Social Security Benefits for Children: Who Qualifies and How to Apply


If you receive Disability Insurance Social Security or eligible to receive pension benefits and have children, your children may also be eligible for benefits. These are called Social Security child insurance benefits, which the Social Security Administration pays to children as long as one parent is entitled to benefits.

This is to “help stabilize the family’s financial future,” the SSA says. Social Security money for children is also intended to provide children with basic necessities while they are still in school.

We explain how to find out if your child is eligible for Social Security benefits and how much they could get. We also tell you the payment schedule. For more, this is why supplemental security income recipients are get their COLA raise in December.

How much can my child receive from social security?

If your child is eligible for benefits, they can receive up to half of the full retirement or disability benefits you currently receive. If a child qualifies for survivor benefits, they can receive up to 75% of the deceased parent’s basic benefit.

However, there is a limit to how much your family can receive from Social Security. If the total amount to be paid to all family members exceeds a certain limit (between 150% and 180% of the parent’s full benefit amount), the benefit will be reduced proportionally for each person until the total equals the maximum amount allowed.

As a parent, your allowance amount will not be reduced because it is not part of the maximum amount allowed.

How much your child gets depends on how much you get.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Does my child qualify for an allowance?

To be eligible for social security child benefit, you and your child must meet certain conditions. As a parent, you must have worked and earned sufficient Social Security points (at least 40 credits), and you must also be eligible for Social Security benefits or disability benefits. Children can also receive benefits if they have a deceased parent.

To be eligible for benefits, a child must be unmarried, dependent on the parent, and meet at least one of the following criteria.

  • They are under 18 years old.
  • They are 18 or 19 years old and a full-time high school student.
  • They are 18 years or older with a disability that began before age 22.

You can check your child’s eligibility by using the Social Security Administration’s screening tool.

How do I apply for social assistance benefits for my child?

Unfortunately, you cannot apply for child benefit online. Instead, you can call the Social Security office at 1-800-772-1213 or visit your local Social Security office. Have the following documents at hand.

  • The birth certificate or other proof of birth or adoption of your child.
  • Proof of marriage to the natural or adoptive parent of the child, if this is your stepchild.
  • Proof of the child’s US citizenship or legal alien status if the child was not born in the US.
  • W-2 forms and/or self-employment tax returns if the child had income last year.
  • If the parent is deceased, you may need proof of the parent’s death.

For an adult child with a disability, you must complete forms SSA-338 (PDF) – describes your child’s medical condition – and SSA-827 – authorizes disclosure of information to the SSA.

100 and 10 dollar bills on purple background

You must apply for the allowance for your child at the social security office or by telephone.

James Martin/CNET

Social Security child insurance payment schedule

If your child qualifies and can receive benefits, the payment schedule will follow yours. Please note that you receive the payments separately but on the same day to differentiate the benefits.

  • If you started receiving Social Security benefits before May 1997, or if you receive both Social Security benefits and SSI, you will receive their Social Security benefits on the third day of each month.
  • If your birthday falls between the 1st and 10th of the month, their payment will be sent on the second Wednesday of the month.
  • If your birthday falls between the 11th and 20th of the month, their payment will be sent on the third Wednesday of the month.
  • If your birthday falls between the 21st and 31st of the month, their payment will be sent on the fourth Wednesday of the month.

Here’s the full one Social Security payment schedule. For more, use our ultimate Social security cheat sheet as a guide to your benefits.

The Valley Voice
The Valley Voice
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.


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