It is common knowledge that the elderly or disabled adults can receive social security benefits, but did you know that children are often recipients of social security benefits? Annually approximately 3.6 million children receive a monthly check from either supplemental security or social security. Your child may qualify for benefits if they meet eligibility requirements like the ones below.
Who Can Receive
A child can draw benefits from adopted parents, biological parents, step-parents and in some cases grandparent's earnings. Basic eligibility requirements are as follows:
- Legal guardian- qualifies for retirement or disability benefits
- Parent- a child loses a parent who worked and paid enough into the social security program
- Qualifications- under age 18 or still in school (High school senior max). Children over 18 may still receive benefits if they are disabled and the disability began before 22.
If you believe your child may qualify for one of these programs, you will need certain documentation in order to complete the application. The minimum requirement for application will be a certified copy of the birth certificate, parents and child's social security cards. When you are applying for disability or survivor benefits for your child there will be additional documentation necessary, but your reviewer will instruct you on which forms and documents you need.
Be prepared to wait several months for a determination, especially for disability approval. All of your information will be carefully reviewed and your child may need to be seen by a social security approved physician. Social security states that you should know something within 3 months but it can take up to a year to get final approval and begin receiving benefits.
The amount of your child's benefit will vary depending on several factors. For cases where a child is, drawing benefits on a disabled parents funds the amount will be up to 50%. In cases of survivor benefits, the percentage goes up to 75 but there is a cap on family benefits, this can range from 150-180% of the parents maximum monthly benefit.
Supplemental security disability allotments are not governed by the same rules. Eligibility is based upon your child being declared to have marked and severe functional limitations. This condition must be expected to last at least 12 consecutive months and can be a physical, mental or a combination of both. It generally takes a state agency 3-6 months to make a determination but in certain situations, you could begin receiving benefits immediately. If your child suffers:
- Total blindness
- Total deafness
- Cerebral palsy
- Muscular dystrophy
- Down syndrome
- Birth weight below 2 lbs. 10 oz.
- Severe mental retardation- child 7 or older
Even though you may receive checks immediately, you should be aware that if the state determines your child's disability is not severe enough for benefits you could be required to pay back benefits.
There are many situations where a child could receive social security or supplemental security income. If you think your child may qualify, you should apply immediately. Talk to your child's physician about any potential disability, as you will need their support during the application process.