If a minor child has a deceased parent, they can receive up to half of that parent’s full retirement or disability benefit. If there are multiple children in the family, they can each receive a benefit, as long as the total amount does not exceed the Social Security’s family maximum payment. In some situations, benefits may also be paid to stepchildren, grandchildren, step-grandchildren, and adopted children. The parent must have paid Social Security taxes or had been receiving benefits prior to their passing. Grandchildren can receive benefits if they were adopted by the deceased grandparent, living with them, or both of the child’s biological parents are deceased.
Typically, you should not need a lawyer to assist you in the application for child survivor benefits. You should only need proof of the parent’s death, the Social Security numbers of the parent & child, and the child’s birth certificate. The child must be unmarried, either under the age of 18, under the age of 19 and still in high school, or if they are over 18, they must have a disability that began before the age of 22. In order to prove disability, you must be able to provide medical documentation of their physical or mental impairments. In this situation it will benefit you to hire a Social Security disability attorney, as they can guide you through what is required to help prove disability and help defend your case by gathering medical evidence with you for your claim.
The benefits will stop when the child reaches the age of 18, unless they are enrolled full time in high school. In that case, the benefits will stop when the child graduates, or two months before they turn 19 years old. If the child is disabled, the benefits will continue after age 18, and they may be eligible for Social Security benefits as a disabled adult.
If you are the caregiver for the minor child, you may also be eligible for benefits as well. These benefits end earlier, at age 16, unless the child is disabled, and you take care of them exclusively.
In addition to ongoing child benefits, if the deceased parent does not have a surviving spouse, a one-time death benefit can be paid to the child, in the amount of $255.
If you have any questions about your child’s eligibility for survivor benefits or disability benefits, feel free to contact Hoglund Law, your Social Security disability attorneys.