect parental benefits. If a “child” is age 18 to 19 and is a full-time student in grade 12 or below, or if the child has become disabled before the age of 22, then they are also eligible for Social Security benefits.

What Will Guardians Need to Provide to Apply for Benefits?

If a guardian is applying for a child to receive benefits, they will need the child’s birth certificate, Social Security number, and the Social Security number of the child’s parent or parents. Proof of death will be required for children to apply for survivor’s benefits, and, like disabled parents, disabled children must be documented as legally disabled by the SSA through medical evidence.

What About Benefits for Those Over 18?

Benefits typically end for children on their 18th birthday. As such, three months prior to the child beneficiary’s 18th birthday, the SSA will send them a letter declaring the end of their benefits. If the child will still be attending grade school over the age of 18, then they can still receive benefits—they must simply submit proof of attendance at their school to the SSA. Benefits will continue through their graduation, or two months after their 19th birthday, depending on which occurs first.

If a child has been documented as legally disabled, their benefits will continue through their 18th birthday in perpetuity. If a “child” becomes disabled before the age of 22, they can apply to receive Social Security benefits as an adult after the age of 18.

How Much in Benefits Will Children Receive?

A child can receive up to half of a parent’s retirement or disability benefit, and up to 75 percent of a deceased parent’s benefits. Social Security benefits “cap” at 150-180 percent of a parent’s full benefit sum.

Do you or a child in your care qualify for Social Security benefits? Let the experienced attorneys at Disability Associates help you get the benefits you deserve: contact us at, or 410-686-2227.